Fundraising, grant writing and a smattering of snow
December 14, 2012 by Yugen
Even though winter does not officially begin until December 21st, there is nothing autumnal about what I can see through the office window today. The sky is a smoky white color, concealing the next batch of snow or rain that might fall; The ground has a thin layer of snow, patchy in areas and the trees and buildings all bear the hallmark dusting of powdery snow often found on idyllic Christmas card scenes. I think it is safe to call today, without verging in to the territory of hyperbole, wintry. We have not yet had enough snow to warrant putting the snow plows to work, much to the chagrin of Rick, one of the current residents who is eager to learn the ropes. The snow will most likely have melted off by Sunday, so the road will hopefully be accessible. If you plan to come up, call the office and listen to the voicemail (if no one is in) to check for a cancelation message should it be necessary.
We have raised $3,570 so far with the winter fundraising drive. A big thank you to those of you who have contributed. If any of you missed our ask for help, please check the video. It's only 3 minutes long and was lovingly hand-crafted here in the warmth of the Yokoji office...
Part of our plan for the winter was to install a rolling door on the mechanical section of the workshop. The door was installed about 10 days ago and looks great! We are keeping the tractor in there year round to protect it from the sunshine, rain and snow, all of which take their toll. Let me share with you the deep soul-sucking disappointment that I have encountered in winters past, in going to start the tractor to work on the road after a storm to find that we forgot to put it under cover, or the make shift seat cover we had optimistically put in place failed when confronted with a serious dose of weather. Sitting on a soggy sponge seat for hours on end, with even the most fancy technical waterproof pants on, doesn't make for a happy tractor driver. The new enclosed space should hopefully put an end to this specific brand of soggy-seat-related trauma. There is plenty more we hope to do this winter, and there are many more expenses waiting in the wintry wings to be covered, so please help out where you can.
There are a number of projects on the go right now at Yokoji. I've been working on, for quite sometime now, a revision to the main website. I'm fitting it around other work in the office and around the center, which is why it is taking so long, but hopefully sometime soon the new and shiny zmc.org will be unleashed. It's not that different from the old one as I don't want to confuse people who already know their way around the site, but one big change is that this version will display nicely on any size screen, from smart phone up to desktop. Sometime next year we plan to launch an online store. We've been working on finding new suppliers for items we want to carry and I think we've found some real treasures. We are already carrying new stock in the gift store here at Yokoji, so if you are looking for Buddhist-inspired christmas gifts (and if you're reading this blog, then there is a definite chance you might be), then come on down.
Susan has been heading up a grant application project. There are a number of foundations who give money to established non-profit organizations, like Yokoji, to support operations or for specific projects and programs. We are hoping that we will be able to find a good fit between the programs that we offer and some of the funds that are available to continue with the work we do here. If anyone out there has any experience with grant writing and is interested in helping, please do get in touch. We're putting together a proposal for a large grant-giving organization over the next few days to submit before christmas. We hope to fund our ongoing scholarship program which enables students from the US and abroad to train and live here. Our proposal is going to be in the form of text, pictures and video that we are all going to put together as a web page. It will be our first proposal for this type of grant, so hopefully our media-rich presentation will be appreciated. And if not, then it will be our first lesson in how not to approach grant writing!
Kate and her daughter, Shannon