Speech by Fo-Ching Lu, President of Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation
Houston, TX – The Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation is grateful for the Houston temple’s strong support and generosity. I recall that when the Foundation was newly formed, this temple was the first to jump forward with a major contribution. Not only that, but the temple continues to send monthly contributions. I am encouraged by all of you here and from the bottom of my heart, please accept my most sincere appreciation.
Coming from a career in the for-profit business sector, nonprofit work is different, though I would argue that there are more similarities than differences. One major difference is that as a public charity, our success largely depends on the support of kind individuals, giving their hard earned money without anything in return. But people, like all of you here today, are incredibly generous. Every year, Americans give a stunning $260 billion dollars to about 1.4 million different nonprofits in the country. Just for comparison, NASA’s entire budget for 2009 is about $17 billion. The nonprofit sector is clearly a vibrant part of the economy and we play a unique and vital role in working to help the disadvantaged population.
One similarity I want to touch on is between nonprofit work and the practice of Buddhism, because the outcomes or rewards are not measured by material things. A nonprofit organization’s outcomes are not judged by the rise and fall of stock prices, but judged by how many lives we save or how many people we help. As with Buddhism, benefits are often unseen, but as True Buddha School disciples, we know that the real rewards though intangible, are beyond valuable.
In this economic downturn when many nonprofits are closing their doors and suspending programs and grants, I challenge us all to step forward for it is precisely when times are tough that people need help most.
Thank you very much!