Here’s the content of the email that was sent to all ASHY teachers on March 5, 2016 regarding ASHY’s transition to non-profit status. The original email can be viewed here.
March 4, 2016
Dear Anusara School of Hatha Yoga Teachers;
On February 17-18th, an ASHY Leadership Summit was held to map out the future for our school. Armed with as much input as possible gathered from our stakeholders and teachers, some big decisions were made. We’ll start with the headlines, but please read on for the full summary. There’s a lot of news to review – and we’ll post all of this information on the Anusara website too. We hope that you share our enthusiasm and excitement about the following highlights from the summit, primarily that:
The Anusara School of Hatha Yoga is transitioning
to a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization!
We began this transformation by working from the foundation up and crafted a new vision and mission statement:
The Vision: The Anusara School of Hatha Yoga’s vision is to foster a unified community that inspires and supports all practitioners of Anusara yoga from local to global.
Our Mission: The Anusara School of Hatha Yoga’s mission is to provide the structure that promotes and sustains the growth of Anusara yoga’s philosophy and methodology.
Then we used this foundation to contemplate and clarify the principles that will guide ASHY in fulfilling its vision and mission, our core values:
ASHY’s Core Values:
- Recognition of the sacred in the heart of all beings
- Spirit of innovation
- Unity within diversity
- Excellence defined by high standards, professionalism and a desire to learn
- Mutual respect and responsibility
- Integrity characterized by fairness, honesty and transparency
Then we began to put the vision, mission, and core values into practice by listing the services and benefits we offer, or will be offering soon to the Anusara yoga community. More details will follow soon as we transform into the new structure.
Overview of ASHY’s Current Services/Benefits
- Curriculum for all practitioners
- Access to internationally-recognized philosophers and scholars as well as Subject Matter Specialists (SMS)
- Philosophical teachings leading to greater personal understanding
- Alignment-based asana practice led by skilled teachers
- Knowledge of biomechanics (i.e. applied anatomy)
- World-wide opportunities to practice Anusara yoga
- Continuum of professional development for teachers
- Local and international teacher support
- Maintains online directory of teachers & Anusara events at anusarayoga.com
- Connects practitioners and teachers via a growing social media network
- Inspiration (i.e. blog, poetry, media, images)
You’ll find many more details about the Leadership Summit and the organization’s plan for the transition below. We expect to have non-profit status by January, 2017. If you would find it helpful, any of us who participated in this leadership summit would be happy to speak with you by phone to provide more information on the decisions made at the summit and the process that led to them. Email us to request a phone appointment. We are striving for transparency, regular communication and clear leadership as we move from where we have been to where we are headed. Kim Friedman speaks Spanish and French if there is someone who would find it easier to have a conversation in one of those languages.
Please be on the look-out for a short survey. Our core value of collaboration means we need your feedback to inform our next steps.
We look forward to going on this journey with you!
NOW FOR THE DETAILS…
On February 17-18, Kim Friedman, licensed Anusara teacher and organizational change consultant,served as facilitator, resource and guide for our two-day leadership summit in Phoenix, Arizona. Our theme and focus was “transition and transformation” for ASHY. We spent two thought-provoking, uplifting and very productive days of focused conversation, hard work and dedication to ASHY’s growth and sustainability. The attendees were First Principle, Inc. shareholders Doc Savage, Jane Norton and Jackie Prete, Committee Team Leaders Tiffany Wood and Karen Sprute-Francovich, and Administrative Team member Deb Payne. (For more information about Kim, visit her website at www.westriverconsulting.net.) First Principle, Inc. is the corporation that holds ownership of the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga (ASHY). While First Principle, Inc., shareholder Benita Galvan was unable to attend the summit, she fully participated via phone calls and Skypes with Kim and Deb and the other shareholders. She, too, is very excited about ASHY’s direction. Our most exciting and significant news is that ASHY will be transitioning to a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization. Read on!
The summit grew out of the ASHY Administrative Team’s increasing awareness that ASHY’s growth has increased beyond our organizational capacity. While ultimately a positive sign of the strength and vibrancy of the Anusara kula, this phase in our development is resulting in burn-out, inefficiencies and lack of clarity concerning organizational leadership, strategic direction and policies. Kim came into our sights following Samavesha 2015 and remains committed to helping us through this historic transition. We are already well on our way to establishing and embedding the policies, processes, structures and systems that will catapult us all into a new and exciting phase of ASHY’s development.
We will follow up shortly in more detail as soon as Kim has completed the first draft of a Power Point presentation, which will be used for marketing, outreach, leadership development, and strategic planning purposes. The Power Point will also serve as the minutes from the summit. In the meantime, we wanted to fill you as soon as possible on key decisions and next steps agreed to during and immediately following the summit. Before making any decisions, we carefully considered your input, which had been gathered through phone calls and emails prior to the summit and survey responses from 200 kula members (mostly teachers); Kim’s professional recommendations; and lessons learned from the past.
Our first task was to work with the current and proposed vision and mission statements in order to create more concise, succinct statements which then could be reinforced by ASHY’s core values. Careful consideration was given to how words might translate into other languages. From there, we identified the services/benefits that ASHY provides to the community we serve. We then used ASHY’s services/benefits to identify current staffing responsibilities and future staffing needs. That discussion naturally flowed into a discussion of ASHY’s 2016 budget. We ended the summit with a discussion of next steps focused on enhancing communication internally among Board, staff and volunteers and externally from the Board and staff to the broader ASHY community, including but not limited to teachers. The Transitional Organizational Structure graphic will be posted in the Teachers’ Lounge with the content of this email soon.
Long-Term Organizational Structure
Following discussions that took place at the summit, the First Principle, Inc., shareholders decided to establish a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, non-profit organization, transfer the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga to the non-profit and then close First Principle, Inc. The Steering Committee will soon begin the process of preparing the necessary applications and accompanying paperwork, with the goal of being recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization by January 1, 2017. We are very excited about the many possibilities this opens up for ASHY.
Defining and Solidifying ASHY’s Organizational Culture
Summit participants identified the following tools to instill ASHY’s vision statement, mission statement and core values throughout the organization:
- Tool for guiding decision-making by consensus (which was introduced and used successfully at the summit)
- Operating agreements for the Steering Committee and all ASHY teams (including the Operations Team)
- ASHY Policy and procedures handbook
- ASHY business plan
- Job descriptions for Steering Committee members, staff, volunteers and Regional Representatives
- By-laws (required for non-profit organizations)
Additional tools will be created as the need arises.
- Action Plan: All action steps related to decisions made at the summit will soon be captured in an Action Plan. Deb Payne generously agreed to be the new Operations Team Coordinator, at least through this transition. In this capacity, she will continue to work closely with Kim Friedman to ensure that the work needed to implement the changes foreseen in this letter is completed in a timely and integrated way.
- Presentation to the Board: This Action Plan includes a formal presentation in April by the Operations Team (formerly the Administrative Team) to the Steering Committee (formerly the Board of Directors). In the meantime, Doc Savage (Operations Team liaison to the Steering Committee) will bring relevant policy or financial matters to the Steering Committee for consideration and input. Steering Committee members are also encouraged to notify Deb Payne of any items they would like placed on the agenda of upcoming Steering Committee meetings.