Betty Bland – USA
Member support, in all its forms, is so very important to the future of the Society, but without the support of two very important funds we would not be where we are today. The first, The Kern Foundation (KF), is often misunderstood both in its scope and operation. KF and TSA are two independent entities with mutual purposes. KF was established by Herbert A. Kern, Sr., in 1959 as a legacy bequest to create an independent foundation, managed by bank trustees, with his two sons, John C. Kern and Herbert A. Kern, Jr., as individual trustees. In addition John Kern was named as advisor to advocate for the needs of Theosophy. The first of several stipulations of the KF trust document is that “Funds should not be used for the construction or reconstruction of buildings.”
The basic objective of the KF, as specified in the trust, “is to aid spiritual enlightenment of as many people as practical by exposing them to the theosophical philosophy.” At the time of creating the KF Mr. Kern felt that one of the ways his aims could best be accomplished was by assisting the TSA with special emphasis on reader activities. Without that support the TSA’s publishing enterprises could not have achieved their current levels of outreach to the public and would not continue to exist.
Herbert Kern’s older son John has served as family advisor since the inception of KF. He is an appreciated advisor, encourager, and long time friend of the Society. His presence has been and is invaluable in challenging the National Board and staff to try innovative approaches and to strive for excellence in all programs. KF encourages, but never dictates or establishes policy; it never attempts to develop programs of its own, but always acts as a supportive partner, providing financial assistance for selected TSA activities. Although KF is an important resource, it has only a certain amount of funds, certainly less during stringent economic downturns such as the current crisis. The Society has been blessed over the years with the support and challenges the KF has provided.
Who is Betty Bland?
Betty Bland, National President of the Theosophical Society in America, is a national lecturer for the Society, and has presented workshops and lectures on the spiritual life both in the United States and abroad. Her professional life has included work as a teacher, employment counselor, systems analyst, and entrepreneur. She is interested in the practical application of theosophical principles to everyday life situations. Serving also on the Boards of Directors of the Theosophical Order of Service and Theosophical Book Gift Institute, she has been a member of the Society since 1970, and has served in many capacities for local and regional activities.