Submitted by CassCat t3_10nf2cs in Connecticut

Maybe I've become a cynic in my mid-life, but this gorgeous free but non-publicly-funded venue where people can come and enjoy the grounds without any pressure to pay anything seems a little off to me. There are hints of some sort of religious underpinning to it, on the "Faith" tab of the website, but it's overall very vague as to who paid for all this, and why they're so welcoming of anybody who wants to drop by.

Is this true philanthropy, or am I going to be wearing potato sacks and worshipping Blork after a few visits?



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PlayerOneDad t1_j68d505 wrote

Never thought of it as a cult. More like rich people funneling money into a church to keep the tax man away.


CassCat OP t1_j68dcky wrote

Guy who built it is co-chief of world's largest hedge fund, I'm learning, so that may be correct. However, one man's tax shelter could be beneficial to the public, I guess?


PlayerOneDad t1_j68dvjm wrote

Come for the park like setting, stay for the networking event with industry leaders about sustainable supply chain, but this involves God somehow, so don't tax the expenses, please.


CassCat OP t1_j68e2i8 wrote

They also drink a lot of tea. Perhaps it's innocuous, but this is shades of Perfect Strangers (good show BTW). Psilocybin anyone?


flyingfred1027 t1_j6947p3 wrote

  • 9 Perfect Strangers. Unless there was something I didn’t catch, and Balki and Larry were actually running a cult.

CassCat OP t1_j694hnn wrote

Yeah it wasn't actually a cult in the end. But I think viewers were led to think that it was. Similar vibes as Grace, I guess is what I was trying to say.


Squaddr t1_j697pvo wrote

Never saw a show more falsely, misleadingly suspenseful, it was like a never ending blue balls situation, felt so unsatisfying and I ditched after the 3rd episode or so. Worthless entry.


CassCat OP t1_j697w8e wrote

Yeah, "they were doing drugs" is kind of an unsatisfying premise for a show which established so much intrigue in the beginning...still enjoyed it.


Squaddr t1_j698dgb wrote

I felt it was so draggy and pseudo psychological.. Nicole Kidman looked like a menacing nutjob but never blossomed.


tofucatskates t1_j69kn81 wrote

SERIOUSLY! dude i declined the “tea ceremony” when our band played there. everyone else did it. come to think of it, i’ve never seen them again… 🤔

(jk 😂)


CassCat OP t1_j69w1bz wrote

Hahaha, yeah they’re around. Their organs are just in different people.


xiroir t1_j6e2klm wrote

Hey myke celium! How you doing today?


CassCat OP t1_j6e2tye wrote



xiroir t1_j6e33zt wrote

Its a mycology dad joke.

Mycelium is what mushrooms grow out of.

So myke celium.


CassCat OP t1_j6e3bbq wrote

I am dad, and agree that all the smarter dad jokes require explanation 😂


xiroir t1_j6ejrde wrote

Nah it means i have reaaaaally gotten into growing my own mushrooms! Not that my joke is smart!

Speaking of which, i highly recommended entangled life by merlin sheldrake. It will blow your mind.

Like how trees communicate to other trees (avatar way of water style) through mycelium.


jppianoguy t1_j68fd9n wrote

A lot of billionaires do that all the time. Think Rockefellers and Carnegies, now the Gates', etc.

They create nonprofits that do good work, for sure, but they also hire their friends and family members to run them.


CassCat OP t1_j68fthp wrote

Seems to me that once you have a stupid amount of money, the only thing left to do is shape the world in your image, which is potentially bad if you happen to be a dick.


Snerak t1_j6967aq wrote

The problem is the extremely short supply of people with stupid amounts of money that aren't dicks.


bramletabercrombe t1_j6b1ccc wrote

it should be illegal. That's what kings do. One person shouldn't have the power to shape the direction a society leads, that's the job of government. The fact that we let companies skirt antitrust law for generations then allow the heirs of those companies to dictate societal changes is disgusting. If they want to create a charitable trust let THE PEOPLE decide where that money goes and who's name goes on it.


CassCat OP t1_j6dtnbw wrote

But doesn’t it all trickle down eventually? 😒🙄


bramletabercrombe t1_j6b0kf6 wrote

Read up on what that scumbag Walton family does with their billions. They use CLATs to shelter their money from taxes.

The basic operation of a CLAT is as follows. The donor gives property to
a trust. The trust then pays the charity a certain amount each year for
a certain number of years. When the trust terminates, the property is
then transferred to the donor's heirs.

This is a modern kingdom. Not only has this scumbag family spent the last 30 years sending all of our manufacturing and trade secrets to communist China but they never had to pay a dime in taxes while they were selling out the U.S.A.


Lost_city t1_j69i8sa wrote

Andrew Carnegie built 2,509 libraries for the public. Must have had a lot of friends to employ.


bramletabercrombe t1_j6b28ie wrote

I'll assume you never heard Homestead strike. Maybe you would have if he only built 2508 libraries. You see, when you have unlimited wealth you can also buy unlimited PR to whitewash the fact that you were once a mass murderer. No one should have unlimited wealth.


WhittlingDan t1_j691mxo wrote

I posted this as a general comment but will reply to your comment by reposting it since you included the hedge fund piece here.

Its part of a push towards privately owned public spaces.... Do you see where this goes? Do you see the connection to privately owned public services and more privatization? It also gives them more control because they do not have to follow the constitution the way the government does. A privately owned public space does not have to protect free speech for example! Facebook is like a privately owned public space. If every free public space disappeared how long do you think private space would remain free? Maybe this place isn't exactly like that but it serves as a good source of propaganda for privatized public spaces.


ovrhere_ t1_j693mdj wrote

Like when people suggest privatizing libraries. First they'll be free, then they won't, suddenly a substantial economic class loses access to information and resources.


bramletabercrombe t1_j6b2hse wrote

Facebook is it's own nation. In the information age it's the most powerful nation on earth. Listen to Zuckerberg's recent speeches. He sounds like a despot because he knows he owns all he politicians that have any ability to stop him.


champagne_in_a_box t1_j697krs wrote

It’s actually his wife who built and runs it. I live close by and have been to a few of their fundraisers and events. It’s almost certainly a tax haven, but they actually do good work for human rights keeping slave labor out of construction projects. During Covid, they were the first team to acquire and distribute free PPE to the area. So yeah, it’s a somewhat odd institution, but I’d wager it’s no sketchier than your average church.


apraetor t1_j695gmy wrote

That's basically the justification for allowing some charitable donations to be tax-deductible.


orionSaylor t1_j6a6098 wrote

It IS in New Canaan, so...I would venture a guess that you're right


Independent_Source97 t1_j68c3bp wrote

Article from 5 years ago Grace Farms CT Insider

Maybe it is what is presented but the 60+ year old cynical me does not trust any religious organization or foundation.


CassCat OP t1_j68estm wrote

Hedge fund guy tries to build "church", with very broad mission statement that seems non-religious. Neighbours kick up shit because that's New Canaan's favorite hobby, and complain that liberal land use policies afforded to religious-use land don't apply and mount legal challenge. Mission statement gets re-vamped. Thing gets built anyway. Neighbours ultimately fuck off. Controversial building now somewhere you can go to do free stuff on weekend.

Did I miss anything?


SueBeee t1_j68fo27 wrote



IndicationOver t1_j697hv2 wrote

You know why this kind of stuff does not piss me off, because if the shoe was on the other foot it could easily be you or I doing the same damn thing.


bramletabercrombe t1_j6b2te7 wrote

This post reminds me of this quote:

  "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." -John Steinbeck


WhittlingDan t1_j692299 wrote

I shared this elsewhere but Its part of a long running push towards privately owned public spaces.... Do you see where this goes? Do you see the connection to privately owned public services and more privatization? It also gives them more control because they do not have to follow the constitution the way the government does. A privately owned public space does not have to protect free speech from themselves only the governmentfor example! if thingss dont go how they like they find reasons to shut the public space down such as "cleaning" or 'repaors" that often last until whatever "unrelated" problem they have is solved. Facebook is like a privately owned public space. Religious schools not bound by all the laws that protect people within fully public I.e. government ran schools like most of us attended. If every free public space disappeared how long do you think private space would remain free? Maybe this place isn't exactly like that but it serves as a good source of propaganda for privatized public spaces.


therealcourtjester t1_j69c3iz wrote

Interesting point.

If you look at the website, members may visit at any time, but non-members must schedule a visit and check in to the registration center.


Puzzleheaded-Chef450 t1_j69rbgt wrote

Every single person who visits has to check in, both members and non members. Also neither MUST schedule a visit, you can just show up. “Scheduling” a visit simply helps give an idea of how many visitors to expect in a day.


Grundle_Fromunda t1_j68tp9z wrote

SO INTERESTING. Ray Dalio and Bridgewater were constant names being thrown around at one of my previous employers. They did a lot of work for the hedge fund and Dalio. Very intriguing since it was just fodder to me as I was working my way through my career and then to run across this on Reddit and deciding to click on that article to have the names in there.


mynameisnotshamus t1_j68zzd1 wrote

They’re pretty big names and have been kicked around in the news / social media for years. Dalio doesn’t exactly shy away from media exposure. Maybe you’re only noticing mention of them now, but I know way too much about both Ray Dalio and Bridgewater for someone with no real interest in either.


CassCat OP t1_j68uu1p wrote

What do you figure they're up to?


Grundle_Fromunda t1_j68xj22 wrote

Oh I wasn’t involved or connected with them or the account. Just overheard the name in meetings and discussions


coco-coco-coco t1_j68h7ef wrote

Extremely rich people organizing their tax breaks in a manner that matches their eccentricities. It's like a hedge fund bro investing in a restaurant bc he wants to feel like a baller, only artsy.


WhittlingDan t1_j692xzo wrote

And creating more privately owned public spaces where rights are not the same and the rich maintain control.


emptytheprisons t1_j68e3w0 wrote

This is sort of fascinating, they say their mission is "to pursue peace through nature, arts, justice, community, and faith." Normally you'd expect that to involve a rejection of the state's (state as in USA, not CT) definition of justice, but they constantly host speeches by federal agents from the FBI, Border Patrol, the US Army etc.

Their focus on "environmental crimes" is almost entirely about individual actors (like poaching and trafficking) rather than anything that challenges the status quo.

Seeing that a hedge fund owner was involved in the creation really brings it all together for me, but what a strange organization!


CassCat OP t1_j68f46c wrote

Very strange. I'm going this afternoon, and will report back.


emptytheprisons t1_j68fiwi wrote

Good luck to you! It does seem like an elaborate tax shelter funneling money to local and overseas police forces, so if you're into that sort of thing it should be fun.


CassCat OP t1_j68gtiz wrote

I'll limit my purchases to one cup of tea. Hopefully that's not enough to fund any sketchy private militias.


GunnieGraves t1_j68gw7e wrote

If we don’t hear from you, should we assume you’ve surrendered your worldly possessions and are devoting yourself to the spiritual journey?

Oh and report back what flavor the kool-aid is.


CassCat OP t1_j68h0kl wrote

I need Reddit to be my safety net here. If I say ANYTHING positive about Blork, take that as a sign...


koidrieyez t1_j68i5kn wrote

>I need Reddit to be my safety net here.

You might be safer with Blork.


danhm t1_j68jbnz wrote

I've been there! It's absolutely beautiful but yes, it feels like a cult. Go watch something like Midsommar before you go, get real immersive with it.

We chatted with one of the women who worked there. Her name was, in fact, Grace. Was she grown there?!


CassCat OP t1_j68vaxs wrote

Bingo. Human cloning operation. Turns out *everyone* is Grace.


urbanevol t1_j68mra9 wrote

I've gone there for free music events that were really great! It's a beautiful spot.

The aesthetic is definitely "new age cult" but they have never pushed anything when I've been there. The music host has described their mission as something about ending unethical practices in the architectural supply chain. Seems like more of a vanity project maybe?


russlar t1_j68eakq wrote

Blork is love


CassCat OP t1_j68ecng wrote

And a free weekend activity?


Maleficent_Fill_2451 t1_j68kiqf wrote

The Black Forest cake is to die for.


signofzeta t1_j68o6fw wrote

Blork Forest cake, a Blork IPA, and every purchase you make enters you into a raffle to win a trip to their private compound on Blork Island — if you’re a paying member of Blorkatology.


radish-slut t1_j693e4q wrote

idk about blork but i absolutely worship björk and u should too


lakepirate1775 t1_j68d377 wrote

Aren’t all churches


north7 t1_j68yr0j wrote

The difference between a cult and a religion is with a cult the founder knows it's bullshit.
In a religion, that guy's dead.


polyworfism t1_j69g6ur wrote

I've heard it stated as "religions are cults that continued past the death of their founder"


LizaVP t1_j6a5u68 wrote

What about when the founders are dead and the new administration are blind believers?


bluebird_on_skates t1_j68h87g wrote

The people there are freakishly friendly. Also the cafe is delicious. It is a beautiful place but definitely has a vibe of trying to lure you in…


reddyrooster t1_j68eqnr wrote

My company was a huge part of the construction of this place and it really is a free place to do stuff, they have pickup sports on the weekend, a library, some assorted classes and there’s not staff running around with pamphlets to join some blood sacrifice, just a public space on a beautiful spot of land


CassCat OP t1_j68fjcz wrote

No blood sacifice at all? No Eyes Wide Shut shit? I'm going this afternoon, so I'll see with my own eyes.

I'll let you know if Blork turns out be an OK dude after all.


WhittlingDan t1_j694cul wrote

We probably subsidize the payroll of many of the rich "benefactors." We subsidize Wal-Mart's payroll already with food stamp assistance and more, the blood sacrifices which are not optional sacrifices have been moved to far away countries after unions caused to much trouble for the owners wallets. Unfortunately for the rich greed knows no bounds and the middle class they created to protect themselves from the guillotine of the exploited poor is shrinking because, as greed knows no bounds, they began consuming that which there ancestors created as protection. They believe their own propaganda.


WhittlingDan t1_j691e9m wrote

Its part of a push towards privately owned public spaces.... Do you see where this goes? Do you see the connection to privately owned public services and more privatization? It also gives them more control because they do not have to follow the constitution the way the government does. A privately owned public space does not have to protect free speech for example! Facebook is like a privately owned public space. If every free public space disappeared how long do you think private space would remain free? Maybe this place isn't exactly like that but it serves as a good source of propaganda for privatized public spaces.


Jackers83 t1_j6ah0b8 wrote

Thts a good point to being up. Interesting.


tofucatskates t1_j69k8a9 wrote

the second one. 😂 so, my band played a music event there over the holidays. totally lovely from start to finish. they fed us insanely delicious food, sent us to the most beautiful green room you could possibly imagine, with fancy teas and comfy furniture, the whole bit. and you would not believe how charming, sweet, and over-the-top helpful everyone was to us! i mean, it got to the point where i said something positive about it to my spouse and she goes, “that’s how they getcha!!!” 💯

honestly i don’t care how gorgeous the grounds are, I CAN’T GO BACK! i’m too susceptible to charm and delicious food and would totally be that person who accidentally joins a cult! 🤣

in all seriousness, the money issue is extremely suspicious and there is much written about this. status: CULT. or tax haven. either way… 🚩


JHolm915 t1_j68krb1 wrote

The offer of 20% off "programming" sounds pretty suspicious and cult-like to me.


Vegetable-Appeal9301 t1_j68t6g7 wrote

I would say yes it is cult lite. There is a lot of strangeness going on there. The security is so over the top and every square inch is under surveillance. They have a secret room where everything is watched and recorded. Hmmmmm


Jackers83 t1_j6ah4r9 wrote

It usually with a cult there is some catch, you know. Like a hook.


Rosyredelectricblue t1_j68ts6i wrote

I was forced here with my family while visiting back home in CT and was bored out of my mind. I suggested we go pumpkin picking at Jones Farm but noooo let go to the religious art farm park. We ended up at a pumpkin farm.


SnowTech t1_j68i2hh wrote

Blork is the way. Blork is the light of the true shape of our savior.



CassCat OP t1_j68igp3 wrote

This potato sack is itchy, but Blork is worthy of my discomfort.


nyc2vt84 t1_j68qk56 wrote

Idk. It’s a nice park and event space and it preserved it from development. I’m going with net positive


WalmartParisHilton t1_j691om6 wrote

No idea about the faith part, but the architectural firm, SANAA, is absolutely mind-boggling. Their other creations are fascinating to look at, and I’m not even someone who really cares about that stuff. But it’s wild.


CassCat OP t1_j691vy3 wrote

Agreed, that serpentine building is wild. Heading over soon to see it in person.


itsmills420 t1_j68od6o wrote

charitable tax deduction most likely, I agree, seems the only thing left to do once you have billions is to become a philanthropist. you don't need to be rich to change the world, just be good to others and meet others with compassion and an open heart


WhittlingDan t1_j695e73 wrote

Hard to be compassionate when basic needs are not being met or if they are by a thread ready to break. Civility is only held in place by full bellies.


1papaya-2papaya t1_j69i52d wrote

all i know is that they have nice curved glass


CassCat OP t1_j69ihdc wrote

And the FAQ clearly states that sporting goods are allowed, but no hard balls “that could break the glass”. I’m guessing that taking the side out of their glass serpentine building would result in not being asked back…


CroMag84 t1_j69np8w wrote

Oh it’s a cult. Grew up in new Canaan we all knew it was a cult.


Imstephalee t1_j69pkcb wrote

It’s not a cult, i know multiple people who work/worked there. It’s just a way for rich people to avoid paying taxes. My friend is very alternative and not at all religious and would definitely been very excited if she realized she was working for a cult.


LadyStethoscope t1_j6a6t75 wrote

My mom is really into this place, and she's also really into Q, so I think.... Yes. Cult.


CassCat OP t1_j6ac1zd wrote

Hahaha that changed direction quickly


Adm1ral_ackbar t1_j6b1qkc wrote

It's a tax write off and a nice park to visit not a cult


speel t1_j6b8x1f wrote

I almost had a job there but they were unwilling to pay the salary I was looking for. Nice people other wise from my experience.


CassCat OP t1_j6bcpam wrote

I mean, they’re clearly operating on a shoestring. I hope you didn’t bully them too much with your unreasonable wage demands.


speel t1_j6d2y10 wrote

I didn't bully anyone nor did I ask for anything unreasonable. Like I said they were super nice.


CassCat OP t1_j6d35q2 wrote

Sorry the sarcasm was lost. My point was that the since the funding comes from a huge hedge fund, it’s kind of shitty to be skimpy with wages


speel t1_j6df7in wrote

Saul Goodman :)


CassCat OP t1_j6dth2s wrote

Amazing show - weird ending. It went on too long and then ended too soon.


chiavidibasso t1_j6bhyix wrote

It was all a way for the rich neighbors to keep the property from being developed. By making it a “church” it became a nonprofit and a tax deduction. I don’t think religious feeling had anything to do with it. It is a gorgeous property and a fantastic building but it was all done for selfish reasons.


saltydog39 t1_j6bn6p2 wrote

I literally can’t believe this Reddit post. I was there TODAY and thinking the exact same thing. Crazy.


as1126 t1_j6cwiw0 wrote

After reading this post, I decided to pay a visit myself. Tickets are free, but you give them a driver's license on your way in, so they get your address, even if you give a fake one when you register for tickets. It's hard to argue with the published mission, it's lots of motherhood and apple pie. We met with an educator who talked about the architecture and the buildings (officially called "volumes"), but when we asked about the ownership, she basically repeated boilerplate language about it being a 503(c) non-profit with global reach, so no specific names are mentioned.


On a side note, the trail around the grounds is really muddy now and not well marked in some places (we thought we followed the map, but the trail just sort of disappeared into another property). It's not huge, but it's a nice diversion for a couple of hours. I guess you could plop yourself in the library or commons and use their wifi if you wanted to linger over a cup of (free) tea. There was a piano concert last night, so the main amphitheater was closed for setup, but it's really beautiful, from what we could see from outside.


CassCat OP t1_j6cxul3 wrote

Awesome! I didn’t end up going (as promised earlier in post) but I probably will today. Thanks for the first hand reports!


AvogadrosMoleSauce t1_j68fpab wrote

Hey, don’t badmouth Blork.


CassCat OP t1_j68icul wrote

Instructions unclear. There are a few creepy dudes in my yard now staring blankly at my house. I think I'm too excited for the next epsode of Servant...


Sonakstyle t1_j692w7k wrote

Can you just drive in?


roundabout_now t1_j6985k8 wrote

Last time I went, pre-pandemic, I had to show my license to park. I wonder if they are still doing this?


NiceGirlWhoCanCook t1_j69rf06 wrote

They ask for ID so that they know who is on-site at all times. It’s for safety. Also i think that was reinforced through their work with to stop child sex trafficking and slavery. They want to be able to lock down and know who is there in an emergency or lost child situation. This is at least what I have gathered from being there. Another note that it is free to enter.


j-otto t1_j696y0m wrote

Blork 😂


purpleflagbook t1_j6cssgj wrote

Hi-I live in New Canaan

It’s a rich, highly educated progressive cult.


CassCat OP t1_j6cugzl wrote

Doesn’t that apply to the whole town? 😆


purpleflagbook t1_j6cuj9r wrote

Lol no honestly most of the people here are super nice and caring. Then there are the you know what’s.


CassCat OP t1_j6cuu7r wrote

I agree, I was just kidding. I have only nice things to say about New Canaan.


purpleflagbook t1_j6cuwyi wrote

Grace farms is weird though. I interviewed for a job there and I was like yeah I’ll see myself out.


nsfdrag t1_j6dx9o4 wrote

Well it's certainly got gorgeous architecture, feels off to me as well though. Maybe I'll check out the seasonal walk on 2/04.


SnowTech t1_j6f4ttz wrote

If you read the FAQ's page it says shouting is not allowed.


CassCat OP t1_j6f65jj wrote

Farting also prohibited unless in designated areas.


jon_hendry t1_j6fduyi wrote

Probably a way to control the property and make sure nobody else can buy it, without taking on a tax liability.

At some point the billionaire will probably “buy the property back” and do something with it.


StrikeUsDown t1_j69j13d wrote

Very vague description of what their whole purpose is besides some discussion about modern slavery. Some airy thing about interfaith dialogue. Then you come to reddit and find out it's connected with a Christian church and they have Sunday services for that church.

Maybe there isn't anything overly concerning going on here but it seems a little dishonest if their ultimate goal is to recruit you into the church by luring you in with tea and promises of interfaith dialogue that has no strings attached. At least the Mormons and JWs are honest about their intentions when they knock on your door.


SuckaMc-69 t1_j69vssu wrote

Wasn’t this from the marriage encounter group of the 70’s??? It was group marriage counciling and family counciling to bring the family dynamic back together?


summervin16 t1_j6aeocn wrote

Is this where IBM(?) use to be? There was a park in New Canaan I use to walk at that was cooperate, yet anyone could walk the grounds. I can't remember the exact location or what cooperation owned it. Circa 1994


CassCat OP t1_j6aeth4 wrote

Nah I think you’re talking about Lakota Oaks. Actually in Norwalk.


summervin16 t1_j6aghfz wrote

You're right. Why did I think it was in New Canaan?



It gives off strong cult vibes and is definitely not my cup of tea. But they largely seem to be harmless rich weirdos.


JuiceyDelicious t1_j68mfye wrote

No this is not a cult. The grace farm foundation promotes its mission, and the church is a seperate an entity. The foundation was formed by Bob Prince, co-CIO of Bridgewater, with his wife as the president. It's for sure a large tax write off, but both the foundation and church are positive and contribute to community culture. I don't know wh you'd think it's a cult, other than feeling insecure bout your socio economic status.


CassCat OP t1_j68w71m wrote

No need to be nasty. It appears to be a separate entity for zoning and regulatory reasons per the article posted above; appears the original intention was to build a church, but there were concerns that government organizations would be excluded from partnerships d/t separation of church/state-type laws. So I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss it as a recruiting ground for some religious body.


JuiceyDelicious t1_j6ae3eq wrote

When you play a game of fuck around and find out, don't be surprised if a negatively loaded question is responded with a negative counter answer. Ja bless