Retired Black Educator to Sell Educational Complex He Built on 98 Acres of Land in West Virginia

Robert Hoffman on his land in West Virginia

After 29 years of focusing on leadership development for urban and rural youth in the Black and Brown community, Robert Hoffman is ready to pass on the torch - A beautiful mountain oasis nestled on top of an Irish mountain. Hoffman is encouraging others to own land and create wealth while supporting our community.

In the early 1990s, Hoffman was consulting on leadership, diversity, and ethics work in the corporate sector. He used some of his resources to buy 35 acres of land in Green Sulphur Springs, West Virginia so he could take urban youth away from the city. He developed a custom-built complex with individual lodges and special purpose buildings. Each lodge blends rustic mountain textures with art and artifacts from Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean. His aim was to expose this next generation to leadership experiences and a different environment. Today, the property includes 98 acres (the equivalent of 4,268,880 square feet of land space) with nine buildings added for lodging and learning known as the Spirit sanctuary.

Systems Thinking and Growing Activism

With his growing national experience, Hoffman tapped his capacity as a big systems thinker with an economic vision for the Black community. He says that in the late 1960s, before integration, many Black communities were thriving with retail businesses, morticians, dentists, doctors, lenders, etc. His research showed that integration destroyed the self-sufficiency of Black communities built by segregation.

Integration led Black people to believe they had access to white institutions when what they wanted was access to Black dollars without reciprocity. Coming out of the Black power movement of the 1960s and 70s, Hoffman saw that a significant avenue for Black men and women had to be economic, and it had to be what the Black community controls in terms of those economics.

Empowering Others – The Vision for Now

Hoffman has regularly invested in empowering others. He was part-owner of an African clothing store in the 2000s in the District of Columbia's Adams Morgan neighborhood. When his business partner returned home to Ghana, he helped Robert buy 86 acres of land there. Twelve acres run along a river where the soil is ripe for growing cocoa. His goal is to organize the farmers into a cooperative to develop a chocolate factory. With the pandemic, 2020 has been the first year in fifteen that Hoffman has not traveled to Ghana to connect with the farm community he is now a part of.

His life and career journey continue to bless him to the present moment. And yet, he comments, “I sense a deep sadness that there is still so much more work to do to eliminate the ongoing barriers of institutional racism.” In his aspirations for the next ten years, Hoffman draws on relationships and reinvention when he envisions inclusion, equity, and parity.

He will continue to do the work of his life by building relationships, reinventing himself, and reciprocity as his cornerstones. Robert Hoffman is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Columbia, Maryland.

Watch video footage of the property:

For more details about the land for sale, visit or contact Arlene Wayns-Thomas at or 267-235-8464.

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