By Horace A. Blake
As government has come up short in providing a wide range of needed services, many nonprofit projects have emerged. The most recent data suggests that the nonprofit sector is made up of 1.5 million organizations and growing. Embarking on a successful nonprofit organization requires more than just the zeal toward philanthropy. Identifying key components of any prospective nonprofit organization requires having board members who are focused on service.
A strong example can be found in Carrollton, Texas, where the Kerala Hindu Society of North Texas was able to identify several areas of focus from which to launch the planning and implementation of what is now a very successful Temple and Cultural Campus. According to Mr. Gopala Pillai, the current president of this new and thriving campus, the most positive areas of focus were:
- A passion to fully embrace their mission
- Participation of key stakeholders, such as board members, as their devotion was essential to the outcome within a very reasonable time
- Rigorous and innovative fundraising activities at every level to include all members
- Seeking out key professionals and skill sets for management and program development
- A keen sense of bias toward informality and participation in order to gain consensus
- Creating dual bottom lines focused on solid financial discipline that mirror the mission of the organization and avoid tension that delays strategic decision-making.
The Most Positive Aspects of an Expanding Nonprofit
For 25 years, the Kerala Hindu Society of North Texas was located miles away in an eastern municipality of Dallas. After a careful search, land was located and purchased near a very visible north-south corridor, which made for easy access for members and visitors alike. However, this large parcel of land had some issues including its location, which borders two municipalities, as well as being separated from access by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s green line. This did not deter the board members though; they were able to work with the municipal planning and zoning commission to get their building permit and landscaping approved promptly.
The board members, along with the leadership of the past presidents, decided it would be best to lease an available storefront near the pulse of this new perspective campus. In this case, close proximity proved better than being across town. The members worked quickly through strategic decisions and lost no time in getting this done. Here is where east met west in Carrollton, Texas.
Authenticating a Traditional Temple and Cultural Campus
Most of the members of the Kerala Hindu Society of North Texas occupy a variety of professional roles. Those who are no longer employed are retired and call North Texas their permanent home. With this in mind, Mr. Gopal Pillai embarked on a visit to South India, where he employed a famous family to authenticate every aspect of the temple complex. This family is prominent in the area of traditional architecture as it relates to temple building. Kanipayyur Shankaran Namboodiripad, one of the legendary practitioners of the architectural science, was consulted rigorously on the plans to authenticate this temple complex.
Additionally, Kanipayyur was selected to attend the 2015 installation of the inner sanctuary of the temple. The ceremonial idols and pieces of the inner sanctuary building were built in India and exhibited at various temples throughout the country before being shipped to Texas. This undoubtedly cost a great deal (of financial outlay), but the support of the members in their fundraising effort made it possible.
Activities at the Cultural Campus
There is always something new and fresh in terms of activities at the Sri Guruvayurappan Temple of Dallas. Whether it is an evening social event with a keynote speaker or regional musician performances, each offering is evidence that the success of this campus exceeded expectations. Great things can and do happen when nonprofit community organizing takes a positive leap forward and a strong group of board members guides every detail.
Author: Horace A. Blake has been involved in public service for more than 25 years. He currently serves on the city’s storm water management committee and previously served on the City Charter Committee. Horace also served in a volunteer capacity for the State of Texas and Dallas County for a total of eight years. He is a county volunteer in registering and educating voters as well as working with candidates seeking offices in the region.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Asia World Media as an organization, its affiliates, partners, employees and clients.
Editor’s Note: This article was previously published in Asia World Magazine 2015 Winter Issue.