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December Newsletter


As 2018 winds down, it is natural to reflect upon the experiences of this past year. At GWI, we have been delighted to get to know many more of our neighbors as we continue to learn about the opportunities and challenges faced within the Hudson Valley. We are grateful for the learning journey taken by the over 60 new members of the Good Work Fellowship. We are excited to see fellows supporting each other and connecting to initiate new collaborative efforts throughout the region. And most of all, we are hopeful and inspired by the “I want to be a part of this!” response we hear from many who are just learning about our work. In reflecting on the collective impact of our community in 2018, we see so many new possibilities for more good work in the year ahead. Let’s keep the conversation going, continue rolling up our sleeves, and stay connected to one another.

We wish you a joyous end of the year!

Place Corps: New Place-based Gap Year Program

For the past year, we have been working with two past fellows and their organizations, Martin Ping from Hawthorne Valley Association and Dawn Breeze from Instar Lodge, on a new program designed to equip young adults, aged 18-25, with the skills, wisdom, and connections needed to live and work in ways that make their lives, their communities, and the earth thrive. We are thrilled to announce that Place Corps, a residential, gap year program based at Hawthorne Valley, a 900-acre biodynamic farm in Ghent, NY, is launching in June 2019!

Place Corps’ mission is to cultivate a calling to know, love, and serve our places, and over the course of 11 months, participants will construct their own eco-campus, grow their own food, and self-design study plans with the guidance of accomplished practitioners and organizations working at the forefront of new economics, biodynamics, permaculture, mindfulness, and regenerative design.

Applications are being accepted now; learn more at

Good Work Fellowship Update

The 5th cohort of Good Work Fellows at our Kick-off Retreat at Garrison Institute.

From Susan, our Learning Director: The 5th cohort of the Good Work Fellowship is in full swing! The Fellowship kicked off with a retreat at the Garrison Institute in October and our time together since been jam-packed with good work: establishing context, building relationships, creating working agreements, developing awareness to integrate issues of equity into collaborative efforts, exploring skills in conscious communication, and playing and laughter!

Fellows recently completed the first of two Place Inquiries, where as part of a small group they worked to gather information and conduct interviews to deepen place-based understanding. The inquiries focused on topics like: bridging community gaps between old and new, busing, untapped skills and talent, composting, inclusive gathering spaces, planning processes, exploring legacy and empowerment, and forms of access to power. The results of this learning was shared and celebrated with with the full cohort at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center in Kingston in November. The fellows have now begun work on the second Place Inquiry, where they will identify and work with an aligned community partner whose efforts they can support and amplify over the course a two-month collaboration.

Vonda Brunstig: GWI’s Newest Board Member

We welcome Vonda Brunstig to the Good Work Institute Board of Directors!

We are very pleased to introduce you to GWI’s newest board member, Vonda Brunstig. Vonda is a GWI fellow and a resident of Beacon, NY. She also brings incredible insight and experience to the Good Work Institute, especially as we deepen our work addressing climate and ecology in the context of a broken economic system that continues to damage both.

Currently, she works with the Initiative for Responsible Investment at the Center for Public Leadership of the Harvard Kennedy School. In partnership with the Grantham Institute at LSE, she is launching a project on Investing in the Just Transition, which aims to build a clean energy economy that works for communities and working people. Previously, she was director of the Capital Stewardship Program Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Vonda served as a trustee on the SEIU Master Trust Pension Plan and on the board of the Council of Institutional Investors.

Welcome Vonda!

Community Events & Offerings

To Know the Light @ Wired Gallery in High Falls
“To go in the dark with a light is to know the light,” writes Wendell Berry. Wired Gallery’s end-of-the-year show brings together 15 area artists (including three Hudson Valley Fellows) in a celebration of light and dark through nature-connected art in a variety of media. Viewing at Wired Galleryby appointment only, now through April 21st.


The Drawdown Kitchen @ CO. Workspace in Rhinebeck, 12/8
The choices we make in the kitchen, from what we eat to what we do with the waste we leave behind, have broad implications on the climate and ecology of the Earth. Using Paul Hawken’s inspired book, Drawdown, as a guide, participants will explore the climatic impacts of agriculture and our dietary choices, and then, together, enjoy a single meal that can reverse global warming, support our local farming community, and cultivate a healthy body. Learn more and RSVP for this free event here.


Day 1 @ The Riverport Wooden Boat School in Kingston, 1/1
Every year on January 1 at 1 p.m., locals gather to walk in solidarity and unity, putting aside what divides us and focusing on what unites us – our humanity. Day 1 recognizes that there are 364 other days to discuss the issues, exchange ideas and work on solutions. This is not a protest and there is no agenda. This year, the gathering spot is at the The Riverport Wooden Boat School at noon. Food and drinks will be provided by Bread Alone. At 1 p.m., the group will walk to BSP in Uptown Kingston and at approximately 3:30 p.m., there will be a viewing of the film “Disturbing The Peace”


SAVE THE DATE: GWI’s Welcome to 2019 Happy Hour in Kingston, 1/9
Join us in welcoming in the New Year with friends in the Good Work Institute community! Enjoy a beverage on us, along with some appetizers, and the company of friends who are a part of this network of people committed to creating a regenerative Hudson Valley. Event details to be confirmed shortly on our Facebook page

A roundup of GWI news, including general announcements, reflections from our team, and links to resources.

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