When the 2011 gathering concluded, everyone agreed they’d like to continue meeting every two years.
The 2011 Planning Committee (PC) simply looked around the room, so to speak, and identified five ostensibly capable people with attention to ensuring each lineage was represented and that the next planning group was balanced by gender, race, ethnicity, and so on.
The 2013 Planning Committee learned as much as they could from the 2011 group and then went on their merry way.
This same, somewhat informal, baton-passing occurred for the 2015 and 2017 gatherings.
In the lead-up to that 2017 gathering, though, it became clear that our community needed a more consistent way of organizing itself.
A group of former Planning Committee members met for a day before the 2017 gathering and started to discuss how to move forward.
It was decided that an advisory council would be formed in order to provide guidance to the PC, serve as a repository for institutional memory for the sake of sustaining sangha policies, and to figure out a process for creating a system of governance for the community.
Advisory Council → Interim Board
At the 2019 Gathering, the AC came to the community with initial thoughts and proposals.
Collectively, the members decided to charge the AC with developing an ongoing sangha governance structure, including applying for 501(c)(3) status, incorporating, obtaining liability insurance for volunteers, and composing draft bylaws for ratification at the next in-person gathering. Indeed, GBTS now has in hand:
- An EIN (taxpayer ID)
- Incorporated March 2020 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- Applied for 501(c)(3) March 2021
- Set up a bank account
- Obtained liability insurance
- Begun drafting bylaws
When GBTS became incorporated, it had to convert the Advisory Council to a more standard board with a president, treasurer, and clerk (the term used by Massachusetts for the more commonly used “secretary”).
This board became legally responsible for the finances, activities, and actions of the organization upon incorporation.
As such, the current board is an interim board between now and July 2022, when the community as a whole can gather again to review bylaws and determine the form of its permanent board.
Overall, therefore, the interim board’s charge is to maintain the collective will and culture as it has been shaped over the past ten years and to handle things that come up as best we can, with an overall conservative final decision.
That means, we’re not empowered to make any large decisions that would substantially change the organization.
Past and present Advisory Council members are:
- First meeting (June 2017): prior PC members were Brother Phap Hai, Dave Smith, Rebecca Li, Rod Owens, Jay Rinzen Weik, along with the 2017 PC members.
- 2017-2019 members: Nina La Rosa, Brother Phap Hai, David Iozzi, Sumi Loundon Kim, Rebecca Li, Rod Owens, Justin von Bujdoss, Jay Rinzen Weik.
- 2019-2022 members: Nina La Rosa (Clerk), Brother Phap Hai, David Iozzi (Treasurer), Sumi Loundon Kim (President), Rebecca Li, Vimalasara Mason-John, Grace Song. (Stepped off: Rod Owens; Jay Rinsen Weik; Justin von Bujdoss.)
The Planning Committee (“PC”) was the first subgroup formed out of the greater sangha in 2011, with the express purpose of organizing the biennial gatherings.
In addition, toward the end of each gathering, the planning committee invited sangha members interested in serving on the next committee to a group meeting to express their interest.
The next planning committee is selected from these individuals, and potentially other sangha members who have an interest in the committee, but were unable to attend the most recent gathering.
At present, the Advisory Council/interim board and PC select the next PC together.
Selection focuses on bringing together a group with a diversified Buddhist lineage, attendance at prior GenX gatherings, ethnicity and race, gender, sexual orientation, balance of skills, and the like.
Members of the Planning Committees for each of the gatherings to date are:
- 2011. Josh Bartok, Sumi Loundon Kim, Noah Levine, Willa Miller, Spring Washam
- 2013. Viveka Chen, Anushka Fernandopulle, Brother Phap Hai, Rose Taylor, Jay Rinsen Weik
- 2015. Rebecca Li, Andrew Merz, Rod Owens, Dave Smith, Deborah Eden Tull
- 2017. David Iozzi, Nina La Rosa, Kaira Jewel Lingo, Doyeon Park, Tenku Ruff, Justin von Bujdoss
- 2019. Kim Allen, Vimalasara Mason-John, Yeshe Rose, Jogen Salzberg, Grace Song
- 2021. [Online Gathering] JD Doyle, Santiago Jimenez, Abhaya Korrigan, Kiyonobu Kuwahara, Liz Monson, Mako Voelkel
- 2022. JD Doyle, Kiyonobu Kuwahara, Linda Modaro, Dosung Yoo.