Institute for Zen Leadership

Lead the Way

aka IZL   |   Madison, WI   |

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Institute for Zen Leadership

EIN: 45-4956464


The purpose of the Institute for Zen Leadership (IZL) is to supercharge people committed to making a positive difference with the bigness of Zen and skills of leadership so they’re more successful and resilient. We actualize our purpose as we help leaders extinguish the separate “I,” become the “other,” see through fears, sense the future ready to come through them, and realize their purpose. Everything we do is in service of helping people lead from one-withness and the intuition/wisdom that arises from this embodied sense of connection.

Ruling year info



Ms Ginny Whitelaw

Main address

2540 E Mifflin St

Madison, WI 53704 USA

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Subject area info

Adult education

Climate change

Psychology and behavioral science

Leadership development


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Population served info





NTEE code info

Leadership Development (W70)

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

Management & Technical Assistance (X02)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Tax forms



Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We believe humanity is at a critical juncture where the extractive mindset that has been our history is collapsing biodiversity and destroying the conditions that support human life. Our mission at IZL is to accelerate development of the connected, regenerative mindset we need to evolve through this time, rather than destroy ourselves.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Zen Leader

The Zen Leader programs supercharge leaders to face the critical work of our time from deeply embodied, connected consciousness, giving them the ability to care for people and the planet with greater wisdom, success, and energy. IZL programs use Zen training and the applied “flips” of The Zen Leader (book by IZL founder Ginny Whitelaw), to enable more authentic and agile leadership. Participants come with a leadership challenge and leave with not only a different approach, but a different "self" approaching it.

Graduates of Zen Leader 1 are eligible to continue their training in the Zen Leader series with ZL2 and ZL3, where they will experience facing down their fears and transforming their leadership. Who should attend: Leaders and entrepreneurs in business and non-profits who aspire to make a difference and crack open their greatest potential.

Population(s) Served

Our HEAL programs bring together the tools of physical Zen training and the applied “flips” of The Zen Leader, with healthcare expertise and a focus on the issues facing healthcare practitioners/leaders. These programs have been accredited by the WI Medical Society to provide Continuing Medical Education credits. Graduates of the HEAL program are eligible to continue their training in HEAL2, HEAL3, and other advanced programs. Who should attend: practitioner/leaders in healthcare, including physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers who want to sustainably thrive and be a force for positive change in their patients, practices and systems.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students who receive scholarship funds and/or tuition assistance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Low-income people, Activists, Self-employed people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We hope that anyone who wishes to participate in a Zen Leader, HEAL or FEBI Program may do so. To that end we both price affordably and support students with scholarships.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We are here to supercharge leaders – by which we mean people committed to making a positive
difference – to face the critical work of our time from deeply embodied, connected
consciousness and leadership skill so that they can care for people, the planet, and the
future with greater wisdom, success, and energy.

Through our training programs, we supercharge people who are committed to making a difference with Zen practices and leadership skills for selfless, fearless, boundless impact.

Our strategy focuses in 3 areas:
• Leaders at all levels: We offer open and custom programs in Zen Leadership, as well as courses and webinars in resonating a better world.
• Healthcare: We offer CME-accredited HEAL programs for healthcare practitioners/leaders to help them become a resilient, healing force for their patients, practices and systems.
• Instructor / Coach Training and Services: We train the next generation of Zen leadership instructors and coaches, as well as certify coaches and trainers in the mind-body personality instrument, FEBI. We provide coaching services to accompany people on their Zen Leadership journey or as a standalone offering.
• Summits: Organizing summits to help build community, education, and action plans around the concept of Perma Leadership

With our 15-person faculty we conduct 10 or more of our Zen Leadership and HEAL (Healthy Embodied Agile Leadership) programs annually, training between 30 and 100 people each year. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have moved these programs online and are experimenting with new formats ranging from shorter webinars to serial versions of our open-enrollment programs. Many of our faculty donate their time to each in these programs.

Our founder and CEO, Ginny Whitelaw Roshi, is a thought leader in mindful, embodied leadership and presents at numerous conferences and seminars each year. We have a highly engaged Board of Directors including award-winning physicians, entrepreneurs, Zen teachers, and change agents.

Our sister organization, Chosei Zen, expands our capability by providing the primary training center we have used for our programs, the Spring Green Dojo in Wisconsin. It also includes a training center in Madison and a Virtual Dojo for online training. By working closely with Chosei Zen, we’re able to offer ongoing, unparalleled training in Zen for our graduates and instructors.

For most of our 10-year history, our multi-day programs were intentionally limited to 10-15 people in order to create an intimate cohort of a size supported by our Zen training center at Spring Green, WI and other similarly-sized retreat centers. Thus, the number of alumni is still relatively small, around 500, with about 70 of those being what we call “superfans.” Additionally, we’ve reached thousands of people through shorter programs, conferences, webinars, and custom corporate programs.
We’ve grown through the passions, purposes and geographies of our alumni, adding our HEAL program in 2013, programs in Europe in 2014, and in Asia in 2015.

In 2020, the global pandemic curtailed our in-person programming, but we pivoted to move our programs online and have been exploring how to best use online platforms for our uniquely physical training. This is opening up new ways of teaching (both synchronous and asynchronous) and opportunities to scale. We’ve also linked into programming from our sister organization, Chosei Zen, which offers online meditation every 12 hours. We’ve hosted a well-attended webinar series on Resonating a Better World highlighting applications of Zen leadership to anti-racism, healthcare and climate action.

We’re expanding our virtual offerings to include coaching services, which individuals can access in follow-up to our programs, or as a standalone service. In 2022, our curriculum is further expanding to include Zen Leadership translated and adapted to the LatinX community, an online course on Leadership that Resonates, and further applied programming in social justice, healthcare, and climate action.


Institute for Zen Leadership
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 17.21 over 6 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.9 over 6 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5% over 6 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Institute for Zen Leadership

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Institute for Zen Leadership

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Institute for Zen Leadership

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Institute for Zen Leadership’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $60,901 $22,927 -$15,299 -$67,523 $49,320
As % of expenses 27.1% 13.7% -6.7% -30.3% 20.0%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $60,901 $22,927 -$15,299 -$67,523 $49,320
As % of expenses 27.1% 13.7% -6.7% -30.3% 20.0%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $285,789 $190,138 $213,162 $155,271 $308,140
Total revenue, % change over prior year 0.0% -33.5% 12.1% -27.2% 98.5%
Program services revenue 40.3% 52.3% 48.0% 51.2% 37.1%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 53.9% 36.2% 37.3% 36.8% 55.8%
Other revenue 5.8% 11.5% 14.6% 12.0% 7.1%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $224,888 $167,211 $227,388 $222,794 $247,023
Total expenses, % change over prior year 0.0% -25.6% 36.0% -2.0% 10.9%
Personnel 32.2% 32.4% 66.6% 70.4% 62.1%
Professional fees 33.0% 13.9% 7.2% 6.7% 21.7%
Occupancy 0.0% 0.0% 1.2% 1.7% 1.6%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2%
Pass-through 6.2% 9.0% 11.0% 9.0% 2.4%
All other expenses 28.6% 44.7% 14.1% 12.3% 12.0%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $224,888 $167,211 $227,388 $222,794 $247,023
One month of savings $18,741 $13,934 $18,949 $18,566 $20,585
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $26,665
Fixed asset additions $0 $1,073 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $243,629 $182,218 $246,337 $241,360 $294,273

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 5.8 10.5 8.6 4.1 6.7
Months of cash and investments 5.8 10.5 8.6 4.1 6.7
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 6.2 10.0 6.6 3.1 5.2
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $109,397 $145,753 $162,273 $75,905 $137,836
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $9,327 $3,548 $0 $14,875 $4,593
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $0 $1,073 $1,073 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 0.0% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 1.5% 7.0% 23.2% 38.1% 5.4%
Unrestricted net assets $0 $0 $124,587 $57,064 $106,384
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $28,330
Total net assets $116,959 $139,886 $124,587 $57,064 $134,714

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization


Ms Ginny Whitelaw

Ginny Whitelaw began her Zen training under Tanouye Roshi and Hosokawa Roshi, and continued under Greene Roshi, from whom she received inka. Whitelaw Roshi was ordained as a priest in the Chozen-ji line of Rinzai Zen in 1996. She is also the President of Focus Leadership, and has, for nearly 25 years, developed leaders at top global companies. She has authored 4 books including, The Zen Leader, and co-developed the FEBI® – a personality assessment linking mind and body. Formerly the Deputy Manager for integrating NASA’s Space Station Program, she holds a Ph.D. in biophysics, a B.S. in physics, and a 5th degree black belt in Aikido.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Institute for Zen Leadership

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Institute for Zen Leadership

Board of directors
as of 06/27/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Ms Kate Watters

Crude Accountability

Term: 2019 -

Gordon Greene

International Zen Dojo Wisconsin

Ginny Whitelaw

Institute for Zen Leadership

Cristina Nakano

Kristi Crymes

Cynthia Haq

UC Irvine

Rebecca Ryan

Next Generation Consulting

Bob Caron

Ignite Your Way

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/31/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


No data

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

There are no contractors recorded for this organization.

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser