“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
— Winston Churchill
We call Boston, MA and Kensington, NH our home. It is in these communities we grew up, went to school, fell in love, raised our children and started our family business. Our business is travel and it has taken the Lewis Family all over the world where we are often most at home in the remote villages sharing a simple meal with village elders, talking with local leaders, and learning what really goes on in village life from the school children, mothers and farmers.
Living in a small New England town, a world class city and spending time in villages around the globe gives us a unique perspective on what creates strong communities. We passionately believe it all starts with courageous leaders. We have seen strong leaders with bold visions and the courage to make tough decisions to completely transform their communities. It is to support and develop these leaders and our united passion for changing people’s lives that we created this Foundation.
It is also why when we choose where to invest our time or resources, we first go with strong leaders—and why we now invest so much of our personal time helping to develop the next generation of social entrepreneurial leaders from all over the world.
Through the Lewis Family Foundation and Grand Circle Foundation, we have pledged or donated more than $97 million in support of 300 projects, including 100 schools in 60 villages in more than 50 countries throughout the world. However, our work in Boston’s Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan neighborhoods is deeply personal. Boston is home to some of the finest universities in the world and yet a third of the city’s schoolchildren fail to graduate from high school, let alone earn a college degree. Over the years we have given more than $27 million to help young people in these neighborhoods. It is past time to make more solid and level the playing field for young people and their families.
Our Bigger Than My Block and CollegeWorks programs strive to turn the tables for these youths. We are collaborating with dozens’ of community partners to double the number of college graduates by 2020. Our work is youth-advised, especially on issues around college graduation and community engagement.
Kensington, NH is also our home. The Lewis/Sawyer family has deep roots here and as we have watched local farms struggle, the isolating impact of technology and our ever-busy lives, we feel a strong need to preserve our community and unique culture.
Collaborating with local farmers and community members, we established The Farm at Eastman’s Corner, an innovative model for year round food production and education, and economic and environmental sustainability.
We are also building the Lewis Center that will be the base for our leadership development programs for youths 14-22 and nonprofit organizations as well as a sanctuary for mindful living and conservation education. Here we will provide programs, experiential education and resources to support our ultimate goal of unlocking human potential and fostering courageous citizens and leaders who can work to keep our communities strong and connected.
Giving back where we live, work and travel has been part of our lives since we were young. Each of us wants to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We each share a fundamental belief that with good fortune and health comes a responsibility to contribute to your community, share what you can, and endeavor to make our world a bit better. Through the work of the Lewis Family Foundation, and with the constant inspiration of our community partners and young people, we look forward to changing the game in Boston, strengthening the community in Kensington, giving back where we travel and developing models for environmental and economic sustainability for other communities — sharing what we learn to advance the healing and thriving of our planet.
Alan and Harriet Lewis