Pennies for Partnerships Accepted as TCIA Philanthropy

As a member of TCIA and the director of Pennies for Partnerships (PfP), it is with much enthusiasm I announce the development of PfP now as an active initiative within the Tibetan Cultural Institute of Arkansas (TCIA), a nonprofit organization, located in Fayetteville. Over the years I have had the opportunity to be involved with members of this organization, be it professors from the University of Arkansas who gave me insight to the Tibetan plight or members of the community I have engaged with in different ways. As well, I attended the first of their meetings but was shortly relocated to New Orleans, so I am thrilled to back connected with TCIA and be working together on important initiatives to assist the Tibetan community and preserve Tibetan culture.

Just a little history for you:

Professor Sidney Burris and Ven Geshe Thupten Dorjee are two professors I was blessed to have during my BSW degree at University of Arkansas. The two of them are amazing professors and I took classes on Nonviolence, Tibetan Buddhist Culture, and was involved with the first TEXT: Tibetans in Exile Today project (an oral history project). My first trip to India was with the TEXT project led by Geshe Dorjee and Dr. Burris.

Many of you were a part of the initial Pennies for Partnerships project where you donated jars full of pennies, and aluminum cans for recycling in order to help generate funds for one of the very important initiatives of TCIA called Tutors for Tibetans (originally titled Tibetan Children’s Heritage Fund). The first ever PfP fund raiser generated the initial support to start a pilot program which has now been in effect since 2008 and serves children in the Tibetan settlement of Mundgod. It is a tutoring project that is now expanding to another location within the same area. It is the hope of Professor Burris and Geshe Dorjee that some day the tutoring program will be made available to all children in the settlements.

In addition, Professor Burris and Geshe Dorjee were instrumental in bringing the Dalai Lama to the University of Arkansas in May 2011. TCIA offered a great deal of support and involvement for this incredible event. It is with much appreciation and gratitude to have such an amazing group of people support the continued efforts of Pennies for Partnerships. Here is the website address where you can find out more about the TCIA.

Also I would like to explain how this opportunity works. With the official nonprofit status all donations can be made online and will be tax deductible. As the two of us are pushing forward to make this happen there will be development of links on each of our websites, for now though if you or anyone you know is interested in making a contribution to the Pennies for Partnerships project please just go to the donations link and make your donation but YOU MUST DESIGNATE IN THE COMMENT BOX the donation is for the “Pennies for Partnerships” (PfP) farmers project or use my name or the word “RICE”!

As the details are furthered I will post again in the future.

As of now I have been in contact with the Organic Farmers Research and Training Division and they have explained there have been many complications for the farmers this year and they are very grateful for the support to the organic farmers. A schedule is in place for October to make the largest supportive purchase yet for the organic rice which will be distributed to the local Indian Villages where hunger is an issue. Also development for an organic market in
the Tibetan settlement is being discussed and how PfP can assist with this economic development plan for the Tibetan Organic Farmers.

Please if you are interested in supporting the growth of the Pennies for Partnerships project in support of the organic farming initiative you can go directly to the TCIA donate page and make your contribution for PfP (please note in comment box). Also you can give to this initiative by sharing this information with others. An additional way you can show support is, if you know of any groups or organizations interested in a service project I am happy to provide details and information of how to get involved. I can be reached at

Thank you to TCIA for taking PfP under their philanthropic initiatives and thank you to you all for your years of continued support.

Kind regrads,



Gearing Up for Harvest

Hello and Tashi Delek.

Time to think Rice…but first a quick update of what has been occupying my last several months.

I first would like to apologize for the long absence in not updating you all. Since I have been in the north the project of rice delivery has taken a break while I give in other ways to the Tibetan community with the use of my social work skills. I have been blessed with the opportunity to do volunteer work with Tibetan Women’s Association which is an amazing women’s run NGO. The types of things I have been able to do with them is report writing/editing, grant writing, and most exciting is attending different training and workshops.

Two workshops that were very informative and exciting were first the Dukar Project (pilot training) which is an organization I am happy to now have affiliation with. The project is under the umbrella of The International Center for Mental Health and Human Rights based out of Austin Texas. Gaea Logan is the director of the program and is offering a training program for mental health workers in the Tibetan community. This is a very exciting program and I look forward to the further develop and involvement. I provided the organization with a pretest/posttest evaluation to measure the best practices of effectiveness which showed positive results of the initial training for increasing confidence levels of mental health workers to provide mindfulness counseling. I am blessed to have met Gaea through TWA since the results of my research in 2009 furthered my awareness of depression and anxiety concern in the community. It is wonderful to see the development of a program to address this area. Take a look at their website and note the Dukar Project.

Also I had the opportunity to attend a Human Rights workshop offered by Human Rights Law Network. This was a collaborative effort of HRLN, an Indian based Human Rights organization, and the four leading Tibetan NGOs. The workshop focused on informing the Tibetan attendees of the Indian Laws and the fundamental rights of Tibetans in India. This provided me with a new level of knowledge regarding the Tibetans living in India and their legal status under Indian Law. I was responsible for reporting on the weekend event which allowed me to further develop my skills with the use of applying an analytical perspective to reporting as well as providing a program evaluation.

NOW for the update on the Pennies for Partnerships Project with Organic Farmers.

I am awaiting what is referred to as a PAP (protected area permit). Many of the Tibetan settlements in India require a special permit to stay in the Tibetan community and it takes a minimum of 3 months for processing through the Indian government. I am anxiously awaiting the approval in order to return to the south to coordinate the next Rice purchase and delivery. At this time I am happy to announce this will be the LARGEST distribution and it follows the anticipated growth of doubling each delivery size thanks to the generosity of you the gift givers. Depending on the opportunity to secure the price it appears 100+ households will benefit from your gifts to Pennies for Partnerships.

At this time I have yet to establish the logistical costs for such a large distribution and it is difficult to do from afar. I will however be looking for a donor that might be interested in contributing to the logistics as to this point all donations are secured to address hunger. In the past these costs have been minimal at around 3% of the total amount of rice purchased. If you know of anyone that might be interested in donating to the operational/logistical costs please provide them my contact information. or or they can make a comment of this blog for me to contact directly.

With the current donations and the possibility of adding an additional 100 households we are looking at, to date, the Pennies for Partnerships rice project will accomplish an outreach to 214 households. This constitutes the following breakdown:

214 households to be served (once distribution is completed in September) 25 kg bags of rice each.
Which is 11,770 pounds of rice or 5.9 TONS of rice gifted to those in need by Pennies for Partnerships gift givers.

Of course we hope this number will be increased as we gear up again and hope you will share this news with others who may be interested in supporting the project. Also I apologize but the give now button on the left is not working so if interested in contributing please contact directly. I am in need of some web maintenance but the administrator is currently occupied with other projects so I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause but soon I hope to provide a direct link for an online gift giving option.

Additionally, I am awaiting (hopefully) good news from a potential partnership with an Arkansas based nonprofit organization who may take this project under their umbrella. If so this will be a wonderful opportunity to partner with an organization that also manages projects to assist Tibetans in the same settlement (Mundgod) and the mission to preserve the Tibetan Culture. More details to be provided hopefully soon on this development.

Once again I want to remind you all how very very appreciative I am of your support to the program and I promise soon you will see the results of your gifts in the distribution to those in need as well as to the Tibetan Organic Farmers.

Much respect and gratitude to you all.

Kind regards,


Please spread the word… Pennies for Partnerships mission includes economic development for poor organic farmers, address hunger and food insecurity, and outreach for community inclusion between oppressed populations.