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HARTFORD STREET ZEN CENTER CASTRO ZENDO INC
November 30, 2012

This Soto Zen temple is a wonderful intimate place for contemplation and to practice Zen Buddhism. Tucked away on a side street in the Castro, it has a beautiful garden in the back and a quiet zendo in the basement. I enjoy Saturday zazen at 9:25 am usually stay for the short dharma talk at 10:15 am and tea and cookies with the group. The place has an amazing history. Hartford Street Zen Center was founded by Issan Tommy Dorsey whose life story is told in the book "Street Zen" by David Schneider (winner of the Tricycle Prize for Best Book on Buddhism in America). Issan, who served as the temple's first abbot, founded Maitri Hospice at Hartford Street Zen Center. The beat poet Zenshin Philip Whalen was the temple's third abbot. He read at the famous Six Gallery reading in 1955 that marked the launch of the West Coast Beats into the public eye. Whalen appears, in barely fictionalized form, as the character "Warren Coughlin" in Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, which includes an account of that reading.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Client Served

Buddhist Peace Fellowship
December 28, 2011

Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF) is a leader in socially engaged Buddhism with a long and groundbreaking history of implementing projects that work toward ending suffering in the world. With all of the conflict, injustice and inequality swirling too quickly around us I feel its critical to support organizations guided by generosity, compassion, mindfulness, and deep listening. Check out Turning Wheel Media -- BPF's online forum.

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Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Donor

Community Grows
December 27, 2011

A wonderful program. Helping urban kids make connections between the environment, nutrition, exercise, and their health is so important. We need hundreds of small community-based groups like this in neigbhborhoods across the county.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
General Member of the Public

San Francisco Zen Center
December 27, 2011

I visited a lot of churches and groups looking for a a place to explore and deepen my spirituality. Once I really made the commitment to show up and have a spiritual practice, I was able to find a real community of support at Zen Center. The people I've met have been kind, patient, and not too serious about themselves.

Every Saturday morning at 8:30am they offer free meditation instruction. Each week a different teacher leads the group and each time its different so you can go back more than once and get a different perspective. You can stay for the dharma talk which is followed by tea, visit the bookstore or check out some of the art. The building was designed by Julie Morgan (who also designed Hearst Castle) and has a small courtyard with a fountain and garden.

In my experience, Zen practice at San Francisco Zen Center requires a degree of patience and perseverance. People don't rush up and urging you to get more involved. They are more likely to meet you where your at, respond generously to a request, and quietly support your zazen (meditation) practice. For me the benefits didn't happen overnight but required sustained and regular effort. Over time I learned to value stillness and silence -- too qualities I never really understood before coming to Zen Center.

They have a library and great little bookstore where the staff are really knowledgeable. I have taken classes and retreats at all three of their centers -- Beginners Mind Temple in San Francisco, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Carmel Valley -- and each has its on personality and attractions.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Volunteered in the kitchen, at fundraising events, and many other settings; attended classes, workshops and retreats; completed three month practice periods.

ALCOHOLIC REHABILITATION ASSN OF S F INC
May 24, 2010

The Alcoholics Rehabilitation Association of San Francisco runs a residence for 50 men and women in recovery from alcoholism called First Step Home. Their approach is based in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and they host three AA meetings a week. The organization dates back to 1954 when eleven members of Alcoholics Anonymous met to discuss ways of helping the alcoholic by creating a home where the recovering alcoholic could safely live and find mutual support from people with the same problem. It was one of the first residential programs of its kind in San Francisco. The major of ARA's Board of Directors are recovered alcoholics -- which helps keep the organization honest and true to its mission. There is a tremendous need in San Francisco for more supportive housing for individual in recovery. ARA depends on support from its members and the puhlic.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I lived at First Step Home which ARA operates. The residents are serious about their recovery and are their become they want to stay sober. The staff are experienced, fair and committed to the residents' recovery from alcoholism and addiction.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Caring and encouraging.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help some many more people stay sober and lead productive lives.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Client Served & I lived at First Step House which is run by ARA and it helped me stay sober and move toward recovery.