Members Make Omega Available to More People

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Thanks to members like you, Omega's Community Engagement Program is growing. You help us fulfill our mission of awakening the best in the human spirit and together we can increase our impact in the world. 

Since hosting our first programs in 1977, Omega has worked to enrich our offerings and expand our reach. We know we can’t change the world alone and thanks to our ever-growing community of members and other donors, today we offer nearly $1 million annually in nonprofit retreat grants, underwritten programs, and a robust scholarship fund. Our scholarships alone increase access to more than 80 workshops—almost a quarter of our 2019 program offerings.

Nonprofit Retreats Help Connect a Community of Change Leaders

Since 2005, more than 350 large and small nonprofit organizations with over 5,000 staff, board members, volunteers, and constituents have come to Omega for Nonprofit Retreats to recharge and reflect, strategize and plan, and network and collaborate. Each organization is given a grant to underwrite their stay on campus. The organization creates its own self-led retreat and Omega facilities and amenities are available to them, affording them the opportunity to gather with, and learn from, other participating organizations. 

The Norwich, Connecticut-based Reliance Health runs over 30 mental health programs that serve more than 1,000 adults each year. In 2017, 18 staff and board members came to Omega to re-envision their wellness initiative, which provides practical tools for health and wellness to hundreds of people each day.

"During our retreat we not only achieved our goal, we exceeded all of our expectations! We developed a plan to host a wellness retreat that will recreate our Omega Institute experience for the individuals we serve," they reported.

During Nonprofit Retreats, many organizations gather under the umbrella of one of two summits held—the Strengthening Communities Summit, which explores a range of social, economic, or environmental issues, and the Women Serving Women Summit, which is hosted by the Omega Women’s Leadership Center and focuses on supporting organizations that are working to positively impact the lives of women.

Underwritten Programs Create Opportunity

Retreat for Veterans is one workshop that generous donors help make possible for participants like Owen Hartley, a former United States Army infantryman for more than 21 years. His experiences at Omega in 2017 and 2018 helped him open up about his struggles and renewed his commitment to holistic practices like yoga and mindfulness for healing PTSD.

“I believe these practices are 'the way,' or the right path into understanding who we are on a very personal level,” said Owen, who struggled with civilian life following his service. “To learn more about what makes us tick can help us understand and answer many of our most difficult questions.”

Scholarships That Get Personal

By the time Mary Greenwood arrived at Deepak Chopra’s Future of Well-Being workshop in June 2018, the trained chaplain, yoga teacher, and mother of two daughters was exhausted. She emerged, however, with over 70 pages of notes on the five pillars of well-being, which include sleep, stress management, movement, positive emotions, and good nutrition.

“I could not have attended if it hadn’t been for the scholarship,” she explained. "I know that the weekend and the content of the weekend have been embodied in my mind, body, and spirit. It will come up again and again to fuel and nourish me as I move forward," she said. 

Scholarship recipient Melissa Burgess was a graduate student studying contemporary women’s life writing when she attended Lynda Barry's Writing the Unthinkable workshop. 

“Working with Lynda helped build my confidence and encouraged me to take risks and experiment with my writing and creative processes,” said Melissa, who relied on the strategies she learned in Lynda’s workshop as she was finishing her dissertation, preparing for her defense, and later applying for a staff position at Saint Louis University. “The experience of working with Lynda has continued to help me as a writer and has made me more confident as a person,” she said.

In 2019, scholarships from Omega’s newly established endowment, the George Kaufman Endowed Scholarship, will help an even greater number of participants find insight and inspiration. Named for Omega’s former general counsel, board chair, and chief fundraiser, the scholarship is intended to make it possible for more people like Mary, Melissa, and Owen to experience life-changing programs and practices. 

“Our learning environment is enriched when a wide variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and identities are represented,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega. "We are so grateful for our members’ generous support, which helps to make this possible."