Dick O'Connor

Northwest Dharma Association President Dick O'Connor with granddaughter Isabella.

Message from NWDA President, Dick O’Connor

On Sunday June 19th the Northwest Dharma Association Board of Directors met in person at Bodhi House in Olympia, Washington.

There were several tasks to be accomplished. The first was to welcome the new board members elected this past spring. These are Joe Pearl of Seattle and Thich Minh Tinh of Trout Lake Abbey in Trout Lake, Washington. Each will serve a three-year term.

The second was to elect the officers for the coming year. Dick O’Connor was elected President and Richard Miles as Vice President. Jeff Kerr and Bill Hirsch will continue to serve as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively. The term of office for all four positions is one year.

A major topic of discussion was finding replacements for David Forsythe as volunteer Office Manager and Julie Welch as volunteer News Editor. The Board decided to hire Timothy O’Brien, at a nominal salary, to replace David at the end of July. Julie will continue to volunteer as News Editor till the end of the year. The new News Editor will receive a stipend beginning in 2012.

All of the NWDA Board members are committed to serving the larger Buddhist community. We currently do so primarily by publishing the NW Dharma News, maintaining our online Group Directory and Calendar of Events, and sponsoring conferences throughout the Northwest. Another major task, ongoing, is to take a thorough look at the Northwest Dharma Association as an organization and decide on its future course.

Guiding us along the way will be two of Peter Drucker’s books, Managing the Non-Profit Organization and The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization. This work will continue through the next face-to-face board meeting in October. At that time we will publish the conclusions of the Board.

At our recent meeting we estimated that about 10% of the thousand or so Buddhist groups in the Northwest are NWDA members. It does not bother me if we stay at a 10% level as long as we are providing valued services to our members. I strongly encourage readers to let us know your thoughts. As the Northwest Dharma Association plans its future, it is imperative that we secure information from both our group and individual members about why they joined and why they continue to support us. Equally important, NWDA needs to get information from non-members about why they are not members.

You can contact us at [email protected]. For our part, we will keep you apprised of what people are telling us.

The financial condition of the NWDA is good, despite a downturn in the economy and a downturn in contributions. This state of affairs is due to the work of volunteers Timothy O’Brien, Julie Welch and David Forsythe who have donated their time this past year without compensation. Without their commitments, NWDA would not have survived.

Finally, I’d like to thank Nick Vail for his work as NWDA president this past year. He has been a model president who is inclusive, sensitive, thoughtful and totally dedicated to the Dharma. I personally am grateful for his example. He has taught me much and I hope to apply all of it in the coming year as his successor...