The Stepping Stones Foundation preserves and shares with the public the historic home, archives, and legacy of Bill and Lois Wilson, co-founders respectively of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Al-Anon Family Groups. Read our mission.
The Stepping Stones Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1979 by Lois Wilson. The Foundation offers tours by advanced reservation, makes presenters available for online and off-site events, and hosts virtual and in-person events. Highlights of the historic site are the home from 1920, Bill’s Writing Studio, 8.17 acres of gardens and grounds, and 110,000 objects and archival manuscripts.
The Stepping Stones Foundation is committed to protecting and sharing access to the historic original materials in our care. In our 2019 Strategic Plan, we identified initiatives that will bring the home of the Wilsons to broader online audiences in new and bold ways. Your support is welcomed toward general operations as well as these projects.
This project will provide free access to 10,000 manuscripts and photographs from the Wilsons’ personal archives, including many family and travel pictures, correspondence with family and fellows in recovery, and documents related to early Alcoholics Anonymous and early Al-Anon Family Groups history. Please support the ongoing maintenance of the online archive.
Archive Storage Upgrade
This project's goal is a significant upgrade to archival storage for the Wilsons’ personal papers. As time and technology advances, so must the space that holds these precious manuscripts, recordings, and photographs. Please look out for announcements about this future project and how you will be able to support it.
Virtual Tour & Video
Imagine clicking your way through the Wilsons’ home and being able to find out more information about individual objects. Features like this and other multi-media resources are part of the coming phases of our website. Stay tuned for more and if this is your area of expertise, please contact us if you would like to be of service.
Knowing the importance of the history, the home and its contents, and the archives to the recovery community, the alcoholism field, and the public, Lois Wilson made provisions for this property to continue to be preserved and shared in perpetuity under the auspices of the Stepping Stones Foundation. Lois chartered the nonprofit, tax-exempt Foundation in 1979 and served as its first President until her death in 1988. In the mid-1980s, Lois had a building constructed to house the Foundation offices, storage, and a caretaker. Under Lois’ leadership, the Foundation hosted and spearheaded alcohol awareness and education initiatives.
Since the day Lois Wilson passed in 1988, the historic property has remained privately run by the Stepping Stones Foundation and its all-volunteer Board of Trustees, a small professional staff, and volunteers, including docents (tour guides). Through the Foundation’s stewardship the home, archives, and personal effects of the Wilsons have never changed hands. These valued resources have remained accessible to visitors and researchers and are becoming more accessible through various initiatives, including the “Stepping Stones Online” series launched for our 40th anniversary in 2019.
The support of donors like you helps to make the operation and preservation at Stepping Stones possible. The Foundation is grateful for the support of donors ranging from the public to those connected to the Wilsons’ 12-Step recovery legacy. Gifts of any amount are accepted from individuals, grantmaking entities, and others. Contributions have made special preservation projects possible for the gardens, objects, archives, and structures.
Through tours, events (online, off-site, and on-site), and the archives , the Foundation serves people from all over the world, from the general public to anyone familiar with 12-Step recovery. Many visit, along with friends and family, and experience gratitude and a sense of homecoming as they experience the home of the Wilsons, whose contributions changed and continue to change lives and restore families.
The Stepping Stones site is also a fascination for history buffs and those interested in pop culture, psychology, medicine, social work, political science, and more. We hope you will come to have a homecoming!
Stepping Stones was placed on the New York Registry of Historic Places during Lois’ later life. The site is also listed on the U.S. Registry of Historic Places. Due to Lois’ work, Stepping Stones is also honored to be a New York Women’s Heritage Trail site. Stepping Stones received the high designation of National Historic Landmark in 2012 and in 2015 the marker from the U.S. Department of Interior was installed honoring the global impact of the Wilsons to addiction recovery. Having the status of a National Historic Landmark comes with a commitment by Stepping Stones Foundation to uphold high standards of historic preservation.