In 1966, John Philip Greenwell, Jr. established the Greenwell Foundation, and began long-term plans for his Southern Maryland estate. John Philip Greenwell was a true visionary. Long before the Americans with Disabilities Act, he envisioned a place where people with disabilities could come and experience health benefits, the beauty of nature and the joy of outdoor recreation, just like anyone else.
To that end, he donated his property to the state of Maryland and created the Greenwell Foundation. The park opened to the public in the mid-1990s. In 1997, the Greenwell Foundation began offering active programming with a Therapeutic Riding Program targeted to participants with physical and intellectual disabilities, with veterans particularly welcome.
Today, the Foundation offers a range of inclusive programs, striving to provide opportunities for all people of all abilities. Through an innovative partnership with Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the property has been consistently upgraded to improve access to the buildings, grounds, and waterfront. Greenwell Foundation currently serves individuals from Southern Maryland counties of St. Mary’s, Calvert, Charles, Prince Georges and Washington, DC with outdoor nature connection; therapeutic, environmental and recreational programming for veterans, active military and their families, and other children and adults with and without disabilities.
Foundational program areas are Equestrian, Nature Connection and Outdoor Programs for youth and adults with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities. Current programs specifically targeted towards veterans and active military include charter boat fishing trips where up to 16 veterans enjoy a half day on the water with lunch and all equipment provided. We host trail rides and sessions of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies for local vets as well as kayak fishing tours. Our activities are often linked with volunteer opportunities, as veteran participants want to give back to the organization, as well as be served by us. The Greenwell Foundation Therapeutic Retreat Project is a natural extension of our existing programming, with longer, eventually overnight stays, and also adding the reflective time, facilitated by our therapist, that can add so much to the experience that we hope our participants have.