The Tsoknyi Nuns

    Cultivating Enlightenment in Female Form

Tsoknyi Humanitarian Foundation

“The expression of Dharma through the female form is an important and unique contribution. Qualities such as gentleness, loving care and energy are so strong in the female form, and very healing for the world.”

Since 2011, Tsoknyi Humanitarian Foundation aspires to radically improve the spiritual, educational, cultural, and material welfare of girls and women from the Himalayan region of Nepal. Our goal is to provide the same secular education and monastic training for women that has too often been reserved exclusively for men. The Tsoknyi Humanitarian Foundation supports over 250 nuns in 3 nunneries in Nepal.

Our efforts include the education of girls and women and building an endowment to support the nunneries under the direction of Tsoknyi Rinpoche including their schools, monastic colleges, retreat centers, and campus facilities. By uniting authentic spiritual lineages from the Tibetan tradition with high quality modern secular education, the nuns will be empowered to cultivate love and compassion and acquire the practical tools needed to express it in the world.





  • Unite the power of authentic Buddhist practice with the benefits of a contemporary education for the nuns of Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
  • Secure the nuns’ physical and financial well-being 
  • Sustain their nunneries as centers of cultural preservation and spiritual excellence
  • Inspire an international community of dedicated supporters, donors, and volunteers

Unite ● Secure ● Sustain ● Inspire



  • To support the spiritual development, cultural legacy, health, and education of girls and women from the Himalayan region of Nepal.
  • To unite the authentic spiritual lineages of the Tibetan tradition with the benefits of a contemporary education in the arts, science, and technology, 
  • To support & maintain the gompas as centers of cultural preservation and spiritual excellence
  • To coordinate & assist the continued growth of a global community of caring supporters and donors
  • From 2020 Strategic Plan:
    1. Maintain safe, healthy facilities for the education of Himalayan girls and for the higher education and spiritual training of the Tsoknyi Nuns.
    2. Create opportunities for the nuns to engage with and teach to a worldwide audience.
    3. Build THF into an organization which inspires a community of stakeholders and is regarded and esteemed by other Dharma organizations as a reliable source of information.
    4. Uphold THF to the highest professional standard.
    5. Sustain the financial well being of the nuns in perpetuity through the endowment fund.


THF is dedicated to: 

  • Preserving the cultural heritage of Tibetan Buddhism and the Tsoknyi, Drukpa Kagyu, and Nyingma lineages. (or Traditional Himalayan Buddhism)
  • Preserving the very precious and rare lineages held by Tsoknyi Rinpoche
  • Advancing racial and gender equity
  • Creating equal opportunity for women to advance their studies in Tibetan Buddhism (or traditional Himalayan Buddhism) that has been traditionally reserved for men.
  • Empowering women and girls from remote Himalayan regions with a high quality, modern education.
  • Empowering the Tsoknyi Nuns through education and physical security to study and practice the highest teachings of Tibetan Buddhism (or Traditional Himalayan Buddhism)
  • Providing opportunities for these women and girls as educated global citizens, agents of change in their communities, and models of compassion for all
  • Cultivate lifelong learning and living the enlightened tradition of Dharma in the female form


Board Members:

Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Chairman – Tsoknyi Rinpoche lll, born in Nubri, Nepal, is the son of the late Dzogchen Yogi Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Educated by many of the greatest Nyingma and Kagyu masters in Nepal, India, and Tibet, Rinpoche is loved by students around the world. Rinpoche upholds the Tsoknyi Lineage, providing spiritual and material support for nuns in Nangchen and Nepal.

Owsley Brown, President – Owsley is devoted to sustaining healthy communities by enhancing cultural, spiritual, and civic life. In addition to his volunteer time working with foundations and nonprofit boards, he is a documentary filmmaker, a student of theology and the spiritual path, and the leader of exploratory projects in the community.  In his beloved hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, Owsley is known as host and producer of the Festival of Faiths, a founding board member of the Kentucky School of Art and Design, and Chair of the Compassionate Schools Project, the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of an integrated health and wellness curriculum in an elementary school setting.  Owsley also serves on the boards of the University of Virginia’s Contemplative Sciences Center, Mind and Life Institute, Sustainable Food Alliance, Center for Interfaith Relations, and Roxie Theater.  He is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

Julie Green, Treasurer – Julie has been a devoted student of Tsoknyi Rinpoche since 1999. After she sold her business in 2003, she volunteered to help the Pundarika Foundation raise funds for the Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns and traveled to Nangchen, Tibet in 2005 with the group that filmed the documentary, “Blessings”. In 2011, Julie, Jean Chang and Tsoknyi Rinpoche formed a new charitable organization, The Tsoknyi Nepal Nuns, to help support and build a home for the Tsoknyi Nuns on Chobar Hill, Nepal including a school for 82 little girls that had arrived early in 2011. The plan was to include all of Rinpoche’s supporting organizations in this effort. Julie served as Executive Director for 9 years and stepped down in 2020. Living in Steamboat Springs, CO she continues on the Board serving as Treasurer and is as enthusiastic as ever about Rinpoche’s vision for Himalayan girls and female monastics. Julie feels that being given the chance to do this work has been the most meaningful experience of her life.

Michael Kunkel, Secretary – Protecting public lands, supporting federal wilderness designations, sustainable energy use, community recycling programs, and affordable housing for all walks of life are an integral part of Michael’s life. Since moving to Salida Colorado in 1999, Michael co-founded Friends of Browns Canyon in 2002 now a US National Monument. He served as president of Chaffee County Citizens for Recycling, improving recycling services throughout the county. He has also served as a Chaffee County Mentor, and helped pioneer Level 3 solar powered charging stations in central Colorado. Internationally, Michael has volunteered on water and sanitation projects in Bolivia, Mexico and Nepal. Michael attended his first Pundarika retreat in 2001, later joining Pundarika as a board member in 2006. After the Nepal/Bhutan pilgrimage in 2011, Michael also joined the THF board. Michael holds a B.A. in economics from Colorado College and operates Lifestream Water Systems in Salida. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family traveling, fishing, climbing and exploring the off-the-beaten-track areas of the western US.

Babo Harrison, Member at Large – 

Kristen Rockford, Operations Manager – 
Marjorie Wilcox, Bookkeeper – 



Accountability, transparency, and governance are at the center of everything we do.  THF adheres to the 33 Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice as developed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector including:

  • Legal Compliance and Public Disclosure
  • Effective Governance
  • Strong Financial Oversight
  • Responsible Fundraising
To read our Code of Conduct, click HERE.
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