Letter to the Sangha

Dear Dharma Friends:

Thanks for your continued interest and caring for us at Columbus Karma Thegsum Chöling. Since fire destroyed our center in January 2016 we have been relying on friends like you to support our programs in our temporary home at Congregation Tifereth Israel, and to continue helping us develop plans for a new KTC home.

Today’s letter is a short summary of what’s been happening at KTC since the fire, and what’s ahead as we work toward the next stage of our journey home.

We hope you will be inspired by our journey and will join with us as we carry our community those last miles to our new KTC center.

We’ve created a survey document where you can tell us what gifts and skills you can share with us – either to support our weekly programs at Tifereth or through lama visits and fundraising events. We can’t travel this path alone, and need your help to make this vital journey.

Please click here to participate in this survey.  Please let us hear from you by the end of day Monday, September 10th.

Whether it’s through prayer or aspirations or energetic efforts to help us with your hearts and hands, we welcome you and appreciate you!

May our aspirations and dharma flourish for the benefit of beings!

Wishing you all the best,

Your Family at KTC Columbus

Summary of the Columbus KTC Rebuilding Project

Our Story Thus Far

Karma Thegsum Chöling Columbus has hosted a Buddhist practice center in the Capital City since 1977, when it was founded by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. Since 1990, it resided in a small wooden church at Rich and Grubb streets in the Franklinton neighborhood of West Columbus.

An arson fire destroyed the KTC’s little wooden church in January 2016.  Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche encouraged KTC’s 50-family Sangha to “not be sad – rebuild,” and directed that our next building be larger than the first.  With input from the Sangha and Khenpo Rinpoche, a new building was designed that would meet Sangha needs for the next decade.

City officials approved the design for the new KTC in late 2016, and Centerpoint Construction was hired in 2017 to turn the designs into finished building plans.  Meanwhile, KTC raised more than $100,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to pay emergency expenses, and a Capital Campaign Committee set a $1.5 million fundraising goal. After raising $1.3 million and planning a bank loan for $200,000, the $1.5 million goal was met in December 2017.  KTC members rejoiced.

2018: Construction Budget Surprise

  • In early 2018, our first construction budget – including some items required by city code but unexpected by the building team – came in at $2.3 million. A quick review cut some costs, but the revised budget was still $2.1 million. This figure was much higher than the $1.5 million KTC would have on hand for the project.
  • KTC Board met with Sangha and the construction team in April. KTC Sangha members expressed a wide variety of views about how to respond to the sudden change. With ideas from the Sangha, the construction and design team continue to work on cost-saving ideas.
  • Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche was informed about the sudden change in construction costs, and about Sangha members’ ideas and views. He encouraged the Sangha to unite behind the vision of building a new center at Rich and Grubb streets that would serve “future generations” of Dharma practitioners.
  • KTC Board responded by adding new members to the Capital Campaign Committee and setting a new fundraising goal of $800,000 – to meet the new $2.1 million budget plus expected cost increases due to an expected delay in the start of construction.
  • Fundraising plans include local events, a national GoFundMe campaign, and an international campaign headed by a team including Lama Lodro Lhamo, Lama Karma Drodhul, Cherry Qu and many others.
  • In May 2018, His Holiness Karmapa was informed of KTC’s need, and said he was discussing our situation with others.
  • From May to June, with these blessings, we raised $93,000 in six weeks:
  • KTC was invited to raise money at His Holiness’ May teachings in New York City, where $25,000 was raised in 3 days.
  • Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche donated items for a special sale and gave KTC donations. Both amounted to $53,000.
  • Local people inspired by stories of this generosity donated $15,000.
  • Along with his contributions, Khenpo Rinpoche sent a recorded message encouraging everyone to work together to manifest a beautiful and lasting center according to the design created by the Sangha, the architects, and himself, and to see their work as benefitting not just themselves, but all sentient beings. Khenpo Rinpoche said that His Holiness the 17th Karmapa has agreed to attend the opening ceremony for the new KTC Columbus – but we have to build the center first!

Moving Forward

The Columbus KTC Board has decided to focus exclusively on fundraising for the new building in Franklinton.  With the encouragement from Khenpo Rinpoche and many others, and their offer to actively help us fundraise for the building project, the Board is hopeful that the necessary money will be raised by next summer.