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Campaign Updates

Groundbreaking for Green Gulch Passive House. Photo by Judith Keenan

Campaign Updates

Widening  the  Circle
a  vision  of  interconnectedness  and  possibility

Public Phase Summary: August 10, 2012
(Download PDF)

Update 3: October  22, 2010
(Download PDF)

Update 2: February 15, 2010
(Download PDF)

Update 1: October 21, 2009
(Download PDF)


White Papers

a  quiet,  yet  powerful  force  is  a  zen   master  arriving  at  the  airport

The First in a Series of White Papers on the Future of the San Francisco Zen Center
By Robert Thomas, San Francisco Zen Center President, November 20, 2009
(Download PDF)

the  zen  practice of balancing  the  books

The Big Picture on San Francisco Zen Center’s Long-Term Financial Sustainability
By Robert Thomas, San Francisco Zen Center President, June 2, 2010
(Download PDF)

Campaign Projects

View a list of all Widening the Circle Campaign Projects.

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Share Your Questions

Share Your Questions

As we build this website we try to address the most common questions we are asked about the Capital Campaign.¬†I’m sure we’ve missed many possible questions, though.

So to help future readers, please ask any questions you might have that we haven’t yet answered.

Leave any comment or question you might have below or email us at¬†and I’ll write back to you with the answer and incorporate the new information into the website.

Thank you for your interest and engagement in helping to make this communication space work for you and for all of our sangha.

with bows,


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Completed Campaign Project: Green Gulch Farm Infrastructure

Completed Campaign Project: Green Gulch Farm

The long-term restoration plan for Green Gulch calls for developing structures that reflect Zen Buddhist values and integrate Zen Center’s presence harmoniously with the local ecosystem.

Tending the fields at Green Gulch Farm

Tending the fields at Green Gulch Farm

The central organizing concept of the long-term restoration plan is a commitment to restoring Green Gulch Creek to pre-1900s conditions as fully as is practical and to providing healthy habitat for humans and other forms of life in the Green Gulch ecosystem.

The Green Gulch Farm plan identified significant infrastructure needs that are being funded by Zen Center’s Widening the Circle campaign. These include:

  • Repairs to the Guest House and Wheelwright Center roofs
  • Renovation of Hope Cottage
  • Repairs to the main access road
  • Accessibility improvements in central pathways and landscaping
  • Zendo Pond dredging
  • Improvements to the septic systems
  • New signage
  • Improvements to the teahouse and teahouse garden
We have reached our fundraising goal for this project! Thank you for your interest and support.

Zen Mind Virtual Practice Center

Zen Mind Virtual Practice Center

Zen Center has had three Practice Centers since the 1970s. We are now adding a fourth practice center that you can enter any time, anywhere in the world, online.

Zendo at Green Gulch Farm

Zendo at Green Gulch Farm

With an ever expanding, international sangha, we are providing a virtual practice center to serve the needs of practitioners who, for whatever reason, cannot come to the three physical practice centers.

There will also be new resources for all members of the sangha, near and far.

High quality online offerings require financial support as much as the purchase of land or a building does. Web design, photo archives and streaming dharma talks are critical resources and offerings that need your support.

The budget for this project is $400,000 and the community has already raised $307,000 toward this goal. Please help us raise the additional $93,000.

Make a Gift to this Project

A Quiet yet Powerful Force

a true story: a quiet, yet powerful force for good

The unlikely story of the arrival of a Japanese priest and the eventual flowering of a major cultural institution we call the San Francisco Zen Center is important to tell because it is a true story. It is a real-life story with real people. It is an inspiring story of dignity, love, patience, beauty, humility, perseverance, integrity, and personal vow. It is also a story that continues to evolve, unfolding in new ways in each moment.

We look around today and see the word ‚ÄúZen‚ÄĚ showing up across our consumer-driven culture in many ways that have little or nothing to do with anything approximating Buddhist practice. But this hardly diminishes the fact that in the five decades since the founding of the San Francisco Zen Center many of the practices, principles, and tenets of Buddhism are now commonplace, woven into the fabric of contemporary mainstream culture. Fostered by the spread of Zen Center teachers and those of other Buddhist schools and lineages, the practice of meditation and mindfulness now informs the lives of doctors, therapists, management consultants, students, athletes, coaches, songwriters, teachers, parents, and countless others.

I recently heard a story about a woman with terminal cancer who recently came to Green Gulch Farm. Her son brought her there for a two-day stay, and though she was not a Buddhist practitioner, she immediately declared, “I totally get the zazen thing.” She then settled into a very peaceful place, resting among the large trees and the coastal air, with the support of the practicing community, while the events of her life and a picture of the end of her life gradually came into clear focus. She left Green Gulch ready to face the remaining days of her life in a way that she would not have been able to without that experience. She died two months later as, according to her son, a calm and composed, “flag-waving Buddhist!” This is only one of countless stories that could be told of people who have come to Zen Center and Buddhist practice and somehow have found their lives changed forever.
Continue reading…


The Capital Campaign is supported by a diverse group of students, teachers, lay practitioners, board members and alumni.

You can contact anyone on the Campaign team by emailing them at and you can reach Anne-Marie Rosché at 415-268-0296.

Work circle at Beginners Mind Temple

Work circle at Beginners Mind Temple

Our effort is led by Zesho Susan O’Connell, the Vice President in charge of Development.

The Capital Campaign Leadership team is:

  • Steve Stucky, Central Abbot
  • Linda Ruth Cutts, Green Gulch Abbess
  • Mary Morgan, Board Chair
  • Ed Sattizahn, Former Board Chair and chair of Board’s Finance Committee
  • Robert Thomas, President

and our staff is:

Anne-Marie Rosché, Manager of Leadership Giving, 415-268-0296,

Barbara Machtinger, Development Researcher,

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Completed Campaign Project: City Center Master Plan

Completed Campaign Project: City Center Master Plan

In line with Zen Center’s goal of “widening the circle” of practice, Zen Center’s leaders envision City Center as a more visible and welcoming hub for contemporary Zen practice and community life.¬†

Many generations have practiced and played in City Center’s Buddha Hall.

A 2010 Vision Task Force identified a shared desire to make public spaces more welcoming and functional for visiting practitioners, while maintaining a safe, supportive environment for residents.

Like the plans completed in recent years at Green Gulch and Tassajara, City Center will develop a comprehensive facilities plan for the campus to continue core residential training programs while offering broader programs for the lay community.

The planning process will include a site analysis and planning, design options, experiential storyboards, and facilitated discussions, resulting in a practical plan for appropriate modifications. Working from the long-term plan will ensure that we balance immediate needs with future priorities.

Read more about this project (PDF)

Update August 19: Thanks to the generosity of a donor who heard and responded our request for this project during the 50th anniversary celebration weekend, we have completed fundraising for this project.

If you are interested in City Center, please consider giving to the City Center Facility Improvements.