The Tibetan Association of Northern California’s cultural center is very special and dear to all of us. After many years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice we were able to buy a property and have received blessings from many high lamas, most importantly from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in February 2014.
This center is also important because the goal of having such center is to provide a facility to preserve and share the unique Tibetan culture in Northern California.
This office building needed to change its use permit to community assembly which triggered requirements of compliance with all the laws; ADA which necessitated elevator and ADA bathrooms, Plus fire sprinkler system, plumbing, electrical updates, and other structural changes associated with such major work. This would be required to permit community events such as Children’s Sunday school, performances, prayers, and other gatherings.
However, the extent of renovation work and the high estimated cost forced us to the carry on the work in phases; First three phases was securing the foundations, changing the use permits and conversion of cubicles to and extending the main hall.
The new board members and the building committee assumed its leadership in September 2014. After doing our homework, we realized that doing project in phases, although a good option for cash strapped organization like us, is costing us more in terms of real dollar as well as in opportunity cost. We thus, chalked out plan for completing this project once and for all.
The community, then had saved roughly $250,000 through fund-raising campaigns and consolidation and reallocation of resources in anticipation of the renovation. The amount fell short of the funds needed to cover the renovation work by at least $300,000. The need for building renovation became urgent because the permit issued by the city of Richmond was expiring.
In early 2015 the Tibetan community members once again came together to raise a loan of $300,000 from small contributions from over 200 members to cover the required renovation work.
The renovation work started in mid-2015 and made good progress until several unexpected costs were uncovered. The budget was able to cover most of the surprises, including electrical, plumbing, clean up, and others through a combination of volunteer and discounted work from the community members and the contingencies fund.
In early 2016, the city required replacement of the HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) after finding mold in the HVAC ducts during an inspection. The building renovation committee tried multiple approaches to reduce the cost of the HVAC system by having structural engineers and architects draw up different designs to replace part of the system. The city did not accept alternate proposals, so the reconstruction effort came to a serious jeopardy.
The least expensive cost to replace the HVAC system was $130,000. The contractor working on the other building renovation work was also running out of planned time due to multiple delays. Therefore, the building community agreed to replace the HVAC system.
We are very thankful for the Walter and Elise Haas Fund for their $30,000 grant towards this capital campaign. We are requesting all the members and supporters to support the completion of the Tibetan Cultural Center by providing funding to cover as much of the gap as possible.
After completion of the work, the center will host the Tibetan Sunday school program since the current location at Berkeley Adult School is no longer a financially viable option. The center will also officially start weekly and periodic programs in prayers, performances, and talks to preserve and share the unique Tibetan culture with the community members in Northern California to start meeting the goal established for the newly renovated center.
TANC is a 501(c)3 organization and all contributions are tax deductible.
For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Building Committee:
- Kelsang Jungney (Co-Chair)
- Tsering Gyurmey (Co-Chair)
- Tshering Dorjee
- Chime Lhamo
- Tsering Dhondup
- Tsering Youdon
- Jamyang Lama