You can apply for a scholarship by filling out the application form. As part of the application form, you will need to provide a budget for your requested funds by answering questions in the application. Also, letters of support from a teacher and/or retreat center make applications more competitive. These documents can be attached on the final step of the application form.
Donations, which are tax deductible, can be made here.
The Open Dharma Foundation (ODF) is a 501c3 that exists to provide scholarships to silent meditation retreats. It’s inspired by people who think meditation retreats are beneficial if not downright transformative. The reason ODF wants to give scholarships for silent meditation retreats is so that more people have access to experiencing retreat, especially those who without financial support would not be able to attend.
We fund retreats that are largely devoted to silent meditation practice. We gladly fund retreats with a bit of non-silence, such as chanting, group meetings, etc. We don’t fund retreats primarily devoted to something other than silent meditation, such as scholarly retreats, movement practice, and so on. Retreats in any lineage or tradition can be applied for.
Scholarships can be applied for once per year. In rare cases exceptions can be made. If you feel that this may apply to you, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone in financial need hoping to attend a silent meditation retreat may apply. Some things that make applicants more competitive are demonstrated financial need, a willingness to contribute some personal finances (if available), a history of dedicated and consistent meditation practice, support from sources outside of ODF such as the retreat center or teacher support, and thoughtful, compelling answers to the open questions at the end of the application.
Scholarship applications under $300 are received on a rolling basis and have no deadline to apply. All applications for scholarships over $300 are reviewed on a quarterly basis.
Absolutely. If travel, food, or lodging costs would inhibit your ability to attend a retreat, you may include those costs as part of your scholarship application. For example, a scholarship could cover plane or rail tickets, or even a hotel 1 night prior to the retreat if necessary. You can also include $65 total per full day of retreat in teacher dana. A full day is one where both you and the teacher woke up and went to sleep at the retreat. Make sure to define those costs clearly in the budget you submit. (See sample budget.) In some cases, we may ask you to revise your budget, or we may not be able to fund your full requested amount. We do ask that you be as frugal as possible when choosing retreats and travel options. Scholarships cannot be used to cover costs for lost wages, child care, or pet care.
Each application is scored by a rubric, and the highest scoring applicants are recommended as scholarship recipients to the Executive Committee. For each deadline, previous scholarship winners are invited to grade the applications, which adds diversity to the grading process for any of the subjective aspects of the rubric. We believe it’s a good idea for people who have needed the scholarship fund in the past to take part in the decision making process for future scholarship recipients.
You can see our policies and procedures document here.