In 2006, Donna Karan and Sonja Nuttall hosted HOPE, an event of love and hope for their honored guest, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, to raise funds for the Norbulingka Institute, a center in Dharamsala, India, dedicated to preserving the richness and luminosity of the art, history and culture of Tibet. The event included a yoga day sponsored by Rodney Yee, conversations with Professor Robert Thurman and a host of dignitaries and special guests.

HOPE secured funds in support for Norbulingka and its initiatives, specifically the Tibet Nomad Project and the Norhla Workshop. Both of these activities were created to help revive the economy in rural Amdo, including stimulating a craft revival movement that integrates local raw materials into textiles and creates jobs in the village; improving animal husbandry techniques; addressing agro-educational preservation; creating innovative and effective insulation products made from yak hair; and constructing new educational facilities. Under the guidance of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the Norbulingka Institute is a vibrant community spanning several generations from those born in old Tibet to those who are being raised in and around the ever-expanding Institute which serves to preserve Tibetan culture and values.

HOPE is particularly significant to Urban Zen Foundation. It was at this pivotal event that all roads became one and the Urban Zen Foundation was born. It became our goal to learn from the past (preserving cultures), care for the present (advancing well-being) and prepare for the future (empowering children). Donna and Sonja’s dream to raise awareness, inspire change and make a difference in the world is now a living, breathing force of hope in the world.