About the Endowment
The Southwest Buddhafield Endowment Fund was conceived to
provide significant help with the annual operating costs of
The Garchen Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit religious
organization in Chino Valley, Arizona, and thereby
contribute to the Institute's long-range financial solvency.
The Garchen Institute was established via funding from two
principal donors, but no provision was made for its
operating costs. The Institute currently generates operating
income from teachings, donations, bookstore/webstore
revenues, raffles/auctions, and rental of the facilities,
but this income is not always adequate to cover costs. Fees
at the Institute are intentionally kept low, so that people
from all walks of life may participate and none will be
Our heartfelt desire is to perpetuate His Eminence Garchen
Rinpoche's vision of maintaining The Garchen Institute as a
teaching and retreat facility for many years to come. This
will allow his beneficent teachings and the Drikung Kagyu
Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism to continue and flourish in
Our goal is to create an endowment fund of $2 million
dollars and use the annual interest income to help defray
the ongoing operating expenses of the Institute.
Funds for the Endowment are mostly invested in a
low-to-moderate risk investment portfolio with RBC (Royal
Bank of Canada) at their Tucson, AZ office. A smaller
portion of the fund-- the donations that have been received
from monthly donors-- is in a savings account with Ashoka
Credit Union in Boulder, Colorado.
funds, other than minimal business and legal expenses, will
be spent or distributed until the fund has reached our
initial, $ 2 million goal. At that time, the Southwest
Buddhafield Endowment will begin making periodic payments to
the Garchen Institute, to help pay their operating expenses
as per Garchen Rinpoche's wish. We will continue to build
the fund indefinitely.
Our board of directors
consists of five members: Cherie Ko
serves as President; and Bill O’Brien
serves as Vice-President; Terry Wu
serves as Treasure.
The Endowment has also formed the Endowment Advisory Counsel
which serves as a trusted input of knowledge, expertise and
feedback, in a non-voting capacity, rather in the
spirit of trusted advisors to the Endowment board, enabling
them to make the most informed decisions.
Ultimately, our mission is to serve Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche
by securing the future of his precious land and center, the
Garchen Buddhist Institute. You may have read Gar Rinpoche’s
comments on the
Endowment Fund. A video of this teaching, which was filmed
with Rinpoche this past December at the stupa, available on
DVD and on our
Board of Directors
first met Garchen Rinpoche during the White Tara Teaching in Los Angeles 2009 while she was pregnant with her youngest son. She has been a disciple of Garchen Rinpoche’s ever since. As a dedicated Buddhist and loving mother of her three kids: Gisele, Calista, and Oberon. She tries her best to practice dharma as much as time would allow. She attends the Yamantaka Retreat at least once a year. Before coming to America, she worked for an advertising agency and helped with various product marketing campaigns. She would like to use this opportunity to help promote the GBI and raise funds for the Endowment Fund. Hopefully, under Garchen Rinpoche's guidance, we can achieve our goals and benefit all Sentient Beings.
Cherie joined the Endowment in 2016 and serves as President.
O'Brien has been a dharma practitioner since 1996.
Bill has received teachings from all 4 schools of
Tibetan Buddhism. He met H.E. Garchen Rinpoche in 2001 and
has since held him as his root lama. He has completed
several Yamantaka drubchens and served as Chopon in
2011-2013. Bill has humbly served
the Garchen Buddhist Institute in various capacities over
the last decade.
Bill has also served as the President of the
Colorado Ratnashri Sangha in 2006, again from 2012-15 and has been a director of
the Aurora Ratnashri Sangha since 2001. Bill works as a director of a engineering team for
a large telecommunications company in the US. Bill is
2 children, Choying and Tsomo.
Bill is a founding board member and serves
as the Endowments Vice President.
Terry Wu has been a long time student of
Garchen Rinpoche and serves as the
Treasurer of the Endowment. She joined
the Board in 2016.
The intent of the advisory counsel of to have a set of
individuals that provide trusted counsel due to
expertise or experieince in one or more areas. The advisory counsel doesn't
have a set limit at this time and do not share any voting
rights that full board members are privledged too. Individuals are selected
by the Endowment Board by way of majority vote.
Evans has been a Buddhist practitioner for more than
25 years. His root teachers are Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa
Rinpoche and Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche, whom he met in 1997.
Will has served as the Endowment president for 10 Years and
co-founded the Endowment back in 2006. Upon his retirement
as President of the board in 2016, his dedication and
service to the Endowment will continue as the Advisory
counsels first member.
Will's aspiration for the rest of this
life is to help Garchen Rinpoche in whatever way he can, and
to eventually spend as much time as possible in retreat. He
will continue his virtuous activities and fulfill his vision
of installation of stones for the 37 Bodhisattavs Garden at
the Garchen Buddhist Institute.