For more than forty years, Feathered Pipe Foundation, a small non-profit organization with a big heart, has been committed to bringing awareness to our greater society of under-served communities that deserve and need our support. These ‘good works’ as we like to call them, not only have the objective of raising much needed financial assistance, but more importantly turn the spotlight towards valued members of our human family that have rich cultural treasures and life experiences to share with us.
Past and present good work projects have focused our humanitarian efforts towards Native American communities, Tibetan refugee children and their families, Montanans living with HIV+/AIDS, and our returning veteran community. Please take a few minutes to read our most recent update and heartfelt appeal. Your support makes a huge difference!
I remember assuming, before I joined the Feathered Pipe board in 2011, what a quiet and slow time it must be for everyone in the off-season. I had a naïve notion that while the Ranch was blanketed in snow, gathering its mojo ahead of bursting open with new life ahead of the summer season, there was an extended lull. A stretch of pleasant down time for the staff and board.
I did not appreciate, then, that while the Ranch is hibernating in the deep freeze of a Montana winter, that autumn, winter, and spring were anything but un-busy for the team that makes each summer’s magic possible.
Reviewing all the previous season’s feedback and prioritizing action items, the epic cat-herding that has to happen to weave the complex tapestry of the following season’s program lineup, winterizing the Ranch, fundraising letters and calls, white-knuckling through winter cashflow challenges, budget reviews, strategic financial planning, tedious website improvements and bug fixes, social media navigation and tending, taxes and insurance paperwork, retreat writeups, and and and. Those are only the visible tip of the deep, off-season busy-ness iceberg.
The truth is that there have been a few moments over the past eight years when I’ve pined for the days that I was ‘only’ a guest at the Ranch each summer. When there was no need for a passing thought to the many moving and overlapping parts of the behind-the-scenes machinery that has to revolve in nonstop, continuous synchrony. All this happens with a small group of core staff, shored up and supported by a dedicated and essential cadre of volunteer helpers. None of these folks are “incentivized” by the conventional motivations that the brochures tell us keeps people persuaded to continue, like some big financial payday or a burst of ego-reinforcing public acclaim.
Their satisfaction derives, instead, from seeing their work offer good-intentioned souls opportunity to experience an inner transformation that makes the world better.
The truth is this. In my limited life experience, there aren’t a lot of areas in life where the cosmic tumblers fall into place for the sake of such a noble purpose. Where an eclectic group of people from heterogeneous age groups, backgrounds, life experience, and geography — all motivated by doing what’s healthy for humanity — bust their butts year-round for the sake of raising our collective capacity for goodness.
As I write this, everyone’s tending to the finishing touches on our upcoming 2019 season. And we’re also planning ahead to the celebration of our 45th anniversary in 2020. As word spreads among our teachers, guest alumni, and the small cadre of enthusiastic (and vital!) volunteer helpers that we are moving toward that milestone, we are awed by the ongoing support for what we’re up to. We love the stream of creative ideas everyone’s sharing about how we might honor and celebrate it.
One of my teachers says that if we want to see the evidence of love, we have to be the evidence of love. And in the sometimes barely-contained frenzy of off-season scrambling to do what’s needed to ensure that Feathered Pipe is here for years, and hopefully generations, to come, I see ample evidence of love in the busy-ness.
As we move through arduous times, inundated with news about fierce inhumanity and dizzying tribalism, the very fact that there is a Feathered Pipe is legitimate reason for optimism. On behalf of everyone working behind the scenes, please accept our thanks for giving us opportunities every (crazy!) winter to witness the refresh of the miracle that is Feathered Pipe.
We are grateful for the busy-ness that your love gives to our world.
With deep affection and love,
President, Feathered Pipe Foundation
P.S. If you prefer to send a check or money order, please make it out (with desired program you wish the donation to go towards noted) to: Feathered Pipe Foundation and send to P.O. Box 1682, Helena MT 59624.
You can also help the Feathered Pipe by designating Feathered Pipe Foundation as the recipient of automatic Amazon donations when you shop through Smile.Amazon.com or purchase items at over 3,000 online stores through Giving Assistant. Finally, we maintain a WishList on Amazon for those who like to help the Feathered Pipe by purchasing supplies we need for the Ranch.