After careful deliberation, the Shambhala Center Board recently approved a number of changes to our Program Pricing Policy. This blog article is to inform you about them, and a copy of it can also be found on our website: click here. Our intention in making these changes has been to simplify our policy and to make it more consistent with our view and our mission. The changes are as follow:
1. We will be ending the Work/Study Program that has enabled students to volunteer services to the Center in lieu of tuition payments for programs. While this program has helped many sangha members in recent years, it has been difficult to track, and more importantly, it has sent a very mixed, quid pro quo message about the nature of volunteering at the Center. This unfortunate but inevitable message has been clearly at odds with our mahayana perspective on volunteering, and we need to correct it. Of course, we also need to cultivate the Mahayana perspective even further with regard to volunteering, and we are confident that we will be able
to do this.
2. The Pay What You Can Policy will be replaced with a Generosity Policy.
Although this change may appear to be rather subtle, the intention behind it is to shift the focus away from one of “payments” to one of “offerings.” While the monetary outcome in a given situation might not be changed at all by this shift, the view behind it will change from one of ‘saving money for oneself’ to one of ‘being generous to the Center.’ Generosity, furthermore, is a critical part of the mahayana path, and we want to encourage each other to practice it.
3. Tiered Pricing will be introduced for most programs, and in general, prices will be slightly increased. We will be rolling out this change in pricing structure over the next month and appreciate your patience while we finalize all of the changes. The tiers are as follow:
Patron Level-approximately 25% higher than the normal price.
Sustaining Level-the normal price that keeps us running.
Supporting Level-approximately 65% of the normal price.
Generosity Policy-always available if the Supporting Level is too high.
Registration and prepayments via the web will become the norm for most programs, and use of the Generosity Policy will generally need to be negotiated with a member of the Shambhala Center Staff prior to the program in question.
4. Member Discounts will be discontinued. This change mirrors the Generosity Policy by shifting the view of membership away from what one receives as a member to the mahayana view of what one gives.
5. Volunteer Training Programs will continue to be offered as part of our commitment to the path of service.
The changes that we are making to the pricing policy are intended fundamentally to clarify the view that we take toward finances. Because of the important Generosity Policy element, they should also not entail additional hardship for anyone. At the same time, they should also help us to raise slightly more revenue as well as a lot more lungta.
If you have any questions about these changes, please feel free to contact Caitlin Cianflone, our finance manager or me, Charles Styron.
In the Vision of the Great Eastern Sun,
Charles W. Styron, Chagdzo
Boston Shambhala Center