2024 BZC Sit-a-thon

May 8, 2024

This year marks the return of BZC’s annual Sit-a-thon! This fundraiser—a pre-pandemic staple of our sangha—is an opportunity for us all to contribute to the financial health of our temples. In the past, it has brought out a strong collective empowerment in our community and shown us what is possible when we come together in service of the dharma.

We aim to raise $40,000 for this campaign, all of which will go toward BZC’s offerings. With four stipended teachers, a staff, and three locations, we need this fundraiser to balance our budget. If 80 members can each raise $500, we can reach our goal!

The Sit-a-thon will take place on Saturday, June 22 from 10 am to 5 pm at both Boundless Mind Temple in Brooklyn and the Millerton Zendo. Both spaces will be open to anyone who participates in fundraising. A pizza lunch will be served from 12-1:30, followed by a celebratory reception at 5pm. 

Please register (no charge) for the Boundless Mind Temple Sit-a-thon here or for the Millerton Zendo Sit-a-thon here.

Sit-a-thon FAQs

How do I become a Sitter/Fundraiser? 

You can create a fundraising page through this link. Simply click on “Become a Fundraiser” and follow the prompts. (If you can’t make the Sit-a-thon but are moved to fundraise, please do.) You can start fundraising as soon as you make a page.

How do I sponsor a Sitter? 

Find a Sit-a-thoner you want to support by browsing the profiles on our fundraising platform

How do I sponsor the campaign as a whole?

If you would like to donate to the Sit-a-thon campaign as a whole, instead of to one sitter, you can do so by clicking “Donate Directly” at this link.

Why is Brooklyn Zen Center holding a Sit-a-thon?
Like all faith communities and non-profits, BZC must navigate the practical concerns of finances and money. Registration fees from classes, retreats, and overnight stays covered only 25% of our expenses in 2023, which include staff salaries, teacher stipends, and the costs of operating Boundless Mind, Ancestral Heart, and the Millerton Zendo. 

Our annual Sit-a-thon is an opportunity for the full community to join in on fundraising and feel the sangha-wide vitality that can emerge from this effort. We paused this annual tradition during the pandemic, then saw how crucial it was in meeting the needs of our growing community this year. Without an annual community-wide fundraiser like this, we would have to restructure our budget in a fundamental way.

To give one example: so far in 2024 we’ve offered over $5,000 in class and retreat scholarships, almost all to BIPOC practitioners (at this rate, that means $20,000 for the year, which doesn’t fully account for the cost of the programs themselves). Funds from the Sit-a-thon will go directly toward our scholarship fund and making our programs equitable and accessible.

I’ve never done anything like this before. Fundraising feels kind of icky for me. Any advice?
Money—and asking for money—can be such a sensitive topic. We hope you will treat this opportunity as an area of practice: a way to investigate your relationship not only to money, but to communicating to family and friends why we are doing what we are doing at BZC. What are the immaterial values that we are funding here at Brooklyn Zen Center? What does BZC offer you that you don’t find elsewhere?

Part of training at every Zen temple in Japan includes takuhatsu, or alms rounds: monks go into the world chanting and requesting donations, sometimes twice a week. It’s one way to embody non-separation between the worldly and spiritual and to wholeheartedly support one’s practice home. In a way, this Sit-a-thon is a rendition of that practice.

This day is not intended to be a fundraising competition. We hope people are successful in whatever efforts they undertake, and we are grateful for every dollar from every person.

For some guidance on fundraising, consult this slideshow we’ve put together. 

Is there a minimum amount of money I have to raise to sit?
Nope. We are grateful for any amount you are able to raise. You can ask your friends and family to support your practice and a place you love, or you can be the sole donor to your page. 

That said, we encourage Sitters to move toward the edge with this practice, to see how it feels to go beyond what is standard or comfortable for you. Let’s do this with the XinXin Ming in mind: “The smallest is the same as the largest in the realm where delusion is cut off.”

Do I have to sit for the whole day?
No, the day will have an open, fluid structure for you to come sit and celebrate as fits your schedule. Whether you stay for an hour or stay for the day, we’re grateful for your participation and happy we can sit together. If you are a fundraiser and plan to sit, please register for the Sit-a-thon event (no charge) here (for Boundless Mind Temple) or here (for Millerton Zendo).

What is the schedule?
The Sit-a-thon will begin with a bell and incense at 10 am and end with a bell at 5 pm. We will have snacks throughout the day and a pizza lunch from 12-1:30. The community will be sitting and holding the space together. For some of us that means being in the zendo all day. For others of us, that means joining for a short time. You are welcome to sit for as long as you wish. Whenever you sit, we hope you’ll be able to join us for a celebratory reception at 5 pm!

Can I bring a family member?
Yes! If you plan to bring a family member, please register them here (for Boundless Mind Temple) or here (for Millerton Zendo).

I want to sit, but I don’t want to fundraise. Can I still participate?
We ask that everyone who joins us on June 22 set up a fundraising page. Even if you only raise $1, we are encouraging 100% participation from the sangha to show that we each hold responsibility for BZC’s financial sustainability. Having various fundraising pages helps to boost the energy of our Sit-a-thon and shows us the impact of our community as a whole.

I can’t sit on June 22. Can I still fund raise?
Yes, you can join us in spirit by fundraising and sitting wherever you are!

Please reach out to BZC’s Development and Membership Manager, Bianca Ozeri here.