Educational Institutions


Awakening the best in the human spirit

aka Omega Institute for Holistic Studies



Through innovative educational experiences that awaken the best in the human spirit, Omega provides hope and healing for individuals and society.

Ruling Year


Chief Executive Officer

Robert "Skip" Backus

Main Address




holistic learning, retreat, conference, lifelong learning, alternative health, yoga, meditation, veterans, women, leadership, sustainability, mind, body, spirit, health, spirituality, healing





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

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Our Sustainable Development Goals

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3 4 5 6 7 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Omega Center for Sustainable Living

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

At its core, Omega is a resource for personal development and working to expand individual and social awareness. Omega inspires a deeper connection to self and to global community through:

• Creation and delivery of personal and social development programs
• Commitment to modeling a sustainable nonprofit educational organization
• Use of Omega's voice and resources to be a transformative force that brings focus, strength, and an integrated global awareness to personal and social change

People the world over carry within them a longing for well-being, creativity, connection, and a sense of purpose. At all stages of life, we want to develop the talents and understanding we need to live well, to rise to our challenges, and to be valuable members of society. We want to awaken our full human potential. This is at the core of Omega’s vision: educating people to develop and use the fullness of their intelligence—body, mind, heart, and spirit. We believe that the answers to our most stubborn problems—as individuals and as a global community—will be found in the fullness of our human potential: our brains and our bodies, our feeling hearts and our intuitive souls, our masculine and feminine qualities, our earthbound wisdom and our eternal questing natures.

Omega is expanding its reach and impact by building on its successful model of social entrepreneurship, being highly adaptive to marketing and media opportunities of all forms, developing new strategic partnerships, and increasing its fundraising capacity. Elements of this strategy include strengthening Omega’s ability to deliver core programs; raising Omega’s public profile as a thought leader; reaching a larger and more diverse audience both on- and off-campus through digital channels; and undertaking creative and effective initiatives.

Omega is a premiere travel and tourism destination and a nationally recognized leader within the health & wellness/lifelong learning marketplace, annually attracting more than 23,000 visitors to workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York and other locations. About one-third of our guests are from New York State, with the remainder visiting from around the nation and internationally. Omega’s digital reach includes nearly 2 million visitors to, more than 100,000 subscribers to our eNews, and close to 120,000 followers on social media.

Our programs – typically numbering over 350 per year and featuring some 500 of the country’s most accomplished faculty – are grouped in six Omega Learning Paths: Body, Mind & Spirit; Health & Healing; Creative Expression; Relationships & Family; Leadership & Community; and Sustainable Living. To deliver these programs Omega has a Core Staff of 75 salaried employees, who work year-round in a variety of managerial and administrative roles. Each year when Omega is open to guests from April through October, we welcome Seasonal Staff and Seasonal Service Corps Members to engage in the concept of compassionate service. They help support the daily operation of the campus while being fully immersed in our learning community.

The annual economic impact of Omega Institute on the Mid-Hudson Region of New York State includes 474 jobs in the region, $8.7 million in earnings, and $1.6 million in tax revenue. Over the past ten years, the Cumulative Economic Impact of Omega Institute on the region includes $99 million in earnings, $332 million in sales, and $18 million in tax revenue. In addition to these fiscal benefits, Omega provides Mid-Hudson Region residents and visitors with valuable opportunities for life-long learning, supports community building within the region, and provides resources to nonprofits to improve their ability to serve.

Each year, Omega Officers and the Board of Directors review and assess Omega’s organizational effectiveness. Omega includes in its considerations the strategic planning devised to maintain, strengthen and deliver the organization’s mission; the organization structure; the daily activities and procedures that Staff undertake to evaluate and achieve objectives; the core values of the organization that are evidenced in the organizational culture and the general work ethic; the style of leadership modeled; the employees and their general capabilities; the actual skills and competencies of the employees working for Omega; and applicable outcome measurements to aid in evaluating overall organizational challenges and effectiveness. Based on its assessment, Omega crafts recommendations annually that demonstrate vigilance in our operations.

Evidence of our effective strategies include annually strengthening Omega’s ability to deliver core programs; raising Omega’s public profile as a thought leader; reaching a larger and more diverse audience both on- and off-campus through digital channels; and undertaking creative and effective initiatives like the following:

Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL): Omega created the OCSL as an environmental education center and natural water reclamation facility built to meet the highest standards currently available in sustainable architecture. It is the first green building in America to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification. Already attracting thousands of visitors from around the world, including architects, government officials, and educators, the OCSL’s evolving program emphasis illuminates an approach to solving problems that considers the connections between society, nature, and individuals in creating solutions. OCSL programs have included three major fall conferences, which in 2013 featured former President Bill Clinton among others, an immersive Ecological Literacy Program, and an emerging curriculum in progress with the country’s most acclaimed sustainability experts.

Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC): The OWLC is a growing women's leadership hub offering conferences, retreats, workshops, residencies, and scholarship opportunities. The OWLC is catalyzing a new way of envisioning women's leadership by advancing an integrated and holistic approach to personal growth, leadership development, and social change. The OWLC convenes, inspires, and trains women to envision new possibilities, build alliances, develop inner spiritual strength, and acquire leadership competencies to take skillful action in the world in support of a culture of equality and care. OWLC programs are designed to be inclusive of in-person on campus modules, as well as Digital Omega online learning modules, which complement the following programs: Women & Power Retreat, Women’s Leadership Learning Modules and Certificate Program; Women Serving Women Summit; Juno Women’s Leadership Residency; and Leadership Learning Lab.

Service Week: In 2014, this program celebrated its 10th anniversary milestone of reaching 4,000+ dedicated staff serving 300 nonprofits that impact millions. We are committed to helping preserve the nonprofit safety net which is threatened by continual underfunding and increased need. Each year we provide retreats to nonprofit peers, allowing them to attend Service Week, a one of a kind, free strategic planning and networking retreat on our Rhinebeck campus.

Veterans: Omega first offered a retreat for veterans in 1990 and since 2009 has offered fully-underwritten programs for veterans and their families suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as powerful and unique conferences addressing mind-body methods for treating current and former military personnel suffering from PTSD.

How We Listen

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

Source: Self-reported by organization

the feedback loop
check_box We shared information about our current feedback practices.
How is the organization collecting feedback?
We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees.
How is the organization using feedback?
We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

External Reviews



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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable