Northwest Dharma Association Board Looks to Future

The mission of the Northwest Dharma Association (NWDA) is to support Buddhist teachings, practice, and community in the Pacific Northwest.

How it does this has been the focus of discussions at our board meetings the past several months. These discussions have centered around the five major areas of: Website Development; Membership Benefits and Conferences; the Northwest Dharma News; Membership and Teacher Outreach; and Financial Planning.

Once we recognized we had focused on these five areas we created task forces to address the issues in each area. In so doing we invited past board members to join us in these endeavors as they all had a wealth of knowledge about the Association and its history. We also welcome NWDA members who would like to assist us to get involved with one of the task forces.

The Website Task Force will concentrate on both the design and content of the NWDA website. For example, there is now technology available that would allow NWDA to provide easy-to-develop websites for its members. Should it adopt? Another thought was to add a section on the “Basics of Buddhism”, which would be directed at the person who has an interest in learning more about Buddhism and its history.

The Membership Benefits and Conferences team will address the issue of what NWDA can do for its members and what conferences it will sponsor in the coming year. NWDA has concluded that a major benefit to members is information and the ability to bring Buddhist groups together. But what information exactly should it share? And on what programs should NWDA bring groups together? In years past NWDA has sponsored conferences on prisons, families and the environment. Are these the programs our members want?

The News Task Force major goal was to hire a new editor to replace Julie Welch. We are happy to report that former NWDA Board president Steve Wilhelm has taken on this job. Steve has many years of experience in the newspaper business. Steve nonetheless will be seeking advice from members on the content of the News, which will continue to be published online quarterly.

The Membership and Teacher Outreach Task Force will establish a process whereby both members and teachers can easily communicate their needs to the NWDA leadership. In October, NWDA hired an outreach coordinator to set up meetings between Buddhist groups and NWDA Board Members.

The Financial Planning Task Force has been charged with the task of developing a new dues structure and monitoring its impact on revenues. Guiding this work will be the question, “is the dues charged by NWDA worth it to its members?” From now until the end of March the Task Forces will report to the full board on their progress. The goal is to have all work completed by the end of March, 2012. From that point onward the Task Forces will be asked to monitor continuously their work in order to see if the intended consequences occur or not, and what course corrections may be needed. The overarching principle is how well we are serving our members. Members will be kept apprised of this work in the News.

NWDA members interested in working on a Task Force should contact Timothy O’Brien at [email protected].