About 30 people gathered on January 27 for a wide-ranging discussion of Generations Phase 1, in preparation for the second phase of the Betsuin’s capital building campaign.

Under the direction of Bruce Davis, one of temple’s fundraising consultants during the first phase, we talked about what went well during Phase 1 and what we could have done better. The two-hour evaluation session in the board conference room was one of the important building blocks necessary as we prepare for Phase 2, the construction of a replacement for the Education Building across from the temple. The Education Building has seismic safety issues that we must either retrofit as we did to the Annex Building or replace. We have decided to build a new structure. Participating in the session were board members, komon (senior advisers and a cross-section of the temple’s membership.

We hope to use lessons learned from Phase 1 to help guide us on new Education Building. Here’s some of the things people said went well: regular video updates by Todd Tsudama; kitchen equipment, including braiser, movable counter, better cabinets, hot water dispenser; and well-designed pantry.

Areas we could have done better: didn’t communicate reasons for the project cost increases well enough; missed opportunities to get donations from members; archives room is not big enough; and the “quiet phase” of fundraising went on too long.

Looking forward to Phase 2, some suggestions are: need to present a plan to our neighbors; we need a professional fundraiser to help us; take better advantage of donations from the tech sector; and we need to spend more on support staff, communication and fundraising events.

Combined with the two sets of surveys from last year, we have a lot of information that will become the foundation of our planning for Phase 2. The next steps include completing the expansion the fundraising and infrastructure committee and seeking an architect that can design a master plan for the temple’s property between North 4th and 5th streets.

We’ll keep you posted on those developments.


Pine tree update

Last month I let you know that an arborist concluded that the pine tree located in front of the Annex Building was dying and couldn’t be saved. We got a second opinion from another arborist and, unfortunately, that expert came to the same conclusion. As I write this, we’re working through the city process to get a permit to cut down the tree and select a replacement tree. We’ll let you know when the tree will be removed.

For the temple, this pine tree has been a landmark tree for generations of members. If you have memories of the tree you’d like to share, send them to me and I’ll include them in a future article. And, if there are any ideas for what we might do with the wood, let me know that, too.


Obon Reorganization

We have reorganized how we operate the Obon Festival and Bazaar. Instead of a single chairperson, a seven-person Executive Committee will oversee Obon.  We have five of the seven Executive Committee positions filled and are looking for two more. The five are: Bill Nakamura, Janice Oda, Mas Nishimura, Dennis Akizuki and Ken Furukawa.

You’ll find a more detailed report on the reorganization plan in this edition of the Dharma.


Annex Building sound system

By the time you read this, the gym should have a new audio system! The $53,000 system consists of six speakers that hang from the gym ceiling, two iPads to control them and a new HD video camera for the Hondo. The placement of the speakers should ensure everyone in the gym should be able to hear clearly during services and other events.


In gassho

Dennis Akizuki