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Hidden Villa is a nonprofit educational organization that uses its organic farm, wilderness, and community to teach and provide opportunities to learn about the environment and social justice.  Hidden Villa stretches over 1600 acres of open space in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, about 40 miles south of San Francisco. Our mission is to inspire a just and sustainable future through our programs, land and legacy.

Hidden Villa was founded by Frank and Josephine Duveneck, who purchased the land in 1924 and offered it as a gathering place for discussion, reflection, and incubation of social reform. Over the following decades, the Duvenecks established the first Hostel on the Pacific Coast (1937), the first multiracial summer camp (1945), and Hidden Villa’s Environmental Education Program (1970). The Trust for Hidden Villa was established as a nonprofit in 1960.

Every year 30,000 people participate in one of our formal programs.  An additional 20,000 visitors come to our preserve annually to explore our farm and gardens or to hike on our eight miles of trails.  Our constituents cover a wide spectrum of age, physical ability, geography, ethnicity, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and our organic farm, rustic barns, newer sustainable structures and pristine riparian, woodland and chaparral wilderness provide opportunities to experience the beauty of our environment on a first hand basis. 

Whom We Serve

Most participants in Hidden Villa’s on-site activities live in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, although we do also attract participants and visitors from all around and outside the San Francisco Bay Area.

Commitment to a Just and Sustainable Future

Our mission is to inspire a just and sustainable future through our programs, land and legacy. This legacy is a gift of Frank and Josephine Duveneck. In 1924, the Duvenecks began sharing Hidden Villa land and creating humanitarian programs that have inspired many generations to feel a deep connection with nature, an abiding dedication to social justice and the practiced conviction that diversity enriches our civilization.

The Hidden Villa Board of Trustees remains committed to the lessons long taught by the Duvenecks and sustained by our organization since their passing. We stand opposed to discrimination based on ethnicity, national origin, religion or sexual identity. We support environmental regulations that preserve our healthy environment and create parks and open spaces that inspire great leaders and soothe victims of violence and discrimination. We deny assertions, either explicit or tacit, that exclusion, hatred or violence will provide the just and sustainable future that our organization strives to create.

As Josephine and Frank stood for the Japanese-Americans interned during the second World War, Hidden Villa will continue to stand with those persecuted based on religious belief or ethnic origin. We will welcome activists organizing for progressive social change, in the same tradition as the Duvenecks’ hospitality to Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta when they began forming the United Farm Workers union. We will raise our voices along with those who strive to protect the stability of our climate, the existence and health of our open spaces and our clean air and water. We will continue welcoming friends, neighbors, immigrants and strangers to Hidden Villa, where together we will continue to draw strength from the land and wisdom from each other. 

Guiding Principles

We deliver a wide variety of relevant educational experiences that teach respect for the environment and for each other.

We encourage program participation from diverse communities.

We engage diverse voices of the community in the design, implementation, delivery, and evaluation of programs and services.

We build alliances, internally and externally, between people, programs, and diverse communities to optimize resources and deepen our impact.

We care for and sustain the natural, human, and financial resources entrusted to us, as well as the living legacy inspired by the Duveneck family.

Hidden Villa History