Meher Spiritual Center, Inc., was chartered as a nonprofit
corporation under the laws of South Carolina in 1959, and
designated tax exempt under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS
Code. The corporation was founded as a non-sectarian religious
organization whose chartered purposes are to: 1) maintain
a spiritual retreat for rest, meditation, and renewal of the
spiritual life; 2) maintain a library of primarily religious,
philosophical and inspirational books accessible to the public;
3) hold group meetings for reading of the Discourses of Meher
Baba and other universal truths; and 4) donate clothing and
other necessities to the poor. The corporation is governed
by a Board of Directors who act as stewards of Meher Center
and the Meher Spiritual Center Corporation. A current staff
of sixteen serve as caretakers of the retreat, and over one
hundred volunteers regularly participate in its daily operations.
For a complete copy of the text of the Center's original 1959 Charter, click below. Also available by clicking below are the Center's Vision, Values, and Mission Statements, and the Board Governance Policies document. The governance document summarizes the responsibilities of the Board of Directors, the Administrator and the staff of Meher Spiritual Center, and the processes by which the Center is to be managed.
Vision, Values, and Mission Statements
Board Governance Policies
In the Spring of 2007, the Board of Meher Spiritual Center began a strategic planning process to identify the most important issues facing the Center in the next ten years, to set goals to address each one, and to create action plans to reach those goals. Through an on-going process of meetings, consultations, surveys and the development of planning drafts, the Board's strategic plan was completed in December 2009, and work on the action plans has been proceeding since then. The plan was revised in October 2015. Click below to access a copy of the plan.
March 13th, 2015
Dear Baba Family,
The Meher Spiritual Center is in the midst of creating a Master Plan to guide its future development. The Master Plan Committee (MPC) and Board of Directors have worked for nearly two years on this effort. In an attempt to engage the larger Baba community, last fall, the MPC and Board of Directors conducted extensive outreach to begin dialogue about the long-term future of the Center. The Board is very grateful that during this process, the Baba community conveyed a deep and heartfelt interest in the future of the Center and provided valuable input for the development of this Master Plan. This letter provides the context for this effort, offers a brief summary of major themes that came through, and shares the next steps in the Master Plan process.
This engagement effort went beyond anything the Center has ever attempted. Approximately 300 people participated in ten in-person meetings conducted in eight cities: Myrtle Beach; Asheville, NC; Athens, GA; Boston, MA; Chapel Hill, NC; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; and San Francisco, CA. At each event, both Board and Master Plan Committee members presented the current State of the Center, the Master Plan context, and three potential Master Plan scenarios. Each participant engaged in small group discussion to provide feedback on the Master Plan scenarios. Each meeting was ended by polling participants on a variety of questions related to these scenarios.
In addition to these meetings, over 150 people participated in a web survey. An online video overview and in-depth descriptions of the Master Plan and scenarios were provided. If you still have not reviewed the Master Plan scenarios or related videos and information as they were presented in the Fall and Winter of 2014, you can find them below. The board also received approximately 30 self-generated letters from individuals who offered valuable feedback and suggestions.
Over 300 pages of feedback were generated, in addition to the web survey data. As promised, careful consideration has been given to each participant’s feedback, and at this point, all of the responses received have been organized and analyzed. A general overview of the preliminary analysis is given below.
• There was general agreement with the core principles on which the scenarios were based.
• There was also general agreement with the assumptions framing the Master Plan scenarios; there was particularly strong agreement with the assumption that there should be no development on the Center without demonstrated need and without the infrastructure (physical, financial, managerial) to support that development.
• There were significant concerns about the current state of the Center, especially the condition of the lake and the forest; people were reminded that the focus of this effort was longer-term, and that the Board and management are currently addressing these environmental concerns.
• Each of the scenarios received numerous favorable comments; each scenario also received a significant number of critical comments or suggestions for improving the different elements that constituted the scenarios (e.g., cabins, meeting locations, administration, etc.).
• Feedback from in-person meetings tended to support scenarios 2 and 3, which call for more development of the Center.
• Feedback from the web survey tended to support scenario 1, which calls for less development of the Center.
• A number of unique suggestions were offered that had not been included in any of the scenarios (for instance, there were numerous comments on how to better accommodate day visitors and overnight guests both on and off the Center).
• There were a few suggestions for the Master Planning process going forward (for instance, further meetings, communication devices, further evaluations needed).
• Some people offered assistance to the Board and the Center in the implementation of the plan.
• There was an outpouring of appreciation throughout the process for the opportunity to have input to the master plan during its formulation, and the hope that there would be continued engagement with the community in the future.
• Every comment made reflected a profound love and care for the Center that touched every one involved in the process.
A sub-team of Board and MPC members reviewed the data over the span of one month; then the MPC reviewed the data together and used it to make refinements to the original three scenarios. In May the MPC will present these refined scenarios to the Board. Using this input, the Board will work to arrive at a single scenario that will provide a framework for the future Master Plan.
This feedback process is extremely important, as it ensures that the Center benefits from the wisdom of the entire Baba family. As we move forward, although every idea offered may not be implemented, the very act of participating in the process builds a shared stewardship for the Center, and strengthens us as a family focused on fulfilling Baba’s wishes. We look forward to maintaining close communication with the larger Baba family as the Master Plan develops, via newsletters and the Center’s website.
In closing, we would like to add that, in moving forward with our Strategic Plan, we are committed to working closely with individuals throughout our community who have offered their many talents and resources. This engagement effort was a major change for the Center, and the result has been, we hope, a more transparent process moving forward. We are thankful for and heartened by both the spirit and the thoughtful response we have received from the larger Baba community.
In maintaining creative, open communication and shared responsibility, we look forward to fulfilling the trust that Baba has reposed in us to sustain the place He called “My home in the West.”
Love in Baba,
the Meher Spiritual Center, Inc. Board
Below are several documents and two videos for learning about the current State of the Center, and about the master plan scenarios as presented in Fall 2014. A revised scenario set will follow later this year.
STATE OF THE CENTER 2014
This presentation provides information on the current state of the Meher Center. It includes an explanation of the Center's strategic plan issues, and ways that management and/or the Board of Directors is currently addressing each issue.
An OVERVIEW OF THE MASTER PLAN SCENARIOS:
This is an overview of the Master Plan scenarios' principles, assumptions, and scenario elements.
Please remember that these elements are concepts for consideration, not engineered designs.
Also please bear in mind that they imply a set of "enabling conditions" (managerial, infrastructural, environmental management, etc. needs) that are not discussed in this written material, but that are discussed in the videos below (as well as in the State of the Center above).
The "essential conditions" are defined as needs that it is understood must be met in order for any scenario to be actualized.
SCENARIO MAPS AND ELEMENTS CHART:
This contains maps of each of the 3 scenarios. Please remember that these maps are not drawn to scale. Rather, they give approximate locations for each building. The chart following the maps summarizes all the scenario elements, which is helpful when watching the video and reviewing the maps.
Please enjoy the two videos below. However, ignore references to the survey because the survey closed in late December 2014:
MASTER PLAN PROCESS:
This video, delivered by Board of Directors Presiding Officer John Leiter, reviews the Meher Spiritual Center's vision, mission and values, and introduces the Master Planning purpose and process.
MASTER PLAN SCENARIOS:
This video, delivered by Master Plan Committee Chairman Daniel Stone, walks through the principles, assumptions and elements of the 3 Master Plan scenario drafts.
We are frequently asked how one can help support and preserve
Meher Spiritual Center. What follows is basic information
about various ways the Center may be supported now and into
A major source of support for Meher Center are the annual
donations made by Associate Members and friends. These donations
come throughout the year, helping the Center meet its operating
expenses. A growing number of individuals make regular monthly
gifts. Day visitors (more than 14,000 visits each year) pay
no fee for use of the Center. Donations enable the staff to
maintain the cabins, roads, trails, and other facilities for
the constant use of the Center by day visitors and retreat
guests. A donation can be made by mailing a check to Meher Spiritual Center, Inc., 10200 N. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach, SC 29572. Or one may donate in the ways described below:
Click on the button below to make a one-time donation to the Center by credit or debit card through PayPal.com.
To sign up to make an ongoing monthly donation by automatic payment from your checking account or credit card, click the link below to download the form, then fill out and mail or fax back to us.
Monthly Automatic Donation Form
Cabin income currently provides about one third of the Center's annual budget. By Meher Baba's directive, retreat guests pay a modest sum for use of the cabins. This amount does not begin to cover the costs of maintenance, utilities, laundry, insurance and other expenses. Nevertheless, the cabin fee is kept small in keeping with the Center's nonprofit purpose, and to provide a service to those Meher Baba draws to the Center for retreat and renewal. The Center can only continue to do this because of the loving generosity of Meher Baba's family.
While annual membership dues constitute a modest amount compared to donations and cabin fees, they are, nonetheless, vitally important to the Center as a demonstration of public support.
If you'd like to become a member, click the link below to download the form.
The Elizabeth Chapin Patterson Endowment Fund contributes towards the operational expenses of the Center not covered by annual donations and cabin fees. These funds also help the Center to maintain the original cabins as Meher Baba wished and to make other capital improvements and additions. There are various planned giving options for placing donations in the endowment, all of which contribute to its long-term maintenance and growth.
GIFTS IN KIND AND VOLUNTEERS
Almost everything at the Center - each book in the library, much of the furniture, carpets, tools, linens, other equipment and much more has been given with love by hundreds of individuals. In addition, over a hundred people regularly volunteer their time to do many of the tasks needed to keep the Center open twelve months a year: volunteering at the Gateway and the library; showing the Center to new visitors; helping care for the grounds; and serving in countless other ways.