Financially, Tse Chen Ling is in good standing. We survived the vicissitudes of the global market and we end our months with a positive net income, always making sure we’re ahead on our budget. Despite the high cost of living in the Bay Area, thanks to the sacrifice of all those who donate their time and energy to help run our Center, we have been able to continue in operation and to offer a full program. We live within our means: our membership and other donations bring in $6,000 – $8,000 per month. Ideally, we would like to raise enough money to operate on a more compassionate and sustainable budget of at least $16,000 per month.
In line with our mission statement, our main objective is to continue to offer a strong and diverse educational program and to improve upon it year after year. We would like to invite more great teachers from across the bay, the continent and the world. A sustainable budget would support more classes and would also allow us to offer a modicum of financial support to the teachers and some staff members. Our efforts to raise funds for general costs have been on-going. We hope our community will appreciate that without financial support for our operational costs, there is no Center.
In the last two years, our financial situation improved significantly. In 2008, after a global economic downturn, Tse Chen Ling incurred a large debt. This debt was systematically reduced through a combination of negotiations, special events and sales. We are happy to report that TCL is well ahead on the payback plan on the small remaining balance; and we hope to have this debt finally eliminated by the end of 2015, or sooner. TCL’s general donations and membership funds were never used for the payment of the debt, or any portion of it. Only money which was designated by the donor for debt reduction was used for that purpose. We are grateful for the members who did not lose faith or patience with us these past few years.
Running a Center is a process that involves the juggling of many interdependent factors. We went through three necessary periods: an assessment of our infrastructure and financial situation; then, after seeking legal counsel we made educated decisions and took action to downsize and to find a new home; and finally, after a mammoth move into our new place and making major adjustments to our existing system, we dealt with the details of our financial strengths and weaknesses. During this entire time, through great effort, we kept the educational program in full swing.
The threats to TCL’s existence were real. TCL had been running at a deficit of $3,000 to $10,000 per month, and if it weren’t for the generosity of one or two donors, we would indeed have had to declare bankruptcy, as per the legal options open to us at that time. A couple of members lost patience with us for not producing a viable financial plan and timeline on demand, but the details of what our very limited staff was up against were just too numerous to mention, and producing a false plan would have served no one.
Our long term plan for 2014 and 2015 is to raise funds to buy the building we are currently leasing. We launched our Buy the Building campaign during the first week of May of 2014. Although we’ve only just begun, we’ve already received the first ten thousand to serve as seed money from Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT, and kind donors have been responding. May it bring all good fortune and may the merit of their generosity multiply!
By now, we’ve proved that we are dedicated to maintaining a sound budget, financial stability and transparency in accordance with ethical and moral guidelines. You can make a big difference in the life story of this truly precious jewel of a Center on Jules Avenue. Please help us make our dreams come true by visiting our Future Plan or the Donate Now or Membership page. Please consider supporting and joining the growing TCL mandala formed by a community that nurtures the highest values for our present and future world.
Tse Chen Ling’s financial affairs are conducted in a responsible manner consistent with the ethical guidelines put forth by the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, as well as local and federal regulations. All donations are used for the purposes for which they have been designated by the donor and any alternate uses are prohibited unless permission is granted by the donor. With a proper tracking and accounting system in place, we do all we can to create positive karma and to avoid the creation of any negative karma. All our books are reviewed and maintained by a professional accountant and bookkeeper.