On Mission towards Big Vision
Our New Seneca Village Annual Update
Centering restoration, connection, and visioning, New Seneca Village is an intentional community designed to bring together BIPOC women and non-binary folk - leaders and healers advancing justice in the world - to take intentional time and space for pause, such that the entire community can reconnect to themselves and their purpose through community and restorative practice offerings, within the resources of time, space and connection to nature
We welcome movement leaders and healers who are causing movement within institutions, organizations and systems.
We embrace leaders and healers across issue areas and borders.
We are committed to leaders across organizational hierarchy, with a particular emphasis on frontline folks who do not generally have access to fellowships, residencies or other leadership development opportunities that create space for pause, reflection and growth.
We are excited to share more with you about our pilot year work over the past 10 months and even more excited for you to hear directly from the leaders and healers that make up our Village.
The feedback shared in this annual report is from Villagers at our first July residency at Whidbey Institute and we want to thank them for their reflection and honesty! Additional feedback will be added after our 2nd residency in November.
The New Seneca Village team
Explore Year One of New Seneca Village
Thank you to our first-year funders whose general support grants and light reporting requirements help us stay focused on our mission.
Legacy Vision Intentions
New Seneca Village is a big legacy vision project.
We seek land and a founding endowment of $110M in order to develop a retreat center space that allows our community to actualize their right to sovereignty and self-determination - and exist in perpetuity.
We deem this financial foundation critical for sustaining a sacred space committed to restoration, connection and visioning for women and non-binary folks of color. Similar to artist residencies that are committed to providing creative conditions for artists, we know that supporting social justice leaders - who are imagining and creating new futures - is a multi-generational commitment.
As we move towards our big vision of land and a retreat center space funded to provide the resource of this Village across generations, we started our Village offerings to be on mission for the folks for whom this restorative space is critical today.
Pilot Year at a Glance
Hosting 2 in-person residencies in Washington (complete) and California (upcoming).
Welcoming in 37 Villagers - leaders and healers - across 14 issue areas and two countries.
Hosting 3 pre-residency cohort circles for grounding, connection, and preparation for residency.
Adapting to COVID by iviting 5 leaders to individual ceremony residencies where they create their own individual restorative residency.
Offering opening and closing circles for community connection for individual ceremony residencies.
Convening Advisory Circle for collective governance of NSV, in alignment with Big Vision.
Hiring and co-creating with 2 part-time staff (3month temp consultant).
Co-creating what is needed to be successful in this vision by cultivating direct and constant community feedback.
Developing a Village Social Ecosystem as a power-building strategy designed to allow us to connect with one another beyond the residency experience and across personal and professional interests and inquiries.
New Seneca Village (NSV) is a human centered restoration, connection and visioning focused intervention designed for the women and non-binary folks whose love and labor is core to the fulfillment of our societal hopes.
Within our residencies we prioritize Being over doing, with the understanding that our communities are consistently asked to do and rarely given room to Be. This prioritization aligns with our contextual knowing that periods of dormancy are consistent across and crucial to all life.
Within our community, we prioritize communication, consent and connection that honors the person powering the profession.
We believe in individual and community connection to, and exploration of our shared resources; time, space, nature, each other and restorative practices.
For us, the intentional liberatory space of NSV is a line in the sand against the ongoing burnout-inducing nonprofit system and a bulwark against the potential loss (actual or psychic) of these strong leaders from organizations and movements that survive because of their expertise and their dedication.
"Black Women are never allowed to rest,
to receive fully without being asked to perform.
Here [at NSV] we were allowed to do just that.
It is the key to restoration for your mind,
your body and your soul.
This experience is the blueprint
to bringing real care to us.
We need it to live, we need it to live well,
we need it to thrive not just survive."
Bushmama, Healer, Artist, Curator, Oakland, Ca
"The unsung founders of our past and present day social justice movements have been overwhelmingly female, queer and BIPOC.
As the rest of society catches up to the ways that marginalized women have been Knowing, we also require rest and Time to dream up the next generation of solutions. In spite of the cultural. spiritual, and material wealth that has been stolen from us, Time has taught us that we were born with all that we need to thrive.
With the gift of Time we can recover what has been stolen, heal what has been lost, and continue to show up for our beloved Selves.
With the gift of community we are reminded that what is good for us is also good for humanity and that we are only able to show up for community inasmuch as we are able to show up for our Selves.
With the gift of Rest, we are able to restore our bodies to their most healthy state of awareness, allowing us to key into the all-knowing whispers of our Ancestors."
Taylor Mary / True Heart Consulting, LLC / Community Care / Durham, NC
"I was asked by a white friend how was the retreat
and what made it different from other retreats.
I replied, "You know how you walk through your life without any worries of being harmed, exploited, abused or micro-aggressed
and how the system works in your favor?
I was able to experience that for the first time in my life...
for seven days."
Teresa R Ellis, Pilates Barre and Jams, Decolonizing Movement for Marginalized Bodies, Oakland, CA
"We need spaces to restore the vital energy that is constantly taxed and pulled from us in the process of *survival* in the dominant culture of cis-heteronormative, white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist, ableist world that by design enacts and relies upon the systemic extraction, harm, and violence upon Black and Brown bodies. The waters of the dominant culture and systems we swim in is toxic and in order to breathe we need retreat and respite from the toxicity.
How will we vision and design our way beyond what we see now? We need full access to our creativity and our sense of trusted connection. We must feel enough safety and regulation in our bodies, our nervous systems, in order to get out of "fight, flight, freeze mode" and truly rest, heal, and access our most creative, full, and possible Selves. And yet for many of us living in the world as we know it is disregulating and doesn't create the conditions for our systems to find the rest and regulation we need to truly recharge. Many of us are burnt out or soon to burn out.
We know that nature is a central element for healing, restoration, and vitality, and yet sadly there are too few intentional spaces where Black and Brown bodies get to feel truly safe, in Belonging, and protected from racism while in nature, at least in America. It is critical that we have safe spaces to truly embody restoration, healing, ease, creativity, possibility, and spaciousness, so that we can dream, create, and vision a future from that place.
From the retreat I experienced, NSV is and knows how to create that space, making their work, vision, and necessary legacy a KEY to sustaining the transformative change that we know is generational and long range work."
Taraneh Sarrafzadeh, Healer, Artist, & Embodiment Guide, CA
Core to New Seneca Village is an intention to bring together BIPOC leaders with healers (truly we see no distinction) in order to ground our community in the discovery or re-engagement of restorative practices.
The hope is that all Villagers will leave with strengthened or new resources and practices that support them in their lives and work.
We invite healers based on the requests of the leaders within each residency.
Our first residency was definitely a Body focused residency and our skilled and kind Village healers brought education, framework and experiential learning (with lots of joy and love!) to the community.
A note on pilot year invitations:
New Seneca Village is committed that all leaders can apply for the opportunity to be a part of this experience (or their communities can apply on their behalf.)
Due to funding limits and staffing capacity, we designed a concentric rings invitation process to open our Village in a manageable way.
We invited leaders (from our Advisory Circle and beyond) to invite leaders and healers from their communities. Now our current Villagers are sharing invites with leaders and healers from their communities, and so on.
Visitors to our site are also able to access our invitation and we look forward to expanding into broader outreach as our funding grows.
"A dynamic and astounding group of individuals. I learned so much about my body and capacity to breath and lean into movement.
I returned home to a noticeable change in the way I interact with my body.
Who knew breathing and movement were so vital!
THANK YOU ALL!!!! "
Kathia, Healthcare Advocate, Bay Area, CA
"This experience is one where you can really only drop
into its power once you have left it.
To feel the ripple impacts of rest.
Of the permission to be yourself, to be reflective, emotional,
connected, disconnected. All states welcomed.
The energy of the space is co-created by the participants
- including the space that we are away from each other.
An absolutely magical, restorative and healing time."
Anisha Desai, AORTA, transformative coach + strategist, Bay Area -CA
Oh, it's essential for the work we're trying to do in the world - collective restoration, connection, and visioning, in a rhythm and pace that unfolds amongst us being us.
The speed with which our group (and individually) dropped into the work of being was wonderful.
Our bodies know what this week was for and it seemed to me there was no preamble nor easing in - just getting there and allowing the wisdom between us to come through and work its magic.
Dr. Teresa Lau, The LAB at Vibrant Body Wellness, Berkeley CA
"It will open you up to new ideas.
It'll get you slow down and be in stillness,
and allow you to reconnect with self.
It'll move you. "
Aldita Gallardo, Borealis Philanthropy,
Resource Redistribution, CA
New Seneca Village Advisory Circle member
"It was amazing! The cohort circles were unexpectedly powerful from the get go.
Self-care IS community care.
New Seneca Village facilitates meaningful change as leaders take this love & care and sow it back into their own communities.
Individually each seed is small but collectively we reap an exponential harvest."
Naomi Yu, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, CA,
New Seneca Village Advisory Circle member
"You might have an idea of what you expect to get out of this experience, but the manifestation of that intention might completely blow you away.
And yet it will still be exactly what you needed.
That’s the power of intent.
I was grateful for everyone for allowing me the grace to honor myself."
Vincella Myah Smith, SuperWellWoman, Wellness as Justice, Miami, FL
Intention Setting + Community Building
The New Seneca Village team hosts a series of three cohort circle sessions in the 2 to 3 months prior to each residency.
Cohort circles are designed to build community and support leaders and healers ability to show up present and intentional about creating the residency that will serve them.
Together we explore patterns and beliefs about restoration, identify what in life and work needs tending too so that the residency can tend to them and dream into the permissions that leaders intend to create for themselves at their residency.
Individual Ceremony Residencies
In light of scaling in our first year and the continued presence of COVID, we offered leaders the option of individual Ceremony Residencies. While fostering community and providing healer offerings is central to our intent, supporting leaders where they are and in the way they deem necessary is also key.
Leaders were supported in feeling like a part of community, even as they journeyed alone in residencies that they planned for themselves via Opening and Closing Circles hosted by New Seneca Village.
Commitment to Access
We are committed that all leaders can attend a New Seneca Village residency, regardless of socioeconomic status.
All residencies are complementary to leaders and healers.
In addition, the Village offers up to $1,000 in transportation grants for all Villagers and up to $1,250 in Back Home grants for leaders to support their lives back home while they are away.
Healers receive a comparable stipend of $1,500 for their offerings and taxes are covered for all access payments.
Villagers are encouraged to request grants specific to their need in a collective practice of conscious community abundance.
"How much I was cared for before coming.
Monetary support for me, my kid made the difference for me to get there and be there without worry."
Bushmama, Healer, Artist, Curator, Oakland, CA
Internal Community Design
The New Seneca Village Team and Advisory Circle
"What was so profound to me during my time at NSV was the level of safety and calm that I felt in my body in that shared and intentional space.
Everyone felt like they were there for similar reasons, everyone was supportive, kind and welcoming. I was deeply grateful for that experience.
I appreciated the intentionality with which everything was constructed that allowed for that safety to occur."
Kendra Coupland, Spiritual Wellness Coach, Communal Well-being/Organizer, Vancouver BC, Canada
"From the invitation through the residency experience, I felt the Spirit of the Village taking shape.
The intake survey signaled to me that the team was truly interested in who I Be and the ways that I am holding this intention for my Self and others.
The opportunity to connect through circles deepened the affirmation that I was amongst Family, making it that much easier to connect over the residency.
It helped to have a shared experience to build from over the week."
Taylor Mary / True Heart Consulting, LLC / Community Care / Durham, NC
The New Seneca Village model is committed to community governance by and for the Villagers who are part of our Intentional community.
See our Big Vision for more about how we intend to grow in centering our community.
Advisory Circle members are a key element to this community model, in addition to our consistent soliciting and integrating feedback from Villagers.
Advisory Circle members are invited for 1 year. They meet once a quarter for four meetings per year for which they are compensated. Meet our current Advisory Circle members here.
We are currently recruiting for new Advisory Circle members.
If interested please review our Advisory Circle invitation.
New Seneca Village is stewarded by a
small (and mighty!) team of two
in a flat co-creative structure where
all staff aredecision - makers.
Currently we both work on NSV part time
while holding down full-time day jobs.
This is not sustainable for ourselves nor is it in alignment with our commitment to the abundant restoration and care that defines this work.
We are actively seeking multi-year general operating grants to support sustainable and competitive salaries (with benefits) for the NSV team, so that we can dedicate ourselves 100% to the Village and the Villagers, for residencies and beyond with the development of our emergent social ecosystem.
"It was obvious to me from commencement to finale that the entire process was well thought out and articulately planned between the NSV organization and including residency attendees.
As an organizer I'm well aware that there will always be gaps that show themselves and in this case every one was filled with thoughtfulness and mindfulness in order to mitigate harm to individuals and the group dynamic.
Overall this was a magical experience."
Lystra G. Sam, Sisters Leading Sisters - Community Capacity,
Vancouver BC, Canada
"Most important for me was that from the beginning we were being guided. I felt like I knew everyone long before the actual day. Every step was so well orchestrated for our comfort.
There was no pressure to do anything...I felt spoiled and pampered that entire week and did not want to say goodbye. I just feel love and comradery with everyone that is there.
There was a lot of hard work behind the scene to make it a success and it was indeed a success!"
Anita Wills, Mother's Against Police Brutality (MAPB), CTPF Borealis Foundation,
Human and Civil Rights Activist; California
On our way to our Legacy Vision
New Seneca Village would not exist but for the generous listening,
clear resonance and creative and sage advice of BIPOC women and non-binary leaders over the years.
We are grateful to be co-creating this love and liberation offering with and for this community.
Deep GRATITUDE to each of you for Being the source and first resource for this vision!
New Seneca Village is thankful to the following funders for their connection to and support of our vision and pilot year.
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
(2) Anonymous Donors
We are excited to have raised the following funds in support of this vision.
2022 - 23
We have intentionally chosen to prioritize early organizational development like resourcing the residencies and gathering the Advisory Circle in order to make sure that the vision is
created in alignment with our values.
We are just getting started!
New Seneca Village has a legacy strategy to grow a
$110M founding endowment - See our Big Vision.
We also have short - term goals (below) that enable
us to be on mission now.
Note From NSV team:
So many women resonate with the New Seneca Village vision and almost all of them want to know how they can contribute.
We intentionally do not accept peer funding because we know that the women for whom this vision is created are already underpaid due to current philanthropic models and continuing racial and gender wage gaps.
Whatever funds they can give us have already been too heavily taxed by the unjust systems they work within.
We look to individual and institutional donors - those people and organizations whose money makes money - to abundantly resource this work.
Interested in learning more about being
a New Seneca Village funder? Read on!
Short Term Goal: $3M over 3 Years
Engage a larger group of healers and leaders in residencies throughout our pilot years.
Begin to implement our beyond residency Social Ecosystem community connection and engagement offering (more below).
Build toward our Big Vision retreat center where we can support up to 240 Villagers annually.
In order to achieve all of our visions we will need to fairly compensate staff so that the focus on New Seneca Village powered by 100% of our time and intention.
"New Seneca Village is so important because doing intense community work is absolutely draining and often times thankless which makes it incredibly difficult to sustain despite how necessary and needed it is.
The time I had at NSV, surprised me because also though I was there as a healer I also received so much healing. Having time to connect with nature, receive community care and rest allowed me to fully recharge my batteries in a relatively short period of time.
When I returned home I felt well equipped to return to my own community work (I work primarily with unhoused/under-housed populations, Black communities struggling with mental health, and survivors of sexual violence).
Having spaces where I can rest and focus on restoration allows me to continue work that has far-reaching impacts, the ripples of which are felt not only by individuals but whole communities."
Kendra Coupland, Spiritual Wellness Coach,
Communal Well-being/Organizer, Vancouver BC, Canada
"The NSV vision supports our connection to community bonding via ancestral spiritual growth + (age old) rituals that include intergenerational and intersectional respect through inclusion as we gather. This cannot be found in the broader more dominant culture that we live in daily.
Research shows that cultural competence assists us to develop a wider range of skills, analysis and deeper frameworks in leadership and sustainability (less burn out) when we can combine our education (including lived experience) with a practice for wellness (spiritual and/or otherwise).
Programs like NSV are ultimately necessary and furthermore welcomed in the wellness space (and more) to support the growing visions of leaders in the community as well as share those visions from community to community and expedite the development of other social programs that will encapsulate the community at large in its development.
I was able to return to business refreshed and creative with my capacity to engage on "full". With a broader scope of inclusion and "how to" due to interactions and rest that were in abundance during this beautiful and magical gathering."
Lystra G. Sam, Sisters Leading Sisters - Community Capacity, Vancouver BC, Canada
New Seneca Villagers at a Glance
New Seneca Villagers (so far) advance justice in...
Arts / Architecture
Investment (Native Led)
Racial Justice Practitioners
New Seneca Villagers (so far) live and work in...
New Seneca Villagers (so far) are...
Social Ecosystem : Being Beyond Residency
We are currently collecting Village wishes for this offering
and will further co-create it with future funding.
We are clear that restoration, connection and visioning are power-building strategies and we are committed that the experience of New Seneca Village lives on with and amongst Villagers beyond their time away at residency.
Many of our leaders feel isolated and disconnected and our Social Ecosystem is co-designed with the Village community to insure that our Villagers are able to get and stay connected.
We encourage Villagers to show up as themselves, which means we want to see and support the person powering the profession. This ecosystem will allow for continued sharing of Villagers whole person interests and inquiry.
Core to this offering is a desire to set the table for cross-cultural and cross-issue connection and dialogue that create conditions ripe with opportunities for the exchange of support, strategy and potentially collaboration.
We also intend to continue to lift up opportunities for visioning and restorative practices through virtual and in-person Village programming, amplifying the deep knowledge and wisdom present in the people of the Village.
The ultimate goal is for the social ecosystem to serve as a broad resource linking those who position themselves and their leadership within a space of power and possibility.
"New Seneca Village is a movement and rest space that is needed for our collective movement to liberation for all people, led by BIPOC women and gender-nonconforming people.
A rest and healing space that is grounded in relationships is an imperative part of our movement (just as organizing, advocacy, etc is).
Systems of oppression make it emotionally, spiritually, and financially depleting to do movement and social justice work
long-term. Most folks burn out within 5 years.
However, by having a space for fully funded rest and connection based on the individual (rather than their role), this sustains folks' ability to stay in the work and develop relationships that can lead to future partnership and opportunities.
Further, NSV aims to build an ecosystem, rather than a one-time event."
Faizah Barlas, Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust, Affordable Housing & the Decommodification of Land,
Los Angeles, CA
As you are learning, the New Seneca Village experience is one of deep intention and care.
It is also an abundance practice as we seek to shift the paradigm and answer the question -
What is possible when we abundantly resource
those who are, and have always been, at the
forefront of our societal evolution?
Multi-year general operating grants of $350K and above are crucial to our pilot model*.
The New Seneca Village budget reflects the dedication to our mission of providing completely complementary residencies. Aside from residency costs, the next largest portion of our budget goes toward access grants for Villagers.
We are committed to abundance for ALL Villagers!
Leaders: Complementary residencies, transportation and back home grants.
Healers: Complementary residencies, healer stipends and transportation grants.
Staff (Goals): Single income sustainable salaries and benefits.
*Larger gifts - including of land and capital towards our founding endowment - are crucial to our long-term vision
Land and a founding endowment will allow us to provide residency
time, space, and experience for leaders and healers annually...in perpetuity.
The Legacy Vision for New Seneca Village is to acquire and develop land and establish a founding endowment of $110M for a retreat center space that allows our community to actualize their right to sovereignty and self-determination - and exist in perpetuity.
We deem this financial foundation critical for sustaining a sacred space committed to restoration, connection and visioning for women and non-binary folks of color, by women and non-binary folks of color who are part of the community.
Similar to artist residencies which ensure generational stewardship of creatives and creation, we know that supporting social justice leaders is a multi-generational commitment and we are looking for donors who know this too.
The $110M founding endowment will support the following...
Up to 300 leaders annually able to access residencies from three days to two months, depending on their desire. We intend to be a responsive resource designed to support sabbatical stays and last minute requests and residency needs in between.
We intend to bring together strategic fellowships of leaders and healers to restore and vision together. And we are committed to being a liberatory funding resource for emergent values aligned projects arising from the Village.
Mission driven land trust created to provide community governance of the retreat space and the right relationship stewardship of the land. Villagers and the indigenous folks whose land we are on will make up the sole governing body for the Village.
"As an Activist of over 20 years I was feeling burnt out and depressed.
We as BIPOC cis & Trans Activists do not have many opportunities for healing. This retreat was exactly what I needed and it has rejuvenated me! I look forward to inviting other Activists into our healing circle.
This is important for future Activists to recharge and take notes from each other!"
Anita Wills, Mother's Against Police Brutality (MAPB), CTPF Borealis Foundation,
Human and Civil Rights Activist; California
"This experience is both powerful and tender;
an absolute for anyone desiring to create space to breathe, heal and connect in community."
Michele Ashley, Coeur Consulting LLC,
Ensure that the intention and care that leaders and healers contribute to our society and its people is also turned towards them. We will do this in alignment with the values of interconnection, restoration and evolution and with abundance at the center of all.
Living wage and restorative workload for staff to attract and retain intentional and effective leaders to support our collective internal and external missions. We intend to walk the talk and ensure that the restorative abundance of our mission offering is a match internally, by providing significant salaries and benefits, while ensuring that folks are working in conditions that counteract burnout and enable restoration.
"There are so very few spaces where women and femme people of the global majority can just be - without performing, without jockeying, without costume, and metaphorical mask.
In my 30 years in this sector (since my teens), this is the second experience I've had like this were I actually felt like I could truly rest. Where my giant smile was not often present as a tool of safety but instead was a true reflection of my inner state
radiating brilliantly from a place inside I'd forgotten.
It's hard to say yet what material impacts will come of this time space.
I can say that among other things my thinking is clearer, my trust in myself replenished, my decision-making and vision is more precise.
This has already improved how I am showing up in shared leadership in my organization.
Able to move work AND tend to challenges with heart and possibility without getting stuck in things."
Elissa Sloan Perry, Change Elemental, strengthening organizations and networks, Earth (primarily USA)
For more on the opportunities core to our Big Vision please see here.
We are excited to engage with donors who are aligned with our vision inside or our values of Right Relationship rooted in Interconnection, Restoration and Evolution.
We welcome funding relationships that are grounded in mutual trust and recognition of the agency of the New Seneca Village project, leadership and community.
We are looking for funders who recognize philanthropy as a tool of transformation
and whose actions align via significant multi-year general operating grants
with limited proposal and reporting requirements.
We are especially open to donors who are committed to land gifts and to legacy building
via the transfer of capital or stocks to build out our retreat center and
grow our founding endowment.
We hope you have found this NSV update helpful to learn more about what we have been up to in the first 10 months! And what we need to continue to succeed.
We are deeply grateful to our Village that allowed us to share their words (and their hearts) - throughout this update.
We hope to host a New Seneca Village webinar in the near future.
Please let us know if you are interested in joining and staying connected with us. We are available to connect, share more, and answer any questions via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited to be on this path of co-creation and restoration, together.
The New Seneca Village Team
"“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
"For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.
They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game,
but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. "