PCSE Seed Grants in Action: Report #3 from Dharma Gates

Each year, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards $5,000 seed grants to fund the launch or early-stage growth of a project, program, or venture. Dharma Gates run by Aaron Stryker ’19, Miles Bukiet ’11, Nicholas Antonellis ’17, was one of this year’s winners. This is their third report since receiving funding from the PCSE in March 2019.You can read their other reports here and here.


Seed Grant Report Three

Greetings! We have another update from the Dharma Gates Team. Dharma Gates is a non-profit organization committed to making deep meditation practice accessible to young people of all backgrounds. We offer a variety of programming that introduces participants to retreat environments while contextualizing these experiences in a way that makes sense in modern life.



We have two new members of the Dharma Gates Team! Eve Romm is an alumna of Yale University who recently returned from a year of residency at Zen Mountain Monastery after graduation. Eve will be the primary curator of our community blog.  

Margaret Fleming recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership. She’s been putting these skills to good use in designing impact metrics and editing our website. 

We have welcomed Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi, onto our advisory council. 

Shugen Roshi is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order, abbot and resident teacher of Zen Mountain Monastery, and abbot of the Zen Center of New York City. 

Our articles of incorporation have been submitted to the state of New York. We are waiting to hear back.

Our website, Dharma-gates.org, has reached 275 unique visitors per month for the last two months. 

This fall, we have received a grant from the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism, as well as $1700 in private donations. 

We have partnered with Be Meditation, a 501(c)3 organization to act as a fiscal sponsor helping us process incoming grants and donations until we receive 501(c)3 status. 

From Dharma Gates’ Second Intercollegiate Meditation Retreat, Monastic Academy, Lowell, VT



This fall, we ran six more events at colleges and Zen centers, primarily across the East Coast. So far, over 230 students have been directly impacted by Dharma Gates programming. We have twenty-three people signed up for our next multi-day retreat, which will take place at Zen Mountain Monastery near Woodstock, NY this winter from January 8 – 12. 

We have launched a new service accessible to people of any age considering residential meditation training. Our free consulting service connects people to a residential meditation community that meets their individual needs while taking into account intensity, location, style of practice, schedule, demographics, dietary accommodations, and cost. So far, we’ve had consultations with four people. 

Our co-founder, Aaron Stryker, was asked by Lion’s Roar Magazine to write a piece about his vision for the future of Buddhism in America. The piece was recently published – read it here to get a better sense of our mission and the inspiration for this organization. 

Aaron also had the opportunity to attend the Science and Nonduality 2019 Conference in San Jose, where he met many of the people leading the cross-fertilization of contemplative traditions, science, and social change. 



Next spring and moving forward, we are looking to bring on more instructors to provide a more diverse view of practice, as expand the reach of our programming overall. 

We would like to finish incorporation, solidify our back-end, begin compensating our retreat facilitators for their time. 

We’re also brainstorming more strategies for direct outreach to marginalized or low-income communities that might benefit from Dharma Gates programming but find meditation practice inaccessible.

We’re aiming to raise $40,000 by summer 2020 from grants and private donations to make this all possible. 

Fundamentally, our mission is to connect our generation to the possibilities for an ethical and joyful life that still do exist in this world (and might actually be a powerful way to change it). 

To get in touch, email astryker@wesleyan.edu or team@dharma-gates.org