The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation For American Buddhism today announced the launch of the Pay It Forward Sustainability Finance Fund, an innovative program designed to assist Lenz Foundation grantees to develop, launch, and sustain major donor campaigns and other high-impact fundraising initiatives that lead to financial sustainability.

According to Norman Oberstein, Chairman of the Board of the Lenz Foundation, “The Pay It Forward (PIF) program continues and expands upon the Foundation’s commitment to creating new ways to build a strong, self-sufficient American Buddhist community that honors Dr. Frederick Lenz’s legacy of selfless giving. The program provides an additional way to promote both independence and the sharing of best practices.”

Under the program, the Foundation will make zero interest loans (recoverable grants) of between $10,000-$100,000 to qualified borrowers. Grantees and consultants participating in the program will also be expected to contribute their resources and talents to ensure that other Foundation grantees will be afforded similar opportunities in the future, again “paying it forward.”

Oberstein states that successful borrowers will be encouraged to make a voluntary contribution of at least 3 to 5 percent of the net amount raised (after loan repayment) to a new Technical Assistance Fund that the Foundation is establishing to assist grantees to develop the skills and infrastructure needed to launch successful fundraising campaigns to sustain their organizations, as well as to increase access to available loan funds. The Foundation intends to match all contributions to the Fund on a 1:1 basis, Oberstein said.

According to Fleet Maull, Chairman of the Board of Prison Dharma Network, a Lenz Foundation grant recipient, “Pay It Forward reflects the best of what we are now coming to call American Buddhism. It’s ‘American,’ in that it promotes self-sufficiency and self-determination. And it’s ‘Buddhist,’ in the sense that it transforms what would otherwise be a fairly conventional financial transaction into an opportunity to practice the Buddhist insight of interdependence. It’s a radically different approach, compared to our normal way of thinking.”

More information on the Lenz Foundation’s Pay It Forward program is available on our Fact Sheet.