What began as a tragic loss has now developed into an inspiring vision, as the Columbus Karma Thegsum Chöling begins the next phase of fundraising for its new home in the heart of the capital city.
When an arson fire destroyed our small wooden church in January 2016, our founding teacher, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, started the project by encouraging us: “Don’t be sad – rebuild!”
So, our little 50-family congregation dug deep, and manifested an emergency fundraising campaign raising $100,000, and amassed resources that helped us design a 10,000-square-foot temple that would satisfy our center’s needs for the next decade and beyond.
The “little congregation that could” made friends along the way – local business owners, government representatives and townspeople admired our 40-year commitment to Columbus and our 30-year history of offering free weekly meditation instruction to the public.
Donors supported our work in Ohio’s prisons, including teaching meditation to inmates on Death Row, and helped us expand our Free Meditation Instruction to a second weekly meeting – at an Episcopal church located downtown in the shadow of the Ohio Statehouse.
Meanwhile, friends overseas heard about our plight, and sent donations to help us rebuild our shrine hall better than ever, with traditional shrine furnishings and plenty of cushions and prayer book tables for retreats and regular practices. On top of $600,000 in insurance proceeds, the center collected $700,000 from donors around the corner and around the world.
After raising $1.3 million and making arrangements for a $200,000 loan, the KTC rejoiced at having funded its initial construction estimate.
But then, in early 2018, the final construction budget – including some items required by city code but unexpected by the construction team – came in at $2.3 million. A quick review cut some costs, but the revised budget was still $2.1 million. This figure is much higher than the $1.5 million KTC had on hand for the project.
After consulting with friends and advisors, the KTC Board and Capital Campaign Committee met and decided to move forward with the project, setting a fundraising goal of $800,000, which covers both the shortfall and an expected increase in construction costs due to a delayed construction start date.
To rally our friends and supporters for this last part of our project, we have organized a “last push” campaign with a goal of $800,000. This will allow us to start construction and complete our vision for a new home in the coming year.
Our teacher, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, who turns 95 this year, believes in the project so much that he already has purchased our Buddha statue – a stunning 10-foot-tall masterpiece of bronze depicting the primordial Buddha Vajradhara, a powerful reminder of the awakened potential that exists within all of us.
Khenpo Rinpoche also has donated the last of his personal practice items to a charity auction that raised $43,000, and says he is ready to come to Columbus in the company of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, to oversee our dedication, when it occurs.
This is where you come in.
If you believe in the power of meditation; if you believe that a beautiful meditation hall can help transform a bustling city; if you believe that donating to create spiritual environments accumulates positive virtuous merit and decreases ignorance in the world, we ask you to donate to the Columbus KTC Rebuilding Fund and fulfill the vision of the congregation and its founder, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.
All donations will be acknowledged. Donors of $1,000 or more will qualify for special gifts and donors of $10,000 or more will qualify for naming opportunities at the new center.
Donate today, and help us re-create our center of love and compassion in the center of the city.