Commonweal is a nonprofit center in Bolinas, California, located at the southern entrance of the Point Reyes National Seashore. Founded in 1976, the organization works for the “commonweal,” the well-being of the community of life on earth through programs in health, education, and the environment.
Commonweal started with a vision. In 1975, Michael Lerner was walking at the edge of the small coastal town of Bolinas just north of San Francisco. He looked out across grasslands and woods at an old RCA radio transmitter facility on a bluff overlooking the ocean and imagined that the site could be a center for healing people and the earth.
Michael joined with two friends, child care worker Carolyn Brown and conservationist Burr Heneman, to create Commonweal. After negotiations with RCA and the Trust for Public Lands, Commonweal was given a 50-year lease on 60 acres. The site includes a main office building, a retreat center, and a permaculture garden.
Today, Commonweal works in three core fields—health and healing, art and education, and environment and justice. Within those fields, Commonweal incubates and supports a dozen different programs including programs in cancer, health-professional education, environmental health, adult learning, yoga, healing nutrition, permaculture gardening, and juvenile justice. We couldn’t do any of this without the support of our foundation and individual donors.