Polly Trout, Founder: Polly has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Boston University. She has been providing supportive services to homeless neighbors for the past 15 years. She has extensive experience in nonprofit administration and fundraising, and in building cross-class, anti-racist, multicultural community. Polly is a layperson and mother with a nonsectarian Dharma practice. Her root teacher is Venerable Pannavati, and she is ordained as a lay minister in the Embracing Simplicity Hermitage lineage, a nonsectarian lineage led by Venerable Pannavati Bhikkuni and Venerable Pannadipa Bhikkhu. She serves on the board of the Northwest Dharma Association and is affiliated with the Evergreen Spiritual Alliance, an interfaith cooperative of spiritual teachers. In 2002 Polly founded Seattle Education Access, a local nonprofit that provides college access and retention services to low income and at risk young adults. When she’s not taking care of people she likes to read library books, travel, and sit in the woods.
Dorothy Simecek, Bookkeeper Philanthropist: Dorothy is our bookkeeper, administrative associate, and development assistant. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management and a focus on Accounting, and has worked as a bookkeeper for the past two years. Dorothy is great with people, has solid financial skills, and is thoroughly organized. She assisted in the start-up of the College Success Program at Seattle Central Community College, an organization that assists foster and minority youth with college enrollment and retention. In her youth she worked at San Antonio Methodist Shelters helping homeless clients. She assisted with the meal program, checked people into the shelter, and provided hygiene products. This experience helped shape her lifelong commitment to helping others. For the past 16 years she has volunteered as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence in the Abbey of St Joan. In this role she has planned special events, raised money for the Abbey’s nonprofit grant fund, reviewed grant proposals, for local nonprofits, educated thousands of people on harm reduction, and advocated for people in need in the community. Over the years The Abbey of St Joan has built many bridges between different nonprofits and social justice groups in Seattle. She is working with Patacara to bring positive change to the community it serves.
Genjo Marinello, Board President: Genjo is the abbot of Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji, a Rinzai Zen Temple in Seattle. He came to Seattle in 1976 as a VISTA trained community organizer after graduating with a BA in psychobiology from UCLA. As a community organizer, he was instrumental in the formation of the Seattle Cherry Hill Coalition. Genjo trained in the Japanese Zen temple Ryutaku-Ji from 1981 to 1982, became fully authorized temple priest in 1990 and a Dharma Heir in is lineage of Rinzai Zen in 2008. He is also a certificated spiritual director and Washington State Licensed Mental Health Counselor. He has a M.A. in psychology from Antioch University and has served as adjunct faculty at the Seattle Antioch campus. Genjo has served as the Buddhist pastor at the Monroe Correctional Complex, and taught meditation in the King County Jail, Walla Walla Reformatory, and Clallam Bay Corrections Center. Currently Genjo is a member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and the Zen Peacemakers organization where he has received Witness Council training and participated in international Bearing Witness retreats at Aushwitz/Birkenau.
Tuere Sala, Board Member: Tuere has been a Vipassana meditation practitioner for over 20 years. She has been a practicing member of Seattle Insight Meditation Society since 2001. She teaches beginning and post-beginning meditation classes, as well as day-longs on various Dharma topics. She also facilitates daylong workshops using nonviolent communication (NVC) to support a mindfulness practice. She has completed extensive training including: the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader Program, Focusing for Complex Trauma Course, Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Course (MMFT) as well as extensive meditation retreats. She has a long history of establishing and maintaining a daily practice. For more information, visit https://caphillmeditationgroup.wordpress.com/tuere-sala/.
Vu Le, Board Member: Vu is the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a local nonprofit that cultivates leaders within communities of color to strengthen the capacity of communities-of-color-led nonprofits. RVC creates space for collaboration between diverse communities of color to effect systemic change. Previously, he was the Executive Director of the Vietnamese Friendship Association. He currently chairs the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition (SESEC). Vu is the author behind the nonprofit humor blog, nonprofitwithballs.com, the humor columnist at blueavocado.org, and a nationally recognized expert on nonprofit leadership and development.
Roshi Bernie Glassman is a world-renowned pioneer in the American Zen Movement. He is a spiritual leader, published author, accomplished academic and successful businessman with a PhD in Applied Mathematics. He is the founder of the Zen Peacemakers.
Venerable Dr. Pannavati is the co-founder and co-Abbot of Embracing-Simplicity Hermitage in Hendersonville, NC. A black, female Buddhist monk ordained in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions with Vajrayana empowerments and transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemakers, she is both contemplative and empowered for compassionate service. Venerable is a founding circle director of Sisters of Compassionate Wisdom, a 21st century trans-lineage Buddhist Order and Sisterhood formed by Ani Drubgyuma in 2006. http://pannavati.org/
Tetsuzen Jason M. Wirth is professor of philosophy at Seattle University and an ordained Sōtō Zen priest. As a philosopher, he teaches and writes in the areas of Continental philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy, the philosophy of art and aesthetics, and the prospects for world philosophy. He is the author of several books and currently the associate editor of the journal, Comparative and Continental Philosophy. As a Sōtō Zen priest, he is the founder and co-director of the Seattle University EcoSangha, a resident priest at Eishōji Sōtō Zen training facility in Seattle, and is heavily involved in interreligious dialogue at Seattle University. He is also a founding member of CoZen (禪緣), a group of academics with active Buddha Dharma practices who are engaged in exploring, articulating, and performing the non-duality of practice and study.