Support For Meher Spiritual Center
Giving from the Heart
When Meher Baba asked Elizabeth C. Patterson and Princess Norina Matchabelli to locate property for a center in America, one of His qualifications was that it be “given from the heart”. That property, which was to become the Meher Spiritual Center, was offered to Elizabeth by her father and given to Baba by Elizabeth, out of love. This important precedent, that the Center founded for Meher Baba be sustained through gifts from the heart, has guided the Center’s support initiatives since its founding. Through the decades, support for the Center has been offered freely, out of love, without the burden of obligation, or the expectation of reward. Over that period the number of visitors to the Center has increased from a mere handful to thousands annually. All who come to the Center for spiritual renewal, all who recognize Meher Baba as the Avatar of the Age, and all who seek a world dedicated to the unity of all life, are in a very real sense stewards of Meher Spiritual Center. And as stewards we all have the opportunity to help ensure that the Center remain “a place of pilgrimage for all time” dedicated to Meher Baba.
A Present Need, A Future Challenge
The consequences of unsettled financial markets coupled with ever-increasing expenses have underscored Meher Center’s need for additional support and sound financial planning. Fresh initiatives by the Center’s Investment Committee have succeeded in establishing a firm foundation for the Center’s financial well-being. Meher Center is, however, currently faced with numerous challenges that will continue to strain its resources.
Funds are needed to properly maintain existing buildings and replace aging and inadequate infrastructure; to provide for and replace long-term dedicated employees who have reached retirement age; and to properly manage and preserve the Center property, its natural beauty, ecological balance, and wildlife.
Additionally, further investment will be necessary to plan for the accommodation of increasing numbers of visitors; to ensure protection against natural disasters (fire, flood, drought) and encroachment from outside development; for the acquisition of necessary technology and expertise to facilitate open communication and exchange of ideas with the worldwide Baba community; and for the preservation of Baba artifacts, documents, photos, films, recordings, and expansion of access to these holdings.
Given these immediate needs, longer-term goals, and uncertain financial pressures the Center may face in the future, it is essential that annual support, the reserve fund, and the endowment all grow, now and in the years to come.
The Elizabeth Chapin Patterson Fund
A bequest by Elizabeth C. Patterson enabled the Center to establish a non-restricted reserve fund, the ECP Fund. This fund provides a perpetual foundation of financial support for Meher Baba’s ongoing work at the Center. Donations placed in the ECP Fund include any non-restricted bequests made to the Center and any donations specified for the Fund. Contributions of unrestricted gifts are preferred as they allow for the ongoing needs of the Center to be met in a timely and unencumbered manner.
ECP Fund assets are professionally invested with an emphasis on preservation of capital and long-term growth. Invested funds are monitored by the Meher Center’s Investment Committee, a board-designated committee of business professionals.
The Kitty L. Davy Endowment Fund
The Meher Center Board has created the Kitty L. Davy Endowment Fund (KLD Endowment) as a long-term endowed fund structured to receive contributions of restricted gifts intended for the long-term financial stability of the Center. The KLD Fund has two main vehicles available for individuals to donate restricted gifts. The first vehicle is the KLD General Endowment Fund. This is a restricted fund into which any amount may be donated, as long as it is designated specifically for KLD General Endowment Fund. The second vehicle enables donors to establish, within the KLD Fund, a Special Endowed Fund for a specific use. The minimum gift level to establish a Special Endowed Fund within the KLD Fund is fifty thousand dollars (50,000). Once a Special Endowed Fund is established, donors may contribute to that Fund in any amount by simply designating their gift to that specific Fund.