Greetings from Ojai!
A new day is dawning at the Ojai Foundation.
As you may have read in our last newsletter, the Ojai Foundation is going through a major rite of passage inspired by the many-decade history on the ridge in Ojai’s Upper Valley. It was more than 45 years ago that the seeds of the Foundation were planted on part of the Happy Valley Foundation’s land, established by visionary Annie Besant.
Responding to so many of you who voiced your concern and love of this land, we are delighted to announce that our precious parcel of land, which has brought so much joy and beauty to so many, has new leadership and a way forward!
We wish to acknowledge Shay Sloan and Brendan Clarke, who were co-directors of the Foundation for the past five years. We thank them along with all those who have led the Foundation over these many years. Last month, TOF’s directors completed their oversight of the Foundation and invited members of the founding generation — Leon Berg, Irasha Talifero, and Jack Zimmerman — to form a new board to steward the transformation that is now taking place.
Like the manzanita, whose seeds come to life after fire scorches the ground, we are looking forward to a new blossoming of community, connection, and creativity on our beloved ridge.
Our board will guide TOF into a new marriage of our vision and history, joining with a group of aligned organizations and individuals who are committed to continuing the spirit of TOF. United behind a common mission and devoted to the practice of council, youth rites of passage, and many more projects in the arts and education, we are forming a new organization called the Topa Institute. Topa will nourish the legacy of the Ojai Foundation, the roots of council, and the creation of intercultural connections that have thrived on the ridge for so many years.
With the founding of Topa and its new lease of the land, we will be able to continue our commitment to steward the ridge. The Council House will continue to be the “tent of meaning” that it has been for all these years at a time when the commitment to sacred communication and the essence of relationship is so important in the evolution of the human species.
We are excited to see new programs and people making the pilgrimage to this site of exquisite beauty that honors ancient wisdom and to share more about Topa next time. We invite you to join us on our new journey! Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for programming or stewarding the land.
The Ojai Foundation Team