About Us

Commonweal Staff, Oct. 19, 2011

Commonweal’s vision is to engage in educational, charitable, and research activities that contribute to the health of individuals, to public health, and to the health of the global environment.

Who Are We?

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.

Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm PST.

Our Location

Commonweal is located on a beautiful 60-acre site at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in the Point Reyes National Seashore. We have many photographs of our historic buildings and the natural beauty surrounding them.

PO Box 316
Bolinas, CA 94924
415-868-0970 p
415-868-2230 f

  • Download a map with driving directions from San Francisco, East Bay, and San Rafael
  • Click here for driving directions from Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Vallejo

Executive Staff

  • President and Co-Founder: Michael Lerner
  • Managing Director: Arlene Allsman
  • Chief Financial Officer: Vanessa Marcotte
  • Chief Strategies Officer: Oren Slozberg
  • General Manager: Waz Thomas

Board of Directors

  • Susan Braun
  • Lindy Rose Graham
  • Eric Karpeles
  • Martin Krasney
  • Michael Lerner
  • Hanmin Liu
  • Tom Sargent
  • Beth Setrakian
  • Janet Visick

Office Staff

  • Office Manager: Ayn Plant
  • Grants Administrator: Diane Blacker
  • Bookkeepers: Phil Buchanan and Patty Schmidt
  • Volunteer Coordinator: Shelia Opperman 

Financial Statements