(As adopted by the Board of Trustees at its meeting of May 22-23, 1999)


The Zen Center’s Board of Trustees provides oversight of the Center’s business and financial operations, and a sounding board for the Center’s Abbot. Through these activities the Board helps support the Center’s mission statement [printed below].

Roles and responsibilities:

• Oversee compliance with ethical and legal standards
• Develop and implement long-term operational strategy
• Oversee and approve the Zen Center’s annual operating budget
• Oversee and review investments, including investment policy
• Oversee and review dues and fee structures
• Approve major capital expenditures
• Set and review salary and benefits policies and levels
• Grant and review mortgage loans to affiliate centers as needed
• Provide guidance on matters of operations and staffing
• Appoint corporate officers and elect board-elected Trustees
• Ensure that the Center’s governance and management structures are effective
• Oversee the Center’s legal affairs, including approving changes in the Center’s by-laws
• Act as a sounding board for the Center’s Abbot on any matter for which he or she seeks advice
• Serve as a collective ombudsman for the Sangha’s interests and concerns related to the Zen Center
• Oversee arrangements for teachers’ and retired teachers’ care
• Appoint an acting Abbot if needed
• Certify the proper designation or selection of a new Abbot
• Suspend and/or recommend that the Sangha remove the Abbot if needed
• Remove a board- or Sangha-elected Trustee if needed
• Remove members on Roshi’s recommendation if needed
• Designate honorary Trustees as needed
• Serve on committees or task forces as needed
• Establish committees, charter them, and appoint at least the committee chair
• Participate whenever possible in Sangha activities and programs

What makes an effective board member?

• Commitment: is dedicated to the Zen Center, to its mission, and to practice.
• Independence: has the confidence to voice an opinion that may be contrary to conventional wisdom or the tenor of the group.
• Flexibility: is willing to consider the opinions of others with an open mind.
• Competence: is dependable, respected, communicates well, handles conflict well, participates effectively in a group process, and has a basic grasp of financial concepts.
• Integrity: is ethically minded and mature, avoids conflicts of interest, and respects the confidentiality of the Trustees’ discussions.
• Balance: can balance the need for thorough consideration of issues and the timely arrival at clear decisions.
• Experience: has significant experience in business, a profession, or other demanding activity that rounds out the experience of other board members.
• Responsiveness: is willing to represent the trustees with Sangha members, the Sangha with Trustees, and to serve on committees and task forces.
• Preparedness: is punctual and fully prepared for Trustees’ meetings.


(Adopted by the Board of Trustees October 13, 1990
Supplementary to Zen Center By-laws, Article I)

By-laws, Article I

The purposes of the Rochester Zen Center (the “Center”), which is incorporated as a Zen Buddhist religious organization under Article 10 of the New York Religious Corporations Law, are as follows:
1) to foster the teachings of Zen Buddhism, as adapted to Western cultural forms and traditions;
2) to provide training in the disciplines, practices, and devotions of Zen Buddhism;
3) to provide suitable surroundings, instruction, and support for the teaching and practice of Zen Buddhism; and
4) to train and develop instructors and fully qualified teachers of Zen Buddhism, both lay and ordained.
In consultation with the Abbot, the Board of Trustees may, from time to time, adopt Mission Statements setting forth the Center’s purposes in greater detail.

Mission Statement

Within the context of these primary purposes [set forth above], the Center will provide, whenever resources are available, the following:
1) activities and programs for Sangha children and families;
2) assistance as a religious resource to the general community through involvement in social, educational, religious, and other appropriate local activities; [and]
3) guidance and support for its affiliate centers.