Center for Whole Communities (Fayston, VT)


  • Name:Ms. Ginny McGinn
  • Title:Executive Director

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Center for Whole Communities
  • Address:700 Bragg Hill Road
    Fayston, VT 05673
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:8024965690
  • Main fax:802-496-5687

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Center for Whole Communities' mission is to foster inclusive communities that are strongly rooted in place where all people–regardless of income, race, or background–have access to and a healthy relationship with the natural world. We strengthen the capacities of environmental and social sectors by connecting their leaders, helping them develop more durable responses to problems that cannot adequately be addressed in isolation, and by transforming their movements to act in concert with each other’s goals and aspirations.

  • Overview:
  • Whole Communities is forging new ground through comprehensively designed, transformational retreats that accelerate collaboration and positive change. We have a committed eight-member board of directors and currently employ four full-time, two part-time and five seasonal employees. In addition, we work with three program contractors and twenty faculty members from across the country. Through training and network building, we directly support more than 1,300 leaders working in more than 500 organizations and communities in 47 states.

    Unique to the field of leadership development, each of our programs brings together leaders from all sectors to learn together. Over the past 10 years much of the progressive movement’s leadership development work has been focused primarily on personal transformation – What is my purpose? What is my vision? While we deeply value and embrace the work of personal transformation, Whole Communities’ work is about rooting that transformational experience in the context of work across sectors and difference. An essential step among any group of leaders is building a strong sense of shared, or reciprocal, success: meaning that their success is bound up in the success of others. When we achieve this, positive change is accelerated and communities benefit.

    We equip leaders to fully engage in the communities where they live and work. We go about this in three ways:
    1) Our Whole Thinking Program grounded in the contemplative practices of meditation and dialogue and following our paradigm-shifting curriculum in six-day and two-day formats; 2) Whole Measures, our guide to help organizations and communities redefine the success of their work in a broad, cross-cutting manner that links environmentalism and social justice; and 3) the Advanced Leadership Program, designed to support our alumni on their home turf as change-agents within their own communities, coalitions and organizations.

    During the past year, Center for Whole Communities’ major accomplishments included: Held 4 Whole Thinking Retreats for 81 leaders from across the country; Hosted a Wellborn Foundation Retreat for 19 environmental educators and land-based leaders from the Upper Valley in New Hampshire; Hosted 4 Retreats for 79 University of Vermont students studying diversity and the environment; Hosted a New Hampshire Community Fund Recovery Retreat for 12 professionals working in the field of recovery; Held 1 2042 Today: Young Leaders Re-Imagining Conservation retreat for 20 young leaders in collaboration with the Center for Diversity and the Environment; Held the first Urban Whole Thinking Retreat in Detroit, MI, for 19 participants. In addition, CWC served 48 people through its Whole Measures Workshops and Transformational Leadership Workshop.

  • History:
  • Center for Whole Communities’ work began at a single place, Knoll Farm in Fayston, Vermont. The Vermont Land Trust had conserved the historic property, which had been farmed for over two centuries, so that it would not be subdivided and developed. But conservation alone would not keep Knoll Farm healthy. It needed a new vision, and sometimes a story finds the storyteller. In the Mad River Valley, a community of small farms, big mountains and deep woods has yielded to a landscape that struggles to hold it all together: population growth, paved roads, major subdivisions, tourism, vacation homes, and differences of opinion. As a humble response to this American story, Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow, the founders, wanted to do more than just farm. They want to bring as many people as they could to Knoll Farm, to experience what it is to grow one's own food, to find the strength in one another to live in service to their own ideals and vision, and to re-kindle their purpose and passion.

    In 2002, Center for Whole Communities was launched with the first season of Whole Thinking Retreats. The core principles of whole communities work – building healthy relationships between people in support of healthy relationships with the earth – is grounded in systems-thinking, in ecology, and in traditional land-based cultures. The work of the Center began at Knoll Farm not because a farm in Vermont was the right place to launch the mission but because it was an exceptional place that was made affordable to the founders. It was an extraordinary place to begin, which quickly became a soul place for the work.

    During the next six years, the Center refined what would become its core programming, Whole Thinking Retreats, Whole Measures workshops, and Advanced Leadership Retreats. These programs have reached thousands of people working in organizations both large and small across the country. Over the past two years, the leadership of the Center has also been evolving. The founder is taking on new, and somewhat less-visible roles, within the organization, and the executive director is working with staff and board to expand and diversify personnel, partners, and constituencies to ensure that all the places we work are welcoming and inclusive to a diversity of people.

    In 2010, staff, board and faculty put into motion a three-year Breakthrough Campaign during which the Center examined its work both internally and externally to transform that work beyond our roots to break new ground to intentionally transform the structure of the organization to better model its work outside the organization. Since initiating this work, the Center has hired one staff member of color, two interns of color, and seasonal and full-time staff who identify with the LGBTQ community.

    In the winter of 2011, the Center formed the Faculty Advisory Body (FAB), a group that is helping to co-create the recruitment, training, and evaluation process for faculty to professionalize these processes. The FAB will also provide organizational support and consultation as we evolve our curriculum to meet the needs of our alumni and current constituencies.

    As the scope of work has broadened, so has the diversity the people and organizations with whom we are collaborating. Whole Communities’ goal is not to grow in size, but to grow in impact. We want to become a truly intercultural organization of great value to all those who care about the land and about community. Having developed unique and sought-after programs and created a national market for that work, we desire to intentionally re-invent ourselves from a relatively small organization run by founders to a highly professional, intercultural, land-based leadership development organization helping thousands of alumni to do their own breakthrough Whole Communities work.

  • Year established:2003
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:8
  • Advisory board size:
  • Staff size:6


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:51-0462232

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:510462232
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:% VIRGINIA MCGINN
  • Organization Address:PO BOX 5483
  • Organization City:BURLINGTON
  • Organization State:VT
  • Organization Zip:05402-5483
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1, 2
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization, Educational Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:February, 2004
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:March, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:March
  • NTEE Code:C34
  • Asset Amount:$249,260
  • Asset Code:4 ($100,000 - $499,999)
  • Income Amount:$600,685
  • Income Code:5 ($500,000 - $999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$600,685
  • Last Updated:2/19/2018 9:48:39 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.