How to Give to Ekoji
How to Give to Ekoji
It is a common question and one that comes up often from long-time members as well as people new to the temple. In providing an answer, it is important to first understand the financial needs of the temple.
Historically, about 50 percent of the temple’s operating budget has come from donations by members and visitors to the temple, and the other half came from other sources including rental income of our parsonage, which has been unoccupied after the late Rev. Tsuji retired and moved to California; special events like our annual Obon Festival (our biggest fundraiser); and donations from our long-time benefactor Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK).
While we have been fortunate to have these alternative sources of financial support, over the long term, Sangha giving will need to become a greater percentage of the temple’s budget. Our operating budget must cover basic costs to heat and cool the two buildings, make repairs, provide security, phone, etc., plus landscaping and snow removal in winter.
Ekoji does not have a formal dues policy, but rather, we set an annual Dana (giving) guideline. The current guideline is set at $500 per member, per year. However, we encourage people to give what they can. For some, $500 is more than they can afford, but others are able to give much more. Our policy is designed to ensure that people know they are welcome to be members and to support the temple in a way that fits with their current circumstances.
So how do you give? Any way you like. Some members write a check once a year for the annual Dana amount and mail it to the temple. Others give on a monthly basis, sending in a check each month. Many prefer to give each time they attend service. Still, others give on special services or events like Buddha Day or Obon. And some do all of the above.
While financial support from the Sangha is critical, there are other ways to give. In addition to meeting its financial obligations, the temple needs many hours of volunteer time to keep the temple open, maintained and to run all of its programs. So, giving of your time is also very important to the success of the temple.
In terms of your own decision, we feel it’s best for each member to decide on his or her own how much to give and in which way works best. Whatever the amount and whenever it is given, please know that it is accepted with great appreciation.