GWI strives for a world in which all people–present and future–have equal opportunity to thrive. That means every single person has the means to satisfy basic needs for physical and mental wellbeing, to pursue engaging and meaningful work, relationships, and leisure activities, and to do so in communities and environments that nurture and sustain us. All told, when we thrive, we have the ability to create a life we value.
GWI’s mission is to leverage people power to innovate a Good Life for All. To do so, this 501c(3) public benefit corporation engages in educational and charitable activities that promote individual, community, and environmental wellbeing and maintains an institute for these purposes.
First and foremost, members of the GWI community value wellbeing. By this we mean an individual’s mental and physical, social, material and existential wellbeing and the interrelated wellbeing of our communities and environment.
We join GWI’s efforts because we have a strong ethic of care–we care about others, nature, and ourselves, and we want to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of the world.
To do so, we embrace innovation, a continual process of open-minded, creative, playful problem solving built on learning and action.
We do this in the company of like-minded others partly because we like the company, but also because we know that the key to innovation is collaboration. Margaret Mead said it best:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
In all of our efforts, we emphasize sustainability. Scarcity of resources is one of our most pressing problems, and we want to keep on innovating wellbeing for as long as humanly possible.
Finally, we recognize that it can be difficult at times to juggle all the puzzle pieces that make up a Good Life for All, so we strive to be mindful of balance.
Founder and Executive Director
Juliana Essen: After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, where the farmers taught her more than she taught them, she went on to pursue a PhD in cultural anthropology to learn more about sustainable community development. Living in an intentional Buddhist community in Thailand while doing her dissertation research provided rich fodder not only for a book and subsequent publications in Buddhist economics, but also profound reflections on life. Teaching at Soka University of America for over a decade brought still more enriching experiences. With the birth of her daughter in 2009, she set an intention to create the nonprofit she’d always dreamed of.