Alnoba was built by the Lewis Family Foundation (LFF) North with the goal of creating a special place for the community, organizations and families to gather, share, learn and hopefully be inspired to help change people’s lives and save the earth we share. All proceeds from Alnoba are donated to support programming for Seacoast New Hampshire and Boston city youths and nonprofits. Alnoba’s 14,000 sq. ft. Passive House will be the first of its kind in the Northeast.
Alan and Harriet Lewis established the Lewis Family Foundation (LFF) back in 1981 with a strategic focus on four areas:
- Land Conservation: Saving the Earth we Share,
- Leadership Development: Creating strong leaders and strong communities,
- Health and Nutrition: Supporting local food, mindfulness practices, and
- Integration of Art and Nature for reflection and Inspiration.
Since then, the LFF has donated or pledged more than $164 million to conservation, cultural and educational organizations worldwide, including more than 80 rural and urban schools and villages. Over the years, the LFF has expanded to include the Grand Circle Foundation, Pinnacle Leadership Foundation, The Farm at Eastman’s Corner, Alnoba and the Lewis Family Foundation.
Alan and Harriet founded Kensington Investment Company (KIC) in 1982 with the vision of creating the leading socially responsible real estate and investment firm. They leverage their resources and leadership by partnering with diverse socially responsible organizations to enhance and enrich people’s lives.
Then in 1985, the Lewises bought Grand Circle Travel, the first in a family of travel companies that has branched out to comprise Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle Cruise Lines. Today, Grand Circle Corporation is a $700 million organization, specializing in providing international travel, adventure and discovery for Americans over 50—114,500 travelers in 2015 alone—but their mission is much larger than travel arrangements. Their goal is to help change people’s lives—not only through the journeys GCC provides but also through their workplace, their conservation work and their philanthropy. Committed to hands-on philanthropy and volunteerism, Alan and Harriet founded a community service program for Grand Circle associates through which more than 90% of their employees give back to their community each year.
The LFF North refers to the Foundation’s business ventures and charitable operations in Alan Lewis’ hometown of Kensington, New Hampshire. The first of these ventures was the establishment of the Pinnacle Leadership Center in 1993 on the Lewises’ property in Kensington. Pinnacle provides a place, program and people to advance their vision to develop strong leaders and teams.
In 2008, LFF North gave land and funding for a town park in Kensington. Spanning 35 acres, Sawyer Park—named after Alan’s Kensington forebears—is an organically managed recreation area for children and their families.
In 2012, they established The Farm at Eastman’s Corner as a model for economic and environmental sustainability and education. A community-governed nonprofit, the Farm includes a year-round farmers’ market, 10 greenhouses, the Kensington Food Barn, The Animal Yard and a community gathering space. All profit and 5% of each sale from The Farm goes to support Sawyer Park. The Farm is also the exclusive caterer for programs and events at Alnoba.
In September 2016, LFF opens Alnoba—the culmination of the Lewis family’s dream to create positive change in the world. It is a dream that grew in vision and urgency as they explored the world and other cultures, met with leaders, writers and healers, and worked to improve their community. It has its roots in the belief that there is value in slowing down and taking time to reflect on our lives and what is truly important, to examine what brings meaning to our lives. It is from these roots that we can authentically take action in the world, restoring balance in our lives and bringing healing to our neighborhoods, our communities and our planet.
Over the past 75 years our way of life has been radically altered. We live in a world of rapid global change driven by a relentless avalanche of advances in science and technology. We are constantly connected to or distracted by some kind of device. The rise of social media has delivered the ability to text and tweet instantly and incessantly. All this has changed the way we interact with each other and ourselves; but at what cost? In a world pulsing with communication, we are at risk of losing our ability to make meaningful connections, the kind of connections that deepen our human experience and facilitate personal growth and compassion.
Now more then ever, it is critical to reflect on the direction we are so rapidly moving toward and take action to restore our connections and reestablish balance in our lives. It is because of this belief that the Lewis Family established Alnoba as a learning laboratory where people and organizations can explore, reflect on and connect with their core beliefs and values.
Alnoba Gathering Place
Alnoba’s main building provides a warm, inviting, natural space for contemplative programing, community gatherings and group meetings. It is built with restored New England timber and is the first Passive House of its kind in the Northeast.
The Farm at Eastman’s Corner
The Farm is a model for year-round food production, education, and economic and environmental sustainability. The Farm supplies food for the Lodge.
Sawyer Park is a 30-acre facility that serves as a destination for parents and children looking for a safe, clean place to meet and play. Built in 2008 by the Lewis family, the park’s amenities includes: three lit athletic fields, playground, skateboard park, bandstand, concession stand, restrooms, and pavilion. The Farm store donates all its profits and 5% of its gross sales to the endowment of Sawyer Park.
Alnoba’s Pinnacle Leadership Center
Launched in 1993, The Pinnacle Leadership Center uses experiential learning in nature, the classroom and on a professional ropes course to help groups focus on team building, leadership development, and strategy and planning. Pinnacle serves over 100 nonprofits and leaders each year and is the leader in serving nonprofit youths.
Film and Social Activism
Alnoba seeks to inspire social change through the support of conservation media training, with their residence and film programs in New Hampshire. Recognizing the power of video to compel individuals into action The Lewis Family Foundation has a partnership with Conservation Media Group.