Save Dakini Mountain
Dakini Mountain now needs to raise $125,000 to refinance the property and complete critical land development or face losing Dakini Mountain.
Dakini Mountain now needs to raise $125,000 to refinance the property and complete critical land development or face losing Dakini Mountain.
Help us get to the finish line! Generous donations have made it possible to purchase this property, survive the pandemic and begin a partial re-opening. With $125,000 more in donations in 2022 and $720,000 in 2023, Dakini Mountain will step into a sustainable future as a guiding light for Buddhist practice, retreat, and rejuvenation, set within an ecological oasis. This fundraiser is the turning point in a two-decade-long journey of finding and building Dakini Mountain. Help us Save Dakini Mountain!
1. Urgent Need to Support a Feminist Dharma Center. Historically, women-run Buddhist centers have been underfunded and under-supported and sadly this continues even to this day. There is an urgent need for feminist dharma centers to be supported and thrive. We are at a turning point in Buddhist history where awareness about gender equality, inclusion, and safety of women and vulnerable people is starting to be raised. However, most of the support and investment in Buddhist retreats remain in the hands of centers that do not have feminist values, do not have women’s leadership, and have not taken stances to speak out against abuse. Dakini Mountain is run by a feminist, woman-centered non-profit organization, with consensus leadership among its three female leaders, Lama Pema Khandro, Aruna Rigdzin, and Satya Shiva, as run through its advisory committee, governing board, and council of elders. Dakini Mountain is explicitly devoted to feminist values: protection of the earth, equality for all beings and protection of marginalized people, promotion of education and leadership for women in Buddhism, standing up against abuse, and providing corrective education and resources to create a more equitable future for Buddhism.
2. Urgent need to Support Inclusion and Diversity in the American Buddhist landscape. Dakini Mountain represents an unprecedented level of inclusion in a Buddhist landscape in North America which has been historically lacking in diversity. It is founded by a Native American woman, Lama and scholar, Pema Khandro, who brings a fresh perspective to Buddhism and leads a sangha diverse in terms of gender, age, race, ethnic background, class, sexual orientation, and religious background.
3. Support the Preservation of an Ecological Oasis. Dakini Mountain preserves a natural landscape of profound beauty with a commitment to sustainability and a vision of a Vajrayogini peace garden where guests can come to rest, heal and rejuvenate. It follows two decades of the non-profit organization’s commitment to sustainability and active promotion of engagement with the link between the environment and wellness. Dakini Mountain is directly adjacent to the Tahoe National Forest, an area that has been identified for landscape restoration. It is a thirty-five acre property which is also part of the 19,600 acres of privately owned lands adjacent to the Tahoe National Forest. The forest service notes that this “…watershed contributes to the municipal and industrial water supply to the greater Sacramento area, provides habitat for threatened, endangered and sensitive species, and is a host for many other valuable ecological and cultural resources. Click Here to read more about the Tahoe National Forest Preservation efforts.
4. Raising the Banner of the Sacred Feminine. Dakini Mountain seeks to bring the wisdom of the sacred feminine, Vajrayogini, as a medicine to a world in turmoil. Centers of Vajrayogini have existed in Asia for more than a thousand years, places where the veneration of feminine wisdom is practiced. Such veneration is an imperative ingredient for the promotion of values that sustain the earth, respect the feminine, and respect women. As research shows (O’toole, Schiffman, Edwards, 2007) veneration of the sacred feminine is a key ingredient in cultures that do not tolerate gender violence and promote connection with nature. To promote the sacred feminine is to promote inclusion and the veneration of qualities in all human beings that must be recovered for the sake of humanity. Vajrayogini represents an inclusive Buddhahood, the notion that every being, even those who we least expect, have wisdom, and can awaken and benefit this world.
5. Supporting the Vision of Pema Khandro. Dakini Mountain was founded by Lama, scholar and tulku, Pema Khandro, who brings a fresh voice to dharma teaching, promoting deep engagement with the tradition, with the rigor of a scholar and the discursive agility required to engage the tradition with the discourses of our time. To support Dakini Mountain is to support the work of Pema Khandro to continue.
7. Sustainable Investment for the Community. The community of Pema Khandro has for the last two decades, owned a retreat center or rented retreat centers, and learned the expense of rented centers. The cost of retreat center rentals averaged $150,000 a year, making owning a retreat center a better and more sustainable investment for the community, along with allowing greater flexibility such as the ability to plan the calendar to the needs of the community. It also allows NI to offer scholarships for lower-income attendees. It also reduces the workload for staff, volunteers, and Lama, who instead of carefully packing, shipping, and traveling all retreat and temple equipment from site to site can instead focus all the energy and efforts on one location.
8. Support a Pilgrimage Site of Vajrayogini. Dakini Mountain is also a central location for the sacred objects of the school to be engaged with, such as the blessed Sky-Flying Vajrayogini statue and stupa in the making, the Yeshe Tsogyal statue, paintings from Tibet, and sacred texts. Dakini Mountain is a place where the treasures of the tradition can be encountered and engaged with. Location is a major factor in providing an equitable future for Buddhism. Retreat centers located so remotely that small planes must be chartered or six hours of driving from urban locations must be traversed, limit the participation and access by economically diverse guests. Dakini Mountain is a short accessible drive from the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and Reno – all areas that the Non-profit organization has been serving for decades.
9. Refuge During Times of Emergency. Dakini Mountain has been a refuge during the pandemic, providing a place where people could still go to heal and retreat during the chaos and fear that pervaded. With your help, it will continue to be a refuge and develop to serve more and more people in times to come.
1o. Support a Grass Roots effort. Dakini Mountain is a project of a grassroots non-profit organization, gifts to this project make an enormous impact.
Why this Land?
This is an amazing and beautiful piece of land that was difficult to find for so many reasons. It is a location with stunning natural beauty. The high altitude of 5000 feet above sea level, in the wilderness, as well as the position on the ridge, and the breathtaking landscape provide a sense of natural expanse and healing energy. So many people who go to Dakini Mountain remark that the property has some kind of magic or is the most beautiful property in the area. It is simply a majestic place.
Another significant benefit of this property is that it could grow to accommodate large events and retreats over time. It presents a format that can be developed into a full-scale retreat center for larger events while functioning sustainably in its current size in the meantime. Currently, it has already accommodated retreats that range from three to fifty people in size. The future development plans include the expansion of facilities for events to host 150-200 guests.
It is rare and difficult to find a property that fits the other requirements but also offers zoning for large group events. The board of the non-profit looked for years for such a property. Zoning can be a major obstacle and expense in the process of retreat center development, however, this property already has the appropriate zoning in place.
This is a very hot real estate market, where properties sell within days. Securing this property was a small miracle.
The location of this property is also a major factor. It feels absolutely remote but is within twenty minutes drive of Nevada City, giving access to restaurants and other facilities. This makes short stays and retreats reasonable for all kinds of people who would not be able to participate in a more remote retreat center. The location allows service of a local community, which has residents that relocated to Nevada City to be close to Dakini Mountain. It also allows service of the Bay Area, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz, as well as Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and Reno. It is only an hour’s drive from 2 international airports, so for those traveling to Dakini Mountain by plane, it offers excellent, direct access.
Also, this is an area that is seeing increased investment by residents migrating from the Bay Area for more affordable housing in a pristine environment. Therefore the land value has already increased and will continue to increase. It is a continually growing real estate market.
This location is adjacent to many lakes and is in the Tahoe National Forest. It provides endless wilderness recreation for guests and retreatants, who during their visits have also gone kayaking, tubing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, and boating. Recreation is an important aspect as Dakini Mountain’s vision is to be a place where people can stay, play, retreat and heal, recreation is an important part of that.
The ease of commuting for this property has already been mentioned – the property is only three hours from San Francisco, an hour from Sacramento, and an hour from Reno, providing access to major airports and ease of commute. However, an additional factor to note about being near to urban centers is that it fosters a community of people who can work and raise families in major cities nearby. This is an important aspect of Pema Khandro’s mission, to support accessible retreat experiences. Dakini Mountain is a kind of modern monastery, not so remote and set apart that it excludes most people, but instead nearby and accessible so it can be a place of healing and retreat for many.
Furthermore, this land has a history as a sacred land where Native American tribes would come to meet. To be a steward of this land is an opportunity to preserve it as a sacred space and ecological oasis. There is some poetic justice in a non-profit organization run by a Native American woman in becoming stewards of this land. The Tahoe National Forest is known as an area that includes land that was never ceded and belonged to the Washoe, Nisenan and Maidu tribes, who spent summers among the Sierra Nevada. We bow to the elders, ancestors, and guardians of this land, past, present, and emerging. We acknowledge its history, reaching beyond colonization, to the indigenous people who lived in this territory and who continue to live in this area. We seek to understand the history of this place and develop authentic relationships with local tribes and dedicate Dakini Mountain to serve as a place of education on indigenous history and people. Understanding Colonialism and its impact on the understanding of Buddhism is a regular theme of Pema Khandro’s teachings. Colonialism has shaped every aspect of how Buddhism has been interpreted and understood in the contemporary context. Pema Khandro has presented respect for indigenous cultures as an ethical responsibility for all Buddhist practitioners, from respecting the source of the tradition and its customs, to understanding its meanings outside the ideas of modernity, to making regular financial contributions to practitioners in the Himalayas. The stewardship of the land at Dakini Mountain offers a way to continue this commitment by holding this site as a community resource, sacred space, ecological oasis, and touchpoint for education about indigenous lands.
Click the Links Below For More Details:
Letter from Fundraising Director
The Save Dakini Mountain Campaign seeks to raise $875,000. From this amount, $725, 000 will be put towards the equity to refinance since seller financing expires 10/31/22 and the remaining $150,000 will be put towards Dakini Mountain Development Phase 1 Plan, see below.
Q: What happens if almost $875,000 is raised?
A: Then the next step will be to get a short-term extension on seller financing to extend the time needed to complete additional fundraising.
Q: What happens if we do not raise $875,000 but still raise some money?
A: If $875,000 is not raised, then Dakini Mountain will be sold within six months to a year, depending on the seller financing extension. At that point, whatever funds were raised in the fundraiser will be put towards the equity of Dakini Mountain 2.0, a smaller modest version, or held (such as in a trust) until that property is found.
Q: What are the current retreat facilities for Dakini Mountain?
A: Dakini Mountain already has a lodge, large barn, outdoor event stage and outdoor kitchen, spring-fed well, solar power system, pond, and ropes course. It is completely off-grid, which has made it resilient during the California electricity crisis. The lodge has a ground floor that is used for guests and the Yogic Medicine Institute healing programs. The lodge has an upstairs which is used by residents and guests. The wrap-around deck with expansive treetop views of the forest and sky is used for outdoor dining during group retreats. The barn will be developed into a large event space for weddings and retreats. Three additional cabins will be built for guests and event leaders. See the development plan for details. One of the most stunning things about Dakini Mountain is the outdoor events space making it ideal for meditation retreats, weddings, live music, and other large events.
Q: How have the costs of essential and wish-list improvements been assessed?
A: The Non-profit’s CFO has met with developers, contractors, and builders to attain the majority of the cost estimates for each stage of the development plan. Other items come from a contractor in the community who offered their expertise. These numbers are also informed by two decades of experience by the board in running a retreat center in Santa Cruz, California, and two decades of running retreats and events at rented and owned retreat centers. The advisory committee also includes professional real estate developers.
Q: What is the business/sustainability plan (ongoing maintenance, staffing needs, etc.)?
A: Dakini Mountain will continue to be a place for retreats and events and funded through residents, AirBnB stays, vacation rentals, group events, and Yogic Medicine Institute clinic events. See: Development plan and Projected 2023 Budget below.
Q: What is the outlook for water availability in this extended drought scenario?
A: Dakini Mountain has its own water supply, a 60-gallon per minute well, three 5000-gallon water tanks, a spring-fed pond, 2 backup generators, and two 2000 gal propane tanks. Additional plans for expansion include the purchase of an additional well and expanded solar system capacity for larger group events. See Development Plan below.
Q: What’s the wildfire protection plan?
A: Dakini Mountain is at 5000 feet above sea level. It is above the snowline, affording a level of protection from wildfires due to the abundant snowfall each year. There is also a yearly wildfire clearance budget of $10,000 to keep the landscape maintained with defensible space and a cleared meadow for events. In 2021 Dakini Mountain was awarded a fire insurance discount due to the Dakini Mountain wildfire protection efforts. Dakini Mountain is part of the FireWise Community Network, the neighborhood fire protection committee. As for the greater area, Dakini Mountain is located in Nevada City. Click Here to view the wildfire protection plan for the area.
Q: Why should I give to this particular retreat center when other Buddhist centers are in the same boat and seeking funding?
A: Please see “Why Support Dakini Mountain” above.
Q: Is the $350K refinance option still available?
A: The option of the $350k refinance expired in December 2021. This requires a complex real estate transaction along with guarantors to secure the loan, which would require six months to complete. When Dakini Mountain was purchased it was purchased with seller financing which is set to expire on Oct 31, 2022. However, a $350,000 donation would make a significant difference and be leverage to ask for a short-term extension of seller financing.
Q: Is Dakini Mountain able to bring in substantial revenue yet?
A: Dakini Mountain had its grand opening in 2020, just as the global pandemic changed the economy and so many aspects of doing business. Because of this, and the legal restrictions on large group gatherings, Dakini Mountain operated at a deficit during the global pandemic due to being closed for group events. In order to make up for this deficit, a Dakini Mountain Emergency Fund campaign took place and successfully met this need. See the projected 2023 Dakini Mountain Income and Expenses for details of the income-producing activities that are resuming for 2023.
Q: What is needed to establish financial stability in the short term and long term, and what is the status around securing those conditions?
A: In the short term, the urgent need is $875,000 in order to refinance the property and accomplish the Phase 1 Development plant. In the long term, the goal will be to raise $1,250,000 to complete the land development projects that are identified in the Dakini Mountain development plan below.
Q: Are there others able and willing to provide support?
A: We are currently in conversation with prospective donors. When donations are made, the fundraising meter on DakiniMountain.org will be updated.
Q: Regarding the land, I assume a lot of non-recoverable work has gone into it, right?
A: The NPO has invested $500,000 in non-recoverable work and investments that will be lost in the event of a sale. It is a motivating factor to remain in the property which has seen such great investments of time and effort. However, the intention upon sale is to recover the initial investment plus the capital improvements. All donations to the Dakini Mountain Emergency Fund and Save Dakini Mountain campaign will be recovered upon sale and reinvested.
Q: Are there any potential Dakini Mountain 2.0’s identified yet?
A: If $875,000 is not raised then Dakini Mountain will need to be sold. The plan is to reinvest the revenue from the sale in a smaller, downsized Dakini Mountain 2.0. Because of the uncertainty of the timing of the sale of Dakini Mountain and the uncertainty of the timing of real estate turnover, where properties are listed and sold within days, it is impossible to identify the next property until we are within thirty to ninety days of the purchase.
Q: Is there something unique about this piece of land that would make it much more auspicious than another option?
A: Please see “Why This Land” above.
Q How much of the money needed is to keep the property vs. to make the additional repairs? Curious as I wonder about other free/cost-effective ways of using reclaimed materials and volunteer labor that could perhaps help?
The Save Dakini Mountain campaign focuses $725,000 on an investment in the equity to refinance the property when seller financing expires on Oct 31, 2022. The remaining $150,000 goes into Phase One development – see below. There are indeed many skilled contractors and builders in the community. These projected numbers are calculated with community members doing the labor wherever possible except where particularly skilled labor is needed for items such as drilling the well. Wherever money can be saved it will go towards the next phase of the development plan.
Q: What about a low-interest loan?
A: If a low-interest loan is offered to accomplish the refinance, the degree of help depends on how much is raised by the Save Dakini Mountain campaign and how long the terms of the loan are, and if there is a grace period of three to five years. If you are interested in offering a low-interest loan, please speak with us, email us at info@BuddhistStudiesInstitute.org
Q: Can I designate my donation to go strictly towards the equity or strictly towards Phase 1 Donation?
A: Any donations that are earmarked for specific purposes will be used only for those purposes.
Dakini Mountain has a great infrastructure including an abundant supply of clean, fresh water, a solar powered off-grid electrical system, an outdoor amphitheater, a lovely pond and a superb central Lodge. And much more is needed to fulfill Dakini Mountain’s potential as a Buddhist Retreat, the Yogic Medicine Institute healing center and a site for weddings and other gatherings.
Funds are needed to bring Dakini Mountain to its potential but as that vision becomes reality, Dakini Mountain will bring in funds from its own activities to cover expenses and future development.
The income will come from 3 sources. One is income from Buddhist Retreats. The second is income from the wellness programs of the Yogic Medicine Institute. The third is from making the beautiful grounds of Dakini Mountain available as a private stay, events, and wedding venue.
Dakini Mountain came with significant infrastructure in place such as a magnificent central lodge, an off-the-grid solar electrical system, a well and water storage system, roads, a barn, and more. Work to upgrade these facilities has already occurred but more is needed. The “Phase 2 Infrastructure Development Plan” for 2023 includes use permits, expansion of the water and solar systems, camping upgrades, building of a teacher’s cabin, and building of the central Vajrayogini stupa which will become a pilgrimage point for Vajrayogini in the west.
$2.2 million in donations needed for full ownership, development and building of long term infrastructure.
MORE WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE
Guarantors to Back the Loan
You may also wish to contribute by guaranteeing the loan by pledging their asset as collateral so that the non-profit qualifies for a refinanced loan. This has minimal risk for guarantors because the loan is guaranteed by the land in an area that the land value has steadily increased and is forecasted to continue to increase. We have one guarantor already and are looking for three more.
Please contact Info@DakiniMountain.org for more information on becoming a guarantor.
Your Donation is Tax-Deductible
Dakini Mountain is a 501c3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.
Your donations, large or small, one-time or monthly, will help create a vibrant, impactful Buddhist center and help Buddhism flourish in today’s world. Thank you!
Give Now to Help Dakini Mountain and All Our Projects Continue
International association of Buddhist Yogis. Wisdom for work, family and society.
Online resources and training for Tibetan Buddhism.
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Meditation and Healing Retreat in the Tahoe National Forest.
Health and wellness programs based on Eastern medicine.