Wider World Initiative

Now, more than ever, we can see how desperately contemplative awareness is needed in our divided world. Complex problems and intractable challenges confront us daily. We need a deeper level of knowing and a deeper way of being out of which discernment and compassion can emerge and transformation can occur.

For 45 years, Shalem has been a world leader inviting individuals and groups into contemplative prayer and nurturing contemplative leadership and action. Thousands of people worldwide are Shalem graduates. Thousands more have been mentored by these graduates or, simply through their presence in their communities, have gained an awareness of the power contemplative discernment and compassion can have.

We believe the Spirit is now calling Shalem to widen our circle and to make our programs available to a larger and broader group of spiritual leaders and seekers.

To widen our circle, we have created our Wider World Initiative and have set a goal of $1,050,000 by December 31, 2020. This initiative is in addition to our fundraising for our annual budget obligations. Our goal has two parts: closing the gap financially for those who need help in participating in our programs and creating greater accessibility in our current and new programs.

Closing the Gap: Contemplative Living for All
Financial need prevents a disproportionate number of young adults, people of color and seminary students from participating in Shalem’s long-term programs. To close the gap in this unmet need for widening participation in our major programs, we seek to increase our endowment by $600,000 and thus increase the amount of scholarship support we can provide each year.

Accessibility for a Wider Demand
So many individuals are hungry for accessible and modestly priced programs in contemplative living and leadership. We propose to raise $450,000 for imaginative program development, marketing and program presentation to address this yearning. Some of the possibilities we are envisioning: teaching materials and enrichment days for our graduates; updating our online courses and creating new online courses; a contemplatively grounded social justice pilgrimage; development of new local programs serving people of color; half-day and full-day events for young adults to engage them in social justice and earth-care from a contemplative grounding; a follow-up conference to the New Contemplative Exchange (the gathering of 20 young contemplative leaders that met in 2017); and a major contemplative conference for people called to leading contemplative practices in religious and social settings.


Will you help us widen our reach by contributing or pledging to our Wider World Initiative? You can make a one-time gift of any size or you can commit to a pledge to be paid in three years or less. To make a gift, just click the button below; to commit to a pledge, please contact info@shalem.org.

Now more than ever, what Shalem has to offer is desperately needed. You can help us make the circle wider. Thank you for helping us extend our impact and reach.

Knowing the great need for living from a contemplative heart in these and all times, I am grateful that there is a place like Shalem where individuals may come (including me) and deepen their connection with the Divine and learn how to live from their sacred heart. I want this for everyone. So giving to Shalem’s Wider World Initiative allows my “want this for everyone” to be made a reality.
(Greg Cochran)

In 1982, I found my way to Shalem and that made all the difference. Shalem taught me how to persevere in prayer and how to live a contemplative life. I am so grateful and want others to have this same opportunity. Our weary world is in great need of the contemplative perspective. The Wider World Initiative can extend Shalem mission and message; that is why I give. (Dana Greene)