What does it mean to be successful? The Good Work Institute (GWI) is redefining our notion of success in the Hudson Valley—in our lives, businesses, and communities.
Executive Director Matt Stinchcomb started the Good Work Institute as the non-profit arm of Etsy, the mission-driven online marketplace that fosters creative entrepreneurship. Stinchcomb wanted to move beyond profit and focus more on purpose-driven entrepreneurship.
“Our goal is to connect, inspire, and develop communities of people seeking positive change in the Hudson Valley,” Stinchcomb explains. “The Good Work Institute supports their individual and collaborative commitments to working in ways that are regenerative for themselves, their neighbors, and the Earth.”
The 2016 Hudson Valley Fellowship wrapped up last month and brought together 34 local leaders, entrepreneurs, and non-profits committed to building a sustainable and regenerative economy and community in and around the Hudson River Watershed. Unlike other leadership or business training programs, the GWI’s approach is designed to be participatory and experiential. During the six-month program, participants work in ways that regenerate themselves, their enterprises, their communities, and the Hudson Valley.
The Garrison Institute believes that the key to building a compassionate and resilient future starts with transforming our inner lives and tapping the power of contemplation. When Stinchcomb first visited the Garrison Institute, he recognized GWI’s mission in the “good work” we do at the Institute and asked me to join the 2016 Hudson Valley Fellowship on behalf of the Institute. GWI will be hosting various sessions of future fellowships at the Institute.
“I can think of few organizations more aligned, if any, than the Garrison Institute,” Stinchcomb remarked. “We are honored to be partnering with the Institute to collaborate on our shared commitment to building compassionate, regenerative, and equitable communities in the Hudson Valley and around the world.”
At the end of the Fellowship, participants were asked to make a “Good Work Commitment” to set our visions for contributing to an equitable and regenerative Hudson Valley commitment into action. The Garrison Institute will be working with everyone from the Fellowship to develop programs, build community, and weave networks in the Hudson Valley to foster collaboration, community, and compassion.
Martin Ping is the Executive Director of the Hawthorne Valley Association, a nonprofit organization promoting social and cultural renewal through the integration of education, agriculture, and the arts. Ping helped shape the program’s content and hosted our first session.
“The shared imaginations, intentions, and commitments of all gave rise to an elevated awareness of the emergent ecosystem of collaboration that will be foundational in co-creating a vibrant future for the Hudson Valley,” said Ping. “I enthusiastically look forward to the good work ahead!” Ping was so taken with the Garrison Institute experience that he held his recent staff retreat at the Institute.
Jason Schuler is the founder and CEO of More Good, a Hudson Valley business that uses locally sourced and organic ingredients to create hand-crafted soda syrup concentrates, tea and tisane concentrates, and bitters. His company is committed to operating a profitable bottom line, while maintaining a high level of social responsibility—a natural fit for the GWI’s Hudson Valley program.
“Having the opportunity to work with the GWI and getting to know the Hudson Valley cohorts was a refreshing dose of hope and inspiration for me in the relentlessly challenging world of social entrepreneurship,” said Schuler.
Our staff welcomed the 2016 Hudson Valley cohort with open arms when the participants convened at the Garrison Institute for one of their overnight programs.
Judy Wicks was one of the speakers during that program. Wicks founded the White Dog Cafe in 1983 on the first floor of her house on a row of Victorian brownstones in West Philadelphia. After helping to save her block from demolition, Judy grew what began as a tiny muffin shop into a 200-seat restaurant-one of the first to feature local, organic, and humane food. The restaurant blossomed into a regional hub for community, and a national powerhouse for modeling socially responsible business.
As Wicks wrote in her book, Good Morning, Beautiful Business: The Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer, “Business, I learned is about relationships. Money is simply a tool. What matters most with everyone we buy from, sell to, and work with—and our relationship with Earth itself. My business was the way I expressed my love of life, and that’s what made it a thing of beauty.”
Together with the Good Work Institute, the Garrison Institute is committed to those on the front lines of social change and regeneration in our community and the world. We hope to transform all businesses into a thing of beauty.
Good Work: Hudson Valley ’16
John Sirabella is the Garrison Institute’s Marketing and Communications Director.
Top image: Courtesy of Franco Vogt
Photo of Martin Ping: Courtesy of Jennifer May
Video courtesy of Isaac Green Diebboll of ENGN, an educational organization for social, civic, and creative investigation, in Callicoon, NY.
Everyone Featured in Top Image: The Fall 2016 Cohort photographed at Catskill Center in Arkville on November 17. From left: Grace Lodge, community manager at Good Work Institute; Ken Greene, founder of Hudson Valley Seed Company; Decora, hip-hop artist, DJ, emcee, producer, and performance poet; Michael Pergola, The Inn at Shaker Mill Farm; Isaac Green Diebboll, Founder of ENGN, volunteer firefighter at Hortonville Volunteer Fire Company, Human Rights Commission of Sullivan County board member; Michelle Hughes, director of investments and partnerships at National Young Farmer’s Coalition; Triona Fritsch, site lead at Etsy Hudson; Matt Stinchcomb, executive director at Good Work Institute; Laurie Perrone, founder and creative director of Farm2Fashion; Dawn Breeze, artist and founder of Creativity & Courage and Instar Lodge; John Sirabella, marketing and communications director at the Garrison Institute; Shawn Berry, partner and co-founder at Lift Economy; Lucinda Poindexter, project manager at Chester Agricultural Center; Lindsey Jakubowski, owner and general manager at Kriemhild Dairy; Philippe Pierre, owner of Ms. Fairfax, Palate Wines & Spirits; Akemi Hiatt, creative director and co-owner at Hidden Gears; Kathleen Finlay, President of Glynwood Farm; Gregg Osofsky, co-founder of Watershed Center; Mariel Fiori, managing editor of La Voz; Aaron Latos, co-founder, sound engineer, and musician at YouThere; Stella Yoon, co-founder and director of operations at Hudson River Exchange; Megan Offner, founder of New York Heartwoods; Eugenia Manwelyan, co-founder of Arts and Ecology, social choreographer, director of EcoPracticum, faculty member of School of the Apocalypse; Micah Blumenthal, co-owner of CIXdesigns, rocket scientist for O+ Festival; Austin Dubois, partner and attorney at Blustein, Shapiro, Rich, & Barone, LLP; Jason Schuler, founder and president of More Good; Patti Wilcox, co-founder of Gravity Cider; Leigh Melander, founding fomenter and CEO at Spillian; Justin Goldman, The Bank of Greene County; Joe Concra, painter and founder of O+ Festival; Erica Dorn, managing director at Good Work Institute; Bob Dandrew, executive director of the Local Economies Project; Erik Johanson, advocacy and outreach at Catskill Center; Kale Kaposhilin, co-founder Evolving Media Network, Hudson Valley Tech Meetup, and Catskills Conf; Not pictured: Agnes Devereux, owner of The Village Tea Room Restaurant and Bake Shop; Simon Abramson, associate director of Wild Earth; Martin Ping, executive director of Hawthorne Valley Association.