Although the goal amount of $5000 was not reached, Sacred Paths Center’s No Need to Panic fundraiser was considered a success by organizers. The event, attended by approximately 90 area Pagans, raised nearly $3000. Official numbers have not yet been released, but board members say that $350 was raised through the Buy a Bowl dinner, $1700 from the silent and live auctions, and $950 from raffling off the emerald and matrix Goddess statue. Damien Johnson, who was the emcee for the evening, auctioned off items such as a basket of freshly picked vegetables, swords, a kitchen witch, and original works of art.
The emerald and matrix statue, with an estimated value of $2000, was the marquee item for the event. One attendee, Gypsy Beattie Nilsen, was particularly drawn to the statue. A running joke at the fundraiser was for organizers to encourage people to buy raffle tickets to ensure that Gypsy wouldn’t win the emerald Goddess. When asked about the teasing, Gypsy said, “At the Sacred Harvest Festival, I told Jamie to go ahead and make it a competition, to keep me from winning it. The more tickets that are sold, the better off SPC is. I was so happy to hear that they sold ninety-five tickets!”
When the winner was drawn live in front of the attendees the joke was on the joksters. Gypsy won and was able to take home her beloved figurine, “I am so thrilled and shocked to have won the Emerald Goddess! I really did not think I would. It was love at first sight but I knew I could not afford her. Then along came the raffle and I thought maybe I would have a chance.”
Before the live auction and raffle drawing, community elder and newly Grandfathered Ken Ra said a few words. He made pointed references to the recent questioning by members of a Energy and Healers group who were demanding to know if Sacred Paths Center was misrepresenting its 501(c)3 status.
SchaOn Blodgett, a member of the TC Energy Healers & Energy Workers, said that his group had been supportive of the center and helped raise funds for them in the past and were now just looking for answers. “For last year’s fundraiser, I provided not just my services as a holistic practitioner during the event, but I also organized the entire event, from gathering the healers, to advertising, to getting volunteers to greet people at the door and hand out information for the healers, making sure all practitioners had a client bill of rights as required by State law, organizing and layout of the space for the event. All of this was done at no-cost to Sacred Paths Center… and was done under the impression that they were a legal and legitimate 501(c)3 Charitable Non-Profit and recognized as such in the State of MN.”
Mr. Blodgett went on to say that he had been looking for clarification of the group’s 501(c)3 status since last September, “during this time some concerns regarding their 501(c)3 status was brought up by some people, and every now and then would talk to people that were knowledgeable with 501(c)3’s and collected information. It essentially all came to a head when I saw that they were doing another big fundraiser, and I realized that the community as a whole needed to be informed about what was found out [about their 501(c)3 status].”
Mr. Ra said the controversy was a brewing “witch war” and that people were “getting kind of stupid” about the issue. He went on to caution the community to give one another the benefit of the doubt and to not try to “make yourself look virtuous by making others look evil.”
Sacred Path Center’s board Chairman Paul Magee clarified their non-profit status in a previous interview with the PNC-Minnesota, which can be found here.
In addition to the auctions, dinner, and raffle, attendees were able to enjoy services such as massage, henna painting and face painting. Event goers were also treated to new songs by Minnesota favorite Murphy’s Midnight Rounders. “I love the Rounders, as people and musicians. And their new music, wow!,” said one attendee.
There were many smiles and laughter throughout the evening. The community enjoyed the evening and enjoyed feeling good about supporting the center, “SPC is near and dear to my heart and I want to see it succeed. I believe in the old adage: it takes a village to raise a child. SPC is an infant and it’s survival is up to us, the community. Last night showed that people care about this place. Money was raised and people had a great time. Mission accomplished,” said Goddess statue winner Gypsy Nilsen.
Editors note: Washington, D.C. may soon join the Twin Cities in the distinction of being one of three cities that have a brick-and-mortar Pagan community centers. To read more about it, check out PNC-DC’s coverage here. The other Pagan community center, The Oklahoma Pagan Path, is located in Midwest City, Oklahoma.