A photo from the grounds of Stonehedge Gardens and Holistic Learning Center
Stonehedge Gardens and Holistic Learning Center is a 21.5-acre, landscaped sanctuary with walking trails, ponds, and perennial gardens that aims to bring people together to heal, inspire, and thrive. Located in Tamaqua, in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Stonehedge provides a healing, sacred, inclusive environment for the cultivation of community and personal transformation through wellness, art, holistic education, and connection with nature.
Founded by two local artists and avid gardeners, Stonehedge has a 50+ year history of hosting events and programs on holistic wellness, art, music, and permaculture. Stonehedge Gardens, Inc. was established as a nonprofit in 1998 to support the development of this programming, and in 2021, Stonehedge Public Benefit Corporation was created as a social enterprise to enhance the overall experience of coming to Stonehedge through the development of a natural food café, a “glamping” venue, and an expanded retail operation.
In this Q&A, Thomas Moroz, founder and director at Stonehedge Holistic Learning Center, shares a bit about his recent fundraising journey, and how being a part of a supportive entrepreneurial community has helped him and his colleagues stay positive and overcome challenges along the way.
How would you describe your experience as you’ve worked to raise funds for Stonehedge over the past year?
When I talk with others about my fundraising journey this past year, I tell them it’s like going through my MBA program all over again, but this time with more focus and purpose. I worked in corporate finance for many years and then in finance for a large, international human rights foundation, but I really felt my passion and purpose when it came to raising funds for Stonehedge. In the past, I felt I was playing a supporting role for someone else’s vision, but this time I was working toward fulfilling my vision for Stonehedge, a place that has been a great influence in my life since I was a teenager. The journey has been challenging, but rewarding at the same time.
What’s helped you get through the challenges?
One of the early pieces of advice Jenny shared with us is that we needed to celebrate the milestones achieved on the way to our final funding goal. This advice has kept my partners and me on the path from milestone to milestone as we get closer to our final goal.
How has the support of mentors and investors helped you succeed?
We’ve gotten excellent guidance from Jenny and her amazing team of advisors. The process and all of the expert advice we received along the way has helped us tighten up our vision and present it more clearly to others.
We’ve also been inspired by the other social entrepreneurs who share their journeys on our weekly coaching calls. The inspiration comes from knowing there are others out there pursuing their dreams for a better world, and the feeling that we are all in this together. That’s quite a shift from the thinking that business is all about competition. I do feel we are entering a new era of cooperation and using business as a force for good in our communities.
How do you see the practices and core values of your business as distinct from the “business as usual” status quo?
The old idea has always been if you want to do good in the world, you create a nonprofit and raise funding through donations and grants. We are a member of the Holistic Centers Network, a network of around 150 centers from around the world, and most of them are structured as nonprofits.
We were originally structured as a nonprofit, but we are doing something unique in our next iteration. We will continue our nonprofit arm, which is focused on creating inspirational programming, while Stonehedge PBC focuses on enhancing the overall experience of coming to Stonehedge and creating an operation that can help support our local artists and farmers.