Grounds at a resort.During a series of facilitated sessions, Advisory Committee members and Lenz Foundation stakeholders met to discuss the general grant making landscape, the current and projected financial status of the foundation, recommendations for improvements and next steps.

Lenz Foundation grantees were asked to make 5-minute videos covering the following elements:

  1. Describing your work, what kind of impact did the grant have?
  2. What worked for you in the grant making process?
  3. What did not work for you in the grant making process?
  4. Did any of our foundation’s various training programs positively influence you in seeking or effectively implementing your Lenz grant? Should we offer more such programs or just concentrate on grant making?

Three winning videos by these organizations – Contemplative Life, Instill Mindfulness SWVA, and Shambhala Center of Chicago – received a $2,500 prize.  The Advisory Committee was so impressed with the quality and usefulness of all submissions that it decided to award a $1,000 runner-up prize to New York University, and $500 was donated to every grantee who submitted a video.

Watch the prize-winning videos, along with other samples of participants' work:

In addition to other ideas for future directions, feedback from the videos and the Advisory Committee indicated a shared desire for more Lenz grantee training conferences/programs. Suggested topics include promoting the next generation of Buddhist leaders, with an emphasis on fostering women and people of color in the context of how we might define “American Buddhism”. Grantees have been asked to suggest additional conference topics.

Whatever the final program, it will likely be paired with a round of grant-making focused on the topic in question. It is likely that one or more grantees will host and chair the next conference and round of training with the Lenz Foundation’s financial support and oversight.