Stone Soup Leadership Institute History on Martha’s Vineyard

The Stone Soup Leadership Institute was founded on Martha’s Vineyard in 1997. The Institute is a 501©3 non-profit organization registered in Massachusetts. Our mission is to develop educational tools, trainings, and initiatives to prepare young and emerging leaders to build a more sustainable world. The Institute brings the Stone Soup fable to life, inspiring people to give their gifts so together we can feed the hunger in our souls and the hunger in the world.

Our book and educational curriculum, Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories of Everyday Heroes, which were written on the Vineyard features the story of two Vineyard farmers Andrew Woodruff and Rick Anderson who rallied the community to preserve the Island’s traditions and build the Ag Hall. Called a “handbook for humanitarians” and “a blueprint for building a better world,” our book/curriculum were piloted by YMCA of the USA and used in 120 communities. All proceeds from our books support the Institute’s programs.

Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories of Everyday Heroes is a blueprint for building a better world. Its heroes are legendary people and ordinary folks who, by conviction, imagination, innovation, persistence, frequently hard work, and not infrequently moral or physical courage, have lifted their neighbors and their communities. They challenge each of us to respond in kind.

Walter Cronkite

The Institute has a history of developing strategic public-private partnerships that benefited hundreds of young people on the island over the years. The Institute’s four- year initiative on the Vineyard honored the vision, courage and team work of these local heroes. Every Vineyard student in the 6, 7 and 8 grades received the book as well as every island library. Our year-round program in the schools; trained educators to use the Institute’s education curriculum in language arts, social studies and community service, developing island-wide service projects that include award winning Make A Difference Day, Summer Institutes, and events with Dr. King “I Have A Dream” speech with President Clinton and other dignitaries. The yearlong program culminated in the Celebration of Heroes Awards Ceremony with Walter Cronkite at the Tabernacle. Some of the “Barnbusters” shared their experience at the Institute’s first leadership training on the Vineyard in 1999. The Institute’s video, produced by Galen Films and narrated by Walter Cronkite, features the Ag Hall barnraising:

The Institute has organized eight youth community initiatives, first on the Vineyard, then in inner cities and on other islands. We’ve convened five Youth Summits in two countries, preparing young people to envision their future and empowering them to become leaders of a more sustainable world. Over the years, the Institute has continued our support for Vineyard youth and collaboration on educational projects. In 2005, the Institute hosted an educational program with MVRHS teacher Lynne Ditchfield and her Spanish speaking students at the Vieques Youth Leadership Institute. In 2009 Oak Bluffs student Jesse Boswell attended the Institute’s Youth Summit.

Last summer, the Institute launched its Youtube station with a Tribute to Walter Cronkite at the Vineyard Haven Library. A Message from Walter Cronkite: