This is a time for courageous change. Read our 2018 Gratitude Report for stories of transformation, growth, and learning.


“There are so many of us who are committed, and who care. It’s about growing that, and it’s about normalizing that caring about life, and our future, and who we are as human beings, and all life on the planet, is not only normal—it’s the most important thing for us to be engaged in right now.”

—Heather Johnson, Executive Director

Whidbey Institute 2020 - Whidbey Institute

We launched the Whidbey Institute 2020 capacity-building initiative in 2017, with the goal of raising $4.5 million in four years. Together, we’re evolving our Heartand facilities to better serve leaders and learners of all ages and backgrounds; to permanently protect 106 acres of public-access forests and wetlands; and to develop a Storyhouse Campus that honors the passion and potential of youth.

In the first year of this initiative, in partnership with 399 individual donors plus in-kind donors and volunteers, we:

In the coming years, we will:


About Whidbey Institute 2020

Click [ ] icon for fullscreen view

A Multi-Year Project with Three Focus Areas

Legacy Forest Acquisition

Aggregates our 108 acre campus and updates conservation easements throughout.

Heartland Improvements

Scales our main campus facilities up to meet current and near-future demand.

Storyhouse and Youth Campus Upgrades

Supports youth and young adult camps and provides space to prototype new programs.

Legacy Forest Acquisition

“There’s a deep thread of community that makes this place tick and still anchors this place. This land is surrounded—literally, surrounded—by people who came here to be part of this organization, and to continue their love of this land and this place.”

—Robert Mellinger, Land Steward

“Formal inclusion of Legacy Forest as part of the Whidbey Institute guarantees access for future generations to precious and much-loved places, improves our ability as an organization to serve our constituency, and honors the heart and soul of the forest as well as the restorative programmatic work that takes place here.”

—Gabriel Shirley, former board member

Acquisition of 30-Acre Legacy Forest

In November 2015, we entered into a purchase agreement for 30 acres near Storyhouse from founders Fritz and Vivienne Hull. Focus area 1 completes payment for this purchase of this community resource and updates conservation easements across our 106 acre campus—protecting the beloved whole of the Chinook Land. 

The Legacy Forest acquisition aggregates our Clinton campus, including an educational campus and walking trails; creates space for the Institute to welcome more inclusive, cost-accessible youth and social artistry programming; and supports a next generation of leaders through ongoing partnerships with organizations that use the space, including Calyx School, PYE Global, Power of Hope, and the Hull’s Spirit of Legacy program.

Heartland Improvements

“We all know how crazy our world is becoming, and at the same time how critical we are in the tipping points. Many of us know it. Many of us feel it. And there are places where the key work can come together.”

—Ross Chapin, architect

Focus Area 2 increases Heartland-area lodging by 24 guest beds, adds support facilities, and meets the growing needs of current Institute program partners.

These capital investments will create an additional earned income stream, enabling the Institute to move beyond its current reliance on donations to support basic operations and channel donation income into program and scholarship support.

architectural Renderings courtesy Ross Chapin Architects

Click thumbnails below to view gallery

Check out our Facebook photo album from the Meadow Row installation process, November 2017!



Storyhouse Campus Improvements

“How can we live in a way that will really help create a better future—not just for ourselves, but for our young ones and for those coming after?”

—Vivienne Hull, Founder

Focus Area 3, Storyhouse Campus, will support sustainable use by youth and young adult camps and provide space to prototype new programs. Additions will include a bathhouse, commercial kitchen, three-season camping platforms, and caretaker’s cottage. Improvements to the infrastructure, including septic and restroom upgrades, will make the existing Storyhouse a more comfortable community gathering space for local businesses, non-profits, and conversation groups.


Films by Mark Forman


 Building is being strategically staged to occur as funds are raised, bringing earned capital back to the Whidbey Institute on the shortest timeline possible. To accomplish this, we are partnering with allies in green building design, peer networks, individual donors, and corporate and foundation supporters.

Main campus buildout goals include:

  • 24 additional beds (some ADA accessible), primarily configured as private rooms
  • Individual and shared bathrooms
  • Laundry/support facilities
  • Refurbishment of existing residential lodging facilities, including renovations to “Granny’s”
  • A gathering space in the Cabin Village area, to support breakout groups
  • A kitchen facility for small groups and campers

Storyhouse Campus buildout goals include:

  • A bathhouse
  • A commercial kitchen
  • Three season camping platforms
  • A caretaker’s cottage
  • Septic and restroom upgrades to support Storyhouse as a community gathering space

Underlying building goals and principles include:

  • Serving as a living lab for regenerative design
  • An aesthetic informed by the natural beauty of our northwest island
  • Using materials that meet the standards of the Living Buildings Challenge
  • Energy and water use strategies that provide a foundation for the Whidbey Institute to transition to self-sufficiency onsite
  • Facility siting decisions that support real use patterns of the Institute, while also integrating with and respecting the forest ecosystem

Each new bed can generate $12,000–$15,000 in annual income, freeing future contributions to be dedicated to scholarships, new program development, and land care.