In January 2017 I began a survey of organizations to determine where we fit in the broader field of moving money in alignment with the Spirit for social justice. I gathered with organizations that worked with faith and social justice; with donor organizations dedicated to progressive philanthropy and impact investing; and with staff members of private foundations dedicated to social justice.
Recent conversations have raised critical questions around the money practices by which people of wealth deploy huge sums of money globally in the name of “changing the world” but which do little to change the structures of economic injustice.
I believe that in Wisdom & Money people of wealth learn a different way to work with money. Our wisdom practices, our money practices, and the fellowship of our retreat circles all encourage us to act with freedom and creativity. And the practices of the Be Present Empowerment Model give us skills to bring our true selves to the table and to build effective, sustainable relationships across differences around shared vision.
I believe that the single most important offering that Wisdom & Money can make to the field of money, Spirit and justice will come through building a close and enduring organizational alliance with Be Present, Inc., in the coming year.
— Steven Bonsey
Building an Alliance
For years Harvest Time/Wisdom & Money and Be Present, Inc. have worked in formal and informal organizational collaboration. We have partnered in the Mississippi land project and consulted on many aspects of organizational culture. The Be Present Empowerment Model serves as a core practice in our retreat circles and for our board and staff.
In February 2019 the boards of W&M and BPI gathered in a “Trailblazing” joint meeting in Atlanta. We also co-sponsored a workshop on “Sustaining a Practice of Community-Engaged, Transformative Philanthropy.” The year to come promises to invite both organizations into a deeper exploration into how we may be called to work and act in conscious alliance
Program Development: The Transformative Journey
In 2018 the Board and staff of Wisdom & Money continued to explore the development of an intensive model of our work in the form of international and domestic Transformative Journeys.
In October, Rose Feerick, gina Breedlove, Steve Bonsey and Roddy Cardamone travelled to Rwanda to visit Harvest Time/Wisdom &Money’s longtime friends in the reconciliation ministry of REACH-Rwanda. While there, we helped to lead a four-day Wisdom & Money retreat for 30 members of REACH.
We hope to offer new and continuing members of our Wisdom & Money network the opportunity in the near future to witness the miracles of reconciliation that we have seen and to ponder with us their implications for our work with money here at home.
In 2018 we offered two open retreats, one on the West Coast and one on the East. We styled these retreats as shaped around our core practices – wisdom practices, money practices and the Be Present Empowerment Model.
The retreats will introduce prospective members to an experience of a Wisdom & Money retreat, and they will also offer continuing members the opportunity to go deeper with these practices.
In January 2019 our West Coast open retreat was held at the New Camaldoli Hermitage, California, and on June 27-30, 2019, an open retreat on “Working with Money as a Spiritual Practice” will be held at Emery House in Massachusetts.
Creativity in the Flow of Gift
When I first stepped into serving as Director of Harvest Time, I experienced moments of challenge or constriction related to money in a spirit of anxiety and was tempted to create an action plan that was rooted in urgency. But after years of working in Harvest Time and now Wisdom & Money, I learned to recognize such moments as opportunities for spiritual practice. I now know that working with organizational money – especially times of challenge or constriction – is a perfect opportunity to practice our mission.
Through the first two years of our start-up phase, a grant from Helen Daly’s Narthex Fund provided significant support for Wisdom & Money’s work. In 2018 that support was completed, and the Wisdom & Money Board issued an invitation to our membership to bring forward over-and-above gifts of support to help us carry on in these start-up years until we can grow into more stable sustainability. The W&M network has been most generous in its response, and we continue to invite funding that will support the full vision of our work in 2019.
Working on this challenge with the Treasury Committee of our Board and Directors has been an amazing experience. Rather than fall into scarcity and fear, the committee supports each other to move from vision. The process has been full of transparency, transformative conversation in tough moments, and prayer, allowing us to move forward in a spirit of trust, gratitude and in community.
We are now looking at how to dance with three different energies we experience related to our budget: the expansive energy of moving toward our full vision; the constrictive energy of working with the limitations of our current cash flow; and the creativity to welcome new support from new friends outside of our current network.
In the weeks and months to come you will hear of a number of creative fundraising initiatives. We invite you to participate in these efforts with us by inviting people you know and love to participate in this good work by their presence and support. We hope in this way to continue to amplify the legacy of Harvest Time/ Wisdom & Money.