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. He imagined that this site could be a center for work in healing people and healing the earth.
Michael joined with two friends, child care worker Carolyn Brown and conservationist Burr Heneman, to create Commonweal. After negotiations with RCA and Trust for Public Lands, Commonweal was given a 50-year lease on 60 acres as the site became the southern end of the Point Reyes National Seashore. Commonweal’s site includes a main office building, our Retreat Center, and a permaculture garden.
Commonweal works in four core fields—healing, environment and health, education, and justice. Within those four 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.