TOGETHER, SHAPING A STRONGER DHARMA BY:
BUILDING COOPERATIVE ENTERPRISES
The success and growth of our Dharma relies on our ability to work together. This year several initiatives were started that address the need for collaboration and cooperation within each of our organizations; Legacy Non-Proits, Non- Profits, and our For-Profits.
One step to building cooperative enterprises is to take advantage of the eclectic knowledge and skill base of our community members. To do this the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation has created several commissions to focus on specific areas and needs. A commission is unique in that it can be populated by members from multiple organizations who have diverse backgrounds and experience. Calling on the expertise and skill sets of diversified individuals is one way the SSSC is working to develop a network of cooperative enterprises.
A second step is to engage communities and individuals in projects that support the greater growth of our Dharma. As we work towards the future we have to be cognizant of the people and projects developing in the present moment. Projects like building the Phoenix Gurudwara and the Espanola Seva Sadhana program are examples of initiatives that are shaping the Dharma by creating community spaces where people can participate, learn, and share as individuals and as a group. They bring passionate people together and promote service in the name of 3HO and Sikh Dharma.
A third is to select qualified people to sit on the Boards of our Organizations. The primary purpose a Board serves is to ensure that the work of the organization stays on track with the Mission. When selecting Board members, the SSSC looks at both the skills and experience of an individual as well as their relationship to the Dharma and the teachings of Siri Singh Sahib.
To Learn More About The Organizations and Their Current Board Members Click Here
Public Affairs Commission
Formation of the Office of Public Affairs
On March 16, 2016 the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation's Board of Trustees passed a resolution to form a commission dedicated to developing an Office of Public Affairs. The original proposal to develop an Office of Public Affairs was brought by Guruka Singh and Gurujot Kaur on behalf of all our Non- Profits. One of the first tasks the Commission completed was the vetting and selection of a Director. Shanti Kaur accepted the position of Executive Director of the Office of Public Affairs (OPA). Under Shanti Kaur's guidance the Office will be working towards its Mission to, "affirmatively influence public opinion and expand awareness about the legacy organizations of the Siri Singh Sahib. We accomplish this by building and maintaining a positive reputation for our organizations based on our shared values and building responsive relationships with the Sikh leadership, the yoga community, the media, and the general public."
Click to view the Commission Members.
Putting Our Best Foot Forward- By Shanti Kaur (Executive Director of OPA)
The Office of Public Affairs (OPA) was formed in August 2016. OPA is charged with building and expanding public awareness for our entire Sikh Dharma/3HO family of organizations including the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation, Sikh Dharma International, 3HO International, SikhNet, KRI, and other areas that represent the legacy of the Siri Singh Sahib ji.
The mission of public awareness was given a high priority by the Siri Singh Sahib in his lifetime. He knew that to be effective, we needed to be known for our service and trusted to be consistent and dependable. To achieve this, he established public relations and communication initiatives in all of his organizations, and for more than thirty years we relied on the effectiveness of his efforts. Since his passing, we have seen and felt the need to carry on this effort. For this reason, the Nonprofit CEOs requested that a public affairs office be formed and the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation acted on that advice.
Shanti Kaur Khalsa and Sada Sat Simran Singh Khalsa initiated the OPA in August in coordination with a Cabinet of CEOs from the legacy organizations. After establishing the office and securing funding, priorities were set for the remainder of 2016 which included coordinating with Sikh leadership in India for the Raj Khalsa Yatra, starting the process of connecting with the media, and addressing the most important public awareness issues world-wide. Things are busy but going well! We completed our first diplomatic tour in India with Sada Sat Simran Singh, Jugat Guru Singh, and Dr. Harjot Kaur taking the lead.
Sombrillo Property Commission
Planning for the Sombrillo Property Chaired by Sat Sundri Kaur
At a meeting of the Khalsa Council in April of 2016 a presentation was made by the Elder Care
Task Force exploring the possibility of developing senior housing in Espanola. The presentation outlined two important points. The first being, as a community, we have to prepare to meet the needs of our aging members. It was shown that with the right planning we can develop quality housing and provide the necessary professional services that will help transition community members into a new age of living while still connecting them to our greater Sangat. The second point was that the Sombrillo School Property, across from the Gurudwara, could provide the land needed to support this type of development. A Motion for Advisement was made to the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation requesting a feasibility study be conducted. The motion was reviewed by Siri Singh Sahib Corporation's Finance Committee who supported the idea and chose to further it by recommending a commission be formed to study the property in its entirety and develop a master plan. On April 6, 2016 the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation Board of Trustees passed a resolution to form the Sombrillo Property Commission. The Commission has a total of 5 members and is being coordinated by SatSundri Kaur.
Click to view Commission members.
Working from Within: a Look at the Sombrillo Property Commission - By SatSundri Kaur
The Sombrillo Property Development Commission consists of Jai Singh (Boston area - architect), Jai Pal Singh (Southern California - architect), Amrit Singh (Espanola - builder), Siri Vishnu Singh (Espanola - builder), and SatSundri Kaur (Espanola - Khalsa Council Elder Task Force). The 'Sombrillo Property' refers to a Santa Fe County parcel of land of approximately 30 acres located immediately south of the Espanola Ashram, separated from the Ashram property by East Sombrillo Lane. The property was purchased from the Espanola School District by Akal Security Inc. in 2014. Sitting upon about 5 acres is an elementary school structure which was closed due to a (temporary) soil condition created by a failed septic system, more than a decade ago.
The Commission is familiarizing itself with various land use and building codes for the county, constraints and perimeters, available utility sources, and opening dialogue with the County Planning and Development Department. Initial outreach has occurred with the Yogi Bhajan legacy non- profit CEOs to advise and welcome input for a first round of long-term visioning with professional facilitation. Concurrently, Akal Security is exploring use of a portion of the school for possible relocation of their international corporate offices.
The LYF Foundation (Legacy of Yogiji), property managers for many of the dharmic properties, has signed a lease with Akal for use of the large gymnasium on the property. Cleaning, clearing, and utility arrangements are underway so that it can be utilized by our community which for many decades and as recently as the early 2000s, leased it from the school district for courses and events. Because of the temporary soil condition from the failed septic system during decades of elementary school use, water sourcing directly from some of the wells is not permitted, which reflects one of the challenges of property use which is being studied for appropriate utility application.
It will take a number of years to work through planning and study, development of proposals, applications and permitting. After a discovery round of professional input on land use perimeters and permitting, the Commission will then plan for community dialogue and input as a plan for the future is shaped to meet the needs for present and future growth.
Chaired by Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur
The purpose of the Mission Commission is to collaboratively work with the CEO's of the Legacy Nonprofits to accomplish these goals:
The Mission Commission and the Non-Profit Granting Process- By Guruka Singh
Some of you are familiar with the non-profit granting process. In the past there was a committee called the CCC (Charitable Contributions Committee) which evaluated the various grant applications from the non-profits. Now there is a new committee and a new commission with wider purview than before.
The new committee, called the OIC (Organizational Interface Committee,) is charged with coordinating the SSSC's interactions with the non-profits in a mutual and cooperative manner and with managing the distribution of support funding from the for-profits to the non-profits.
The members of the OIC have asked for assistance from the CEOs of the non-profits, along with other parties who can contribute to the effectiveness of the granting process, to form a new commission which is harmoniously called the Mission Commission (MC.)
I've been working with the rest of the MC to put new processes in place to help the non-profits to be more aligned with each other and to establish a more mutual and transparent granting process. There's a great common interest in simplifying the granting process, but even more importantly, in coordinating our business plans and cooperating more fully to be more effective by aligning with each other and more efficient by reducing redundancy.
This new process is planned to be in place for the 2017 grant cycle and will be refined and improved upon as we move forward together.
Seva Sadhana Program
Directed by Abhai Raj Singh, Kirpal Singh, Jai Mohan Singh, Ram Krishan Singh
Welcome to Seva Sadhana! Our program provides structured opportunities for those who would like to come to Hacienda de Guru Ram Das (an ashram in Northern New Mexico, USA) to serve, to engage with our Sikh spiritual community, and strengthen their Kundalini Yoga practice.
We are responding to the increasing need for people to take a break from their everyday environment, and experience something deeper and more meaningful - to establish (or re-establish) healthy practices that lead to greater fulfillment.
A Note From the Founders
Our Seva Sadhana program has been underway about two months now and we are already (with very little promotion) getting good results. We've had visits from over a dozen sevadars - some for just a few days, some for several weeks. We've been able to greatly increase the amount of food we're growing in our Guru Amar Das Langar Garden and enhance our delivery of langar (including prep, serving, and cleanup) - to the point where we're planning to ask HGRD Board if we can go from two to three langars per week. Our sevadars have helped out with several other seva projects around the ashram - including the Espanola "Breathe" event, Guru Simran Kaur's involvement with "Food For Kids", and cleaning up the gymnasium in the abandoned school across from the ashram. We had several sevadars scheduled to come in November and December - when we mostly focused on langar and renovating a second trailer to be used as a sevadar dormitory.
Most importantly, the program seems to be serving our sevadars well. They come here and start going to sadhana and are part of their own micro-community. Many take part in Akhand Path (often for the irst time) and participate in other Sikh religious activities (none of which are required by the Seva Sadhana program). Gradually they interact more- and-more with established sangat members. I can see our sevadars grow stronger and more peaceful. Their presence seems to uplift our community. It's very gratifying to see.
"What uplifts and inspires me most about the program is the amount of response we've been getting from all over the world with very little advertising at all. We receive emails almost daily inquiring about the program, and steadily this Winter season's sevadar count is rising. Our major focus now is the second sevadar Nivas, with its completion our capacity to house sevadars rises from 6 to 25+. When this Nivas is complete we can begin offering specialized 3 week intensive programs for sevadars to come and have a bit more structured and guided stay - providing the structure for sevadars to dive deep into all that the Ashram, Kundalini Yoga, and Sikh Dharma has to offer."
-Ram Krishan Singh Program Director
To Donate Directly Click Here
Click to view the Seva Sadhana website.
Working with KIIT
KIIT Renewable Energy (KRE)
Last year KIIT met with the SSSC and proposed a new business venture in the Solar industry. The SSSC Board of Trustees thoroughly assessed the plan, which went through several stages of review including being reviewed by consultants who served as third party industry expert. On May 27, 2016 the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation passed a resolution approving the KRE business plan.
To learn more about the project and the progress being made by KRE please click the website link below.
KIIT Renewables Website
Hiring KIIT Executive Director
On July 6, 2016 Krishan Shiva Singh was hired as Executive Director of KIIT.
Krishan Shiva Singh joined KIIT in August 2016 after 16 fulfilling years with Akal Security where he learned about the security industry and business in general and leadership from the ground up. During his time at Akal he worked for many of our community leaders who were integral in the inception, growth and success of the company. His initial assignment was working directly for
Shanti Kaur followed by Gurutej Singh then Daya Singh and finally Dev Suroop Kaur with several executives from outside of the Sikh Community interspersed throughout. Every one of them was a valued mentor. With a focus on Operations for most of his time at Akal, Krishan Shiva was fortunate enough to be exposed to every element of the business and how they are all connected and supporting each other. As Chief of Staff for two CEOs, he gained the executive-level business experience necessary to contribute effectively to the purpose of KIIT in holding and guiding our for-profit businesses.
Prior to Akal, Krishan Shiva spent a short period of time working for a local maker of fine custom cutlery in Espanola, NM - DiGangi Designs owned by Joe DiGangi, a long-time friend of the community. This was a great experience for him to work with his hands and appreciate the fine details of quality workmanship.
Immediately after graduating from the school program in India in 1997 (just prior to MPA manifesting), Krishan Shiva was fortunate to have the much appreciated opportunity to learn computers and basic IT administration during two years of internship at Sun & Son, Inc. at the direction of the Siri Singh Sahib Ji. At the impressionable age of 17, this was a good grounding and discipline building experience that helped Krishan Shiva adjust from 12 years of regimented school life in India to a productive and healthy lifestyle in the US.
Krishan Shiva is a true son of this Dharma and the mission of the Siri Singh Sahib. Born to Ravi Har Singh and Ravi Har Kaur in Espanola in 1979, younger brother to Guru MIttar Singh (Denver), off to India at age 5, and an active community member ever since. The privilege to work for KIIT and help to guide the direction, growth and success of our for-profit business and ensure they create the most opportunities possible for our youth, the community as a whole and our non-profit missions is a real honor and major responsibility, and he is excited to take on the challenge.
Serving the Legacy Beyond the Organization
Award for Social Justice Recipient Valarie Kaur
The Siri Singh Sahib Corporation along with 3HO and East West Tea Company was honored to cohost Valarie Kaur as the guest speaker of this year's International Peace Prayer Day. Valarie Kaur was presented with an award for social justice.
Valarie Kaur, who visited with her husband and son, is known for her work as a storyteller and activist. Her work promotes interfaith connection by giving a voice to the unheard and a face to the unseen. A irst generation Punjabi American, Valarie Kaur, grew up the daughter of farmers in Clovis, California. She completed her undergraduate degree at Standford University and later went on to earn degrees at Harvard Divinity School and Yale Law School. The honors bestowed on Valarie Kaur for her work as a ilmmaker, public speaker, and social justice activist are numerous and make her an attractive igure to know and hear speak. What was truly captivating about Valarie Kaur was her grounded, energetic, humble, gracious, and inspired personality. She spoke with a rhythmic cadence that relected the relevance of today's events. Her message was simple and relected in each personal account and story she shared. We must be people of peace. Since her visit Valarie Kaur, who currently lives in Los Angeles, California has been participating in Gurdwara's at Guru Ramdas Ashram.
The Siri Singh Sahib Corporation looks forward to building a relationship with Valarie Kaur and her many outreach programs. We feel that fostering relationships such as this one helps further our organization's mission to extend the life and legacy of the Siri Singh Sahib by extending the presence of the Dharma into the world.
For more information on her life and work please visit her website: http://valariekaur.com/
SSSC Official Representative to the European Yoga Festival
For the past couple of years SSSC Board members have attended international events such as the European Yoga Festival. This year, the SSSC Representative Position was initiated to help build bridges of information sharing, trust, and support between the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation and our global Sangat.
The purpose of the Representative is to generate goodwill by cultivating and maintaining relationships with our international Dharmic Sangats, Teachers, and Community Leaders. In addition to learning about the Yoga Festival event, the Representative is also meant to engage with leaders of the community to learn about the day-to-day occurrences of their communities, challenges they might be facing, and ways that they can be supported.
The Representative helps put a face to Siri Singh Sahib Corporation and demonstrates the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation's interest in practicing cooperative leadership. By establishing two way communication the position ultimately stands to serve the SSSC by assisting the Board in making decisions that are inclusive of and aligned with serving the needs of our domestic and global Sangats and Communities.
This year we will be holding elections for Siri Singh Sahib Corporation Board seats. Further details on member terms, candidate statements, and important election dates will be sent out in a separate publication.
Siri Singh Sahib Corporation Board Member Attendance- September 2015 - September 2016