The Garrison Institute

PO Box 532
Garrison, NY 10524
Website: garrisoninstitute.org

 

Description of Organization

The Garrison Institute, located in Garrison, New York, is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization committed to harnessing the power of contemplative wisdom and practices from many traditions. Since its founding in 2003, The Garrison Institute has also developed rigorous, evidence-based programs that apply contemplative methodologies to the social change work of educators and humanitarian aid workers. The Garrison Institute’s retreat facility provides a place of refuge and restoration for thousands of people from all walks of life. In addition to a year-round calendar of retreats and events, the Garrison Institute has also developed programs that apply contemplative methodologies to the social change work of educators and humanitarian aid workers.

Grant(s) Awarded

In 2024, a Women in Buddhism grant in the amount of $15,000 was awarded to support The BIPOC Intergenerational Justice and Healing (BIJAH) Fellowship, led by esteemed Buddhist women of color, Kaira Jewel Lingo and Dr.Marisela Gomez. This is a comprehensive initiative designed to empower and amplify the roles of Women of Color within the Buddhist community. The program recognizes that meditation and mindfulness are potent healing practices for women. The BIJAH Fellowship leverages these practices as foundational tools to support, connect, uplift, and empower BIPOC women. Moreover, it takes these practices a step further by deepening resilience techniques to equip participants with the inner strength required for leadership roles.

The cornerstone of the program is the BIJAH Fellowship, which launchd in October 2023 and culminates in an in-person BIPOC retreat at the Garrison Institute in May 2024. Extending the fellowship’s impact, this program includes a summer 2024 webinar for Women of Color, fostering connections beforetheir Fall in-person retreat at the Garrison Institute. The inaugural retreat, from May 13-17, 2024, offers a transformative BIPOC sanctuary for healing, self-reflection,and community building. Subsequently, a fall 2024 retreat exclusively for Women of Color builds upon fellowship connections, facilitating candid dialogues, shared experiences, and tailored leadership skill development. The program’s overarching goal is empowering BIPOC and specifically Women of Color to embrace leadership roles in Buddhism and broader communities. Importantly, the fellowship’s effects ripple beyond its scope. Participants carry experiences to their communities, becoming change advocates and women’s leadership exemplars. This network effect inspires more leadership roles, fostering diversity and inclusivity within Buddhism.

In 2022, a Support Grant in the amount of $2,000 (in addition to the Hemera Foundation Grant $12,500) was awarded to enable an expansion of the BIPOC Meditation Sangha. The Sangha was developed by meditation and dharma teachers Kaira Jewel Lingo and Marisela Gomez in 2020 as a small virtual gathering in response to the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, amidst a backdrop of national protests against police brutality and reflections on persistent, systemic racism. The BIPOC Meditation Sangha grew into a weekly virtual event that includes more than 1,000 members. With funding from the Lenz Foundation and Hemera Foundation, the BIPOC Meditation Sangha will be expanded to include: a five-day in-person retreat in May 2023; a special “Day of Mindfulness” on or around June, 2023; and a virtual weekly meditation group.

In 2021, a special COVID-19 General Operating Grant of $5,000 was awarded to The Garrison Institute to support their operations. Due to the impact of COVID-19, revenue losses for 2020 and 2021 placed a significant operational strain on the organization. The Garrison Institute closed their facility to in-person programs. They were able to reopen on a limited basis for small in-person retreats.  Recognizing the extraordinary demand for communities of contemplative practice and inquiry during the time of acute stress, The Garrison Institute launched several virtual programs designed to promote contemplative practices, with a particular focus on sharing a range of Buddhist contemplative traditions. These virtual programs reflected the Institute’s commitment to promoting contemplative practice and to applying the insights of contemplative traditions to the pressing social and environmental challenges of the 21st century.

In 2019, a grant in the amount of $25,000 was awarded to The Garrison Institute to support their scholarship offerings for five upcoming retreats, all located at the Garrison Institute. Each of these retreats is designed to engage both new and experienced practitioners in contemplative practices informed by Buddhist traditions. It is anticipated that the audiences for these programs will include members of underserved and under-resourced populations who would not otherwise be able to participate in this type of program.