The Mindful Nonprofit Institute
An 8-week intensive program based on MBSR geared specifically for the nonprofit workplace
The Mindful Nonprofit Institute is based on the well established and researched 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) originally created by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979. The Institute brings together staff members from several organizations working in similar sectors. Through guided instruction and group discussion, participants will develop mindfulness skills that can be applied directly to current challenges and opportunities they face in their nonprofit workplace and elsewhere in their lives. Sharing this learning experience with the staff of other like-minded organizations, participants will strengthen relationships with each other and develop the capacity to see common challenges and opportunities.
Some of the themes and outcomes of the Institute include the following:
Developing the capacity to notice when the mind is distracted and how that affects our connection to people and our work.
Developing resilience and a willingness to turn towards difficult or unpleasant work that must get done, instead of a more typical approach, procrastination.
Increasing levels of well-being and life/work balance.
Increasing the ability to sustain focus and attention in what is often a distracting world overloaded with information.
Developing the capacity to look at situations with a fresh perspective, and in so doing, discovering creative and innovative ways of solving problems.
Developing awareness of how being on automatic pilot can interfere with our responsibilities and happiness; learning how emotional reactivity can interfere with our productivity and creativity.
Who Should Attend:
You might consider participating in this program if:
You would like to improve your ability to sustain focus and attention.
You often feel stuck or are having difficulty figuring out how to get things done.
You would like to improve your overall sense of well-being.
You are regularly encountering stressful situations that are interfering with your well-being or your ability to get things done.
You are aware that your emotional reactivity is interfering in your communication with others.
Please note: Class size is limited to 15 participants with 4 or 5 staff from up to three participating organizations. To support the fullest experience for each participant we aim to avoid supervisory relationships amongst participants but these can be considered on a case-by-case basis. Each participating organization has its own guidelines with respect to how or whether staff can participate in The Mindful Nonprofit Institute. If your organization is participating in an upcoming Institute, please talk with your organization's contact regarding this opportunity. If you are interested in participating and would like to learn more, please contact us.
Winter 2020 Institute Program Details
Access for participating organizations only
What to Expect
The program consists of 9 in-person group sessions. The orientation session will introduce the MBSR program and the relevance of mindfulness in the nonprofit workplace, and will give participants from different organizations a chance to meet each other before the 8 weekly classes begin.
Participants will then attend 8 weekly sessions, two and half hours each, where they will learn and practice mindfulness techniques and participate in group discussions. The techniques will include mindfulness meditation and mindful body movement (think of gentle yoga). Other similar techniques will be introduced that will help develop participants' ability to notice and observe thoughts, emotions, and sensations as they arise. Frameworks for understanding stress and how we can change our relationship to it will be part of the program. No previous experience in any of these areas is needed.
Between the 6th and the 7th week, there will be a day-long retreat where participants will have an opportunity to strengthen their practice further.
The MBSR program relies heavily on active and experiential learning, and as such, participants will be given home practice assignments. The home practice is an important part of program participation.
The setting for the classes and the day long retreat will be comfortable and safe. It's crucial to highlight that information shared in all sessions will remain confidential.
About the Facilitator
Tim Blair is the founder of The Mindful Nonprofit Institute and he facilitates the 8-week program. Tim is a systems design consultant for nonprofit organizations, an MBSR teacher with his Teacher Qualification from UC San Diego's Mindfulness Based Professional Training Institute (MBPTI), and the founder of The Mindful Nonprofit Institute. Tim has completed MBPTI's MBSR Teacher Training Program and the Advanced Teacher Training Program. Tim has regularly taught the 8-Week MBSR Program to the general public at MaineHealth in Scarborough.
Tim has focused exclusively on work with nonprofits and foundations for over 17 years. This work has brought him inside conservation organizations, social service organizations, and educational institutions allowing him a deep understanding of the challenges faced by people who work in nonprofits. It is this understanding combined with his training in mindfulness that has inspired Tim to bring this practice to the nonprofit sector.