It is December and the year, 2015, is rushing on to its final hours. It is that time of year when we tend to take stock of what has and has not been accomplished over the past year. It is also the holiday season. Personally, these times come with a mix of feelings, some a reflection of the seasonal joy
and some emanating from a natural pensiveness that comes with the passing of another year and a thoughtful consideration about the state of the world. The report that I have to share with you for The Men’s Council is, In fact, quite positive and bodes well for our future.
The year 2015 has been a productive year for TMC. Here are some highlights.
- The April TMC Gathering was its 20th anniversary, which we celebrated with t-shirts commemorating the occasion. Sixty-six men participated in a weekend of conversation, fellowship, ritual and workshops that, based on our evaluations, completely fulfilled most people’s expectations.
- David Davenport and John Hall continue to organize monthly TMC meetings in Raleigh with topics of wide ranging interest and worth checking out if you have not already attended one of them. Keep a look out for announcements on the TMC website calendar of events.
- In the early spring TMC released a promotional video. Using testimony from many TMC members it provides a satisfying snapshot of the deep emotional and spiritual paths that the brotherhood of TMC tread together. It is a product of the hard work of two people in particular: Chris Baucom and Jim Neill. Together these two men contributed an immense number of hours video taping interviews, editing and producing this video. Entitled In the Safety of Men, you may view it by going to the TMC website: www.themenscouncil.org.
- Another major accomplishment for 2015 was the complete restructuring of the TMC website using a WordPress theme. Again, we must thank Chris Baucom and Jim Neill for their tireless efforts and contributions, both of time and financial resources, to make this version a reality. In addition to striking improvements in our public image, it provides us with the capability to do things we could not easily accomplish before such as creating an interactive blog, providing a repository for poems and other creative writing products, and the capability to manage the Gathering registrations online. Again, the URL is www.themenscouncil.org. Be sure to give a great big “shout out” to Chris and Jim for creating a public “face” that they, and we all, can be proud of.
- In keeping with our outreach goals our organization also has an active presence on Facebook (The Men’s Council) for posting events and articles that further our work. We are also beginning to use Twitter to add to our media presence. Both are worth your review and sharing.
- The October Fall Feast at Solara in Durham was a special event this year. Gregory Blaine, a long time member of TMC and its predecessors, was honored in a very special evening of poetry, testimonials and song. As many of you know Gregory is struggling with the physical effects of cancer and it was a delight to see him feeling well enough to play and participate in this celebration. Gregory’s and his partner Doli’s light-filled souls blessed everyone in attendance that night. We are grateful for the hard work of the committee that organized the event and must recognize in particular Lou Lipsitz who so ably emceed the evening. You can read a beautiful writeup of the event by Bill Finger at
- The weekend of Oct 29-Nov 1 the TMC Board and the Gathering Planning Group both met to spend time in planning retreat. This mini-Gathering has become a special event in itself with a total of around 25 men who attended the weekend for at least some portion of the time. The Gathering Planning for next April is well on its way. Put the dates on your calendar now: April 22-24 (http://themenscouncil.org/event/21st-gathering-of-men-in-nc/ for more information) . And then watch for announcements inviting registration in late January. Think about sharing the video on the website to encourage other men to join us.
We are also strongly considering possibly offering an additional early workshop day on April 21. Simon McCain has indicated his willingness to conduct an extended Dynamic Breath work session that day. Stay tuned for more on that possibility.
- We were greatly pleased and excited with one particular accomplishment at the TMC Board Retreat. We set a goal last year to work on developing a philanthropic outreach as part of TMC’s mission. Larry Sorkin brought this proposal from conversations that he had with Don Tyson and Graham Gell who are the originators of the idea. Don and Graham wanted to start a charitable organization that would provide an opportunity for men who have experienced abundance in their lives to multiply their ability to help men and charitable organizations. In discussion it quickly became clear that this goal is consistent with the TMC’s mission. They felt a particular impulse to find a way to fulfill their role as elders in the community and wanted to make that opportunity available to other men who feel a similar impulse. After a year of meeting Don, Graham and Larry made a proposal that the TMC Board voted to approve at the fall retreat.
So now the TMC Philanthropic Endeavor is officially underway. In a phone conference meeting on December 12 we formed the Philanthropic Endeavor Steering Committee, established guidelines to begin working on identifying worthy targets for philanthropic donations, and appointed regional subcommittees to vet charities that share our mission of helping men. On that phone call participants made $17,500 in pledges which we hope to collect by year’s end. Our eventual goal is to be able to build a base of pledging units that will allow TMC to make $100,000 in donations each year.
The Steering Committee would like to invite as many as might be moved to join this effort to consider making donations. There will be more details forthcoming, including a list of organizations and donees that will begin receiving these donations. Also look for an access point soon on the TMC website to facilitate your donations. As with all donations to TMC your donations will be tax deductible. Here is a brief blurb to help you understand what the plan for this is.
We are now taking pledges and donations for the TMC Philanthropic Endeavor (Send donations to: PO Box 6155, Raleigh NC 27628). 100% of monies collected, unless otherwise specified, will go toward vetted local charities where we can identify a synergy the stated missions of TMC. These may be charitable organizations in a number of areas including:
· Veterans Groups (e.g. Bridge Home)
· Fighting domestic abuse
· Mentorship (e.g. 100 Black Men, Joshua Project)
· Elder issues (health, end of life, social relevance for elders, etc.)
· Prison and Prisoner release issues (e.g. Alternatives to Violence Project)
· Improving education and awareness around issues specific to men (sponsoring psychological approaches, Web approaches)
· Homeless men
We invite other suggestions for the consideration of the Steering Committee.
As you can see from this report The Men’s Council has taken great strides in the past year. We value everyone’s continued support and want to acknowledge that without your steadfast dedication forming a collective energy to contribute to the success of The Men’s Council very little could be accomplished. With that collective energy moving us forward I believe that we can look forward to another exceptional year in 2016.
We wish everyone a most joyous holiday season and a prosperous New Year filled with many blessings.
Peace and with warmest regards to all,
President, The Men’s Council