a while ago Birken Forest Monastery added option for donors to donate towards Endowment Fund and I was wandering if this is in line with the monastic code. From their site:
As I understand it, the donated money in the fund are invested by finacial institution(in this case Nicola Wealth) and the yearly interest is withdrawn and used by the monastery. If this is the case than who is actually making the merit, the donors of the initial fund or the institution that is using the fund to make profit for the monastery?Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery is pleased to announce the establishment of an endowment fund which will allow stable support of the monastery into the future. The endowment fund, which is managed by Nicola Wealth (https://nicolawealth.com), will allow us to use modest interest earnings as a reliable source of ongoing funding. As in major endowment funds for universities, etc., the capital fund is to remain stable and increase while a certain percentage of earnings is used yearly. We welcome this form of stabilization to the uncertain and non-profit structures which the monastery relies on.
Personally I think that the abbot of the monastery, Ajahn Sona, is excelent abbot and meditation master and I dont think that he had any bad intentions about the fund or that he would intantionally break vinaya rules.
However the whole idea of endowment fund kinda feels like it breaks the direct relationship between donor and monastic and also it feels in a way that the monaster is getting involved indirectly in business(making money).