Newcomers' Outreach Initiative (1997-99)
In 1997-98, members of the Shambhala community were inspired to reinvigorate the outreach capabilities of local centers. In February 1998, Mr. Melvin McLeod, publisher of the Shambhala Sun, submitted a marketing/outreach proposal that came to be known as the "Newcomers' Outreach Initiative."
The purpose of this Initiative was to support development of new programs and forms of presenting the Shambhala Buddhist teachings that could attract newcomers and continue to hold them within the Shambhala community.
The Trust felt that the initial proposal was incomplete and would benefit from further development itself. Consequently, of the $50,000 requested, the Trust provided only $5,000, which was specifically earmarked for a leadership conference at which this initiative could be more fully thought through.
The conference was organized by two members of the Trust, Ms. Berkeley McKeever and Ms. Deborah Garrett, and was held in New York in May 1998, in coordination with Ms. Debra Ross-Webster in Halifax. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Shambhala leadership and various local centers.
As a result of the May 1998 meeting, Ms. Ross-Webster submitted a second proposal, requesting $75,000 to create a granting process for broad-based outreach initiatives at selected local Shambhala Centers during 1998 through 1999. The Trust allocated $11,000 for 1998 and $50,000 for 1999, and actually provided a total of $47,000.
As a result, many local centers had the opportunity to offer programs (which would otherwise have been difficult to present) designed to attract new people to the Shambhala Buddhist teachings. For example, in Washington, D.C., funds from the Newcomers' Outreach Initiative were used to develop and present a program on Awakened Lawyering that was designed to appeal to the large population of lawyers in the Washington area.