Harvest Time is in the midst of an important shift.
In January 2017, we will open a new organization called Wisdom & Money that will carry the work begun in Harvest Time forward. In this letter, I would like to share some information about why we made this decision, provide a first look at Wisdom & Money and invite your participation in the transition.
I want to be clear at the outset that even though there is a death and rebirth happening, the heart of this transition is not about ending our work with money and Christian spirituality, or ending our relationships with you, our friends. Instead, we are gathering the wisdom we have discovered together and preparing to share it more broadly. In this sense, it’s harvest time for this ministry.
Sixteen years ago, when Harvest Time began, I did not know if it were possible or what it would look like for wealthy Christians to engage with money in response to the Gospel. Today, thanks to you and your courage, I have many stories to tell about the inner shifts that can happen when we consciously reflect on money with spiritual friends. I also have many examples of people who have found the freedom to use resources as an expression of God’s love in the world. We have discovered a pathway together, and that is what we are seeking to offer more widely in Wisdom & Money.
In 2014, two incidents happened that sent Harvest Time’s board of directors into a discernment process about the future of this work. In January, Harvest Time received an unexpected gift in the amount of $100,000, offered to help us expand our outreach efforts. A few months later, we were working to clear up complications with the IRS classification of our tax-free status related to our history of functioning as a grant-making institution (our non-profit status was never in question). Since we have not made grants for several years and our mission has clarified since our founding, our attorney recommended that we create a new fiscal entity to continue the important work of Harvest Time. The experience of receiving this counsel alongside a gift to expand outreach led Harvest Time’s Board of Directors to vote in September 2014 to create a new organization, which we later named Wisdom & Money.
The creation of this new organization offered an opportunity to take stock of our work. First at the board level and then in conversation with people in our network and local community, we reflected on how we can strengthen what has been valuable in Harvest Time and extend our work in promising new directions. Thank you to everyone who took the time to talk with me, Noa and Daniel and offer your experiences and suggestions!
One piece that was clear in our conversations with friends in the Harvest Time network is the power and importance of offering opportunities for people to gather in small circles of spiritual friends.
Wisdom & Money will continue to offer such opportunities. I will also continue to be available to offer spiritual direction to people who want to reflect on issues in their financial lives as opportunities for transformation and spiritual deepening.
Wisdom & Money will also undertake some new ventures. Specifically, we will offer new opportunities to learn spiritual practices that have been helpful to people in our network. We also hope to expand our online presence to disseminate theological reflections and stories of how people are working with money in creative ways that lead to transformation. Wisdom & Money will strategically focus its outreach efforts by working locally in the Silicon Valley area to invite interested people into new circles.
In addition, Wisdom & Money will strengthen our connections nationally with organizations that are engaging with money for positive social change. For instance, we will share what we have learned about money and Christian spirituality with organizations looking to develop their own thinking and practice with this topic. Where there is deep resonance and a shared commitment to intentional process, we will develop / continue long-term partnerships. And we will participate in gatherings that convene organizations working with money, spiritual transformation and social change. We are hoping that expanding our engagement with other organizations will enable us to circulate more widely the wisdom we have discovered. Of course, we also look forward to learning from other organizations and finding our place in the web of those who are seeking to transform relationship with money.
I am excited to announce that on July 1, 2016 we will be hiring Reverend Steven Bonsey, an Episcopal priest and longtime participant in our Boston Circle, as a consultant to help us define and prepare to offer Wisdom & Money’s programs.
What This Means for Those in Harvest Time Programs
Starting in 2017, Harvest Time programs will be offered as Wisdom & Money programs. If you are currently in a circle, Wisdom & Money will continue to facilitate and host your circle. I will also continue to be available for conversations with those who would like to explore issues related to money and faith one on one.
Invitation to midwife the new
Because this transition is about amplifying and bringing greater visibility to what we have discovered and created together, I want to ask for your companionship and support as we transition to Wisdom & Money. Here are some specific ways that you can help us:
Share Responses to first draft description of Wisdom & Money: Over the summer, Steve and I will be developing an introduction to Wisdom & Money and a three-year plan. I would love to hear your responses to our first draft of that introduction (click here). If you would like to share your response, please look for an invitation to a conference call in early summer or send me an email.
Defining Initial Program Offerings: Steve and I will be working together to define the initial program offerings of Wisdom & Money. If you have ideas or would like to join us in the conversation, please send me an email so we can talk.
Share Your Stories: As I mentioned, Wisdom & Money will share stories and practical examples of ways to engage with money as a transformative spiritual practice and offer it in service of the common good. If you have had an experience with money that feels sacred to you; if reflecting on money has led to a profound spiritual transformation for you; if you feel like there is a particular area of your financial life where you are coming into greater alignment with the Holy Spirit; if you have a theological perspective to share; and you are willing to tell your story, please send me an email so we can talk more.
Financial Support: During this time of transition and birth, we will have our ordinary Harvest Time expenses as well as some additional ones related to birthing Wisdom & Money. Below is a list of what we would like to do during the next six months and anticipated expenses. Thank you to everyone who has already made a gift or pledge to support us in this season!
Transition Period (June 1, 2016-December 31, 2016)
Here are our intentions for the next six months:
- Continue to host retreats and gatherings for our circles
- Participate in conversations and conferences with other organizations reflecting on money, spirituality, and social change
- Share reflections that celebrate the wisdom of Harvest Time
- Share insights about the intersection of Christian Wisdom and money.
- Develop a three year plan for Wisdom & Money
- Begin to seek “start up” funding for Wisdom & Money
- Create organizational infrastructure for Wisdom & Money
Total Anticipated Expenses: $132,000
- Gifts and Pledges already received: $58,000
- Gifts Requested: $74,000
Gifts to support the transition period should be made out to Harvest Time and mailed to 1259 El Camino Real, Suite 241 Menlo Park, CA 94025
Birth of Wisdom & Money
Harvest Time has been blessed to have an incredible circle of donors who consistently make gifts to this ministry totaling between $150,000 and $175,000 annually. My hope is that those who have felt led to support Harvest Time will journey with me into Wisdom & Money and support the new ministry as well.
We are expecting that Wisdom & Money will have greater expenses than Harvest Time because we are hoping to hire an additional staff person to support our new ventures; increase our visibility online; and participate more actively in conversations and conferences where people are engaged in reflecting on money. Once we have our three year plan and budget in place, I will be seeking individuals and foundations who may be inspired to make a “start up” gift to support Wisdom & Money during our first three years of operation. If you would like to have a conversation with me about making such a gift and/or know a foundation that might be interested in our work, please let me know.
Stay tuned for a fuller description of Wisdom & Money and a three-year plan that I will share in the fall.
I am available to talk with you to answer any questions you may have about this shift. Please send me an email and we can set up a time to visit. In addition, in early summer, members of Harvest Time’s Board of Directors will be hosting a conference call conversation to answer any questions that you might have and listen to your responses to the enclosed description of Wisdom & Money. Please look for an invitation to that call in your email.
Thank you so much for reading this letter and thank you for your friendship as we walk through this transition to Wisdom & Money. Though I have some sadness in bidding Harvest Time goodbye, I am eagerly looking forward to gathering the wisdom that we have discovered together at Harvest Time and offering it more broadly. I am so grateful to all of you have been willing to engage the challenging topic of money and Christian spirituality.
In gratitude and anticipation,