The Parliament Blog

Words with Lisa Perry, CPWR’s new Director of Development

Lisa Perry, Director of Development/
Photo: Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

CPWR’s Director of Development, Lisa Perry, envisions wonderful prospects for the coming year for our organization.  Recently, Lisa sat down with CPWR’s Project Coordinator, Molly Horan, to discuss her beliefs on giving.

MH: What does being a Development Director for the Parliament of Religions mean to you?

LP: It means that I am working in alignment with my core beliefs and passions. I am able to synthesize my personal and professional lives on a daily basis. It is a lovely synergy. For me, the finest thing about being a fundraiser is the privilege of extending opportunities to express the better parts of human nature through kindness and generosity. We all have a deep spiritual need to give meaningfully to others. As an organization CPWR provides inspiration and motivation for transformation on many levels, and this speaks to a person’s philanthropic core. The mission of CPWR is to create spaces where we can go deeper together, as individuals, as philanthropists and, ultimately as collective participants in a peaceful transformation of the world.

MH: You like to say giving is “faith in action.” What informs this belief?

LP: My experience is that often the best philanthropy emerges from a connection with one’s inner-life, from one’s sense of soul – and the more directly connected, the better. I have seen this be driven by relationships with a specific religion or by spiritual awakenings that allow us to realize our deep interconnectedness as human and spiritual beings. Every major religion has a giving mandate in its holy texts, traditions or historical practices. From a spiritual perspective, all of these giving practices – “faith in action” – lead to moral growth in an individual and much material benefit to the society.

MH: What challenges does the Parliament face?

LP: Weathering the winds of change with grace, intentionality and integrity. Events in recent months have had a significant impact on the CPWR, and they are not all easy changes to navigate … but they are such wonderfully ripe and potent opportunities for growth! An organization whose global reach and impact is as significant as the Parliament’s will continue its legacy through strong leadership, vision and determination. I see all of the components at work here. A new location for the next Parliament is being finalized, initiatives for Peace and Sacred Spaces continue, and deeply invested constituents are standing together to move forward – even if one baby step at a time. Above all, CPWR stands as the oldest and most trusted voice of the interreligious movement. As it is our collective challenge, I want people to believe in this voice, these actions, this movement to make tangible the unique contribution of religion and spirituality to a better future.

Any other news you would like to share with our community?

Yes! I am happy to be celebrating the 150th birthday of Swami Vivikenanda this weekend at the Art Institute of Chicago: the venue of first World’s Parliament of Religions where Vivkenanda delivered his historic address. Join me!

Also, Please allow me to end by sharing this lovely Rumi prayer:

Today like every other day we wake up empty and frightened.

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading,

Take down the dulcimer.

Let the beauty we love be the work that we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

- Rumi

Lisa likes to share her conviction that fundraising is simply spirituality in practice. She is an inspired non-profit leader from west Michigan with extensive experience in development and marketing and degrees in Public Administration and Economics from Grand Valley University.

Lisa has worked as a chief development officer, vice president of marketing and development, executive director, strategic consultant, and most recently, as the divisional development director for the Salvation Army of West Michigan and Northern Indiana.  She is a passionate Spiritualist, Reiki Master and active Celebrant who performs ceremonies around significant life rituals and celebrations. A member of Spiritual Directors International, Lisa also remains active in Interfaith Spiritual Direction through the Dominican Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is the proud mom of two thriving sons. Contact Lisa Perry

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The views expressed in the Parliament Blog may not necessarily reflect the official position of CPWR, its officers or Board of Trustees