Caneel Purpose Group

Rebuilding a Sustainable Caneel Bay Resort

We aim to rebuild a world-class resort in collaboration with the local community. The resort will honor the natural environment while improving the well-being of its team members, local businesses and other community stakeholders.

In partnerships with the local community, we will:

  • Create an advisory board made up of local leaders
  • Establish a profit-sharing community fund
  • Provide expanded community access to the beach and resort facilities
  • Develop a community center, hurricane shelter and an amphitheater
Bikini straw hat woman relaxing under a palm tree on a perfect beach in the Carribean

Features of the boutique luxury eco-resort

  • Architecture will be designed to fit within the National Park
  • Built to LEED Certification with sustainability principles incorporated into construction and ongoing operation, including solar power generation (Net Zero)
  • Waste management & treatment, recycling
  • Preserving the National Park and surrounding waters
  • Promote health and wellness principles
  • All environmental issues will be addressed on-site in a comprehensive and transparent manner, consistent with sustainable redevelopment of the property.
  • Provide locally grown farm-to-table food to resort guests and community
  • The first-ever Blue Zone Resort

Guided by Our Stakeholder Compass / Conscious Capitalism

Caneel Purpose Group’s philosophy is to integrate the interests of the various stakeholders below, doing our best to address all of them together rather than just focusing on one group’s interests. Below is our “stakeholder compass” for Caneel which is incorporated into our business model:


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Guided by this “stakeholder compass“ and the experience of our principal founders described below in maximizing benefits to all stakeholders in their businesses to date, we plan to develop a five-star resort hotel at Caneel Bay that is fully integrated with the community and best includes the interests of everyone involved.  

Caneel Purpose’s founders have deeply integrated Conscious Capitalism principles into their businesses by including the interests of all stakeholders in their business models.    The Conscious Capitalism model has gained great traction in recent years (see its website at, including with the definitive book on it by CPG principal John Mackey, but still, only a small percentage of US companies follow it. It includes having a higher purpose and integrating the needs of all stakeholders, along with conscious management and culture.  (The Stakeholder Compass above was developed for Caneel from that model.)

Caneel Purpose believes that a business run on those principles will be far more attuned to the interests of St. Johnians and Virgin Islanders than those that are not — eg, those run on the traditional corporate model putting shareholders first, as is likely for RFP bidders such as large hotel chains and real estate companies. 

The benefits to the community

  • Providing year-round local employment; base wages starting at $20 an hour with profit-sharing
  • Tribute to local cultural traditions and the archeological resources; including the development of an on-resort heritage museum
  • Percentage of profits will be donated to a Community Development Fund made up of leaders from key community organizations
  • Payment of a fair royalty to the US Virgin Island National Park
  • Expand public access to Caneel Bay’s beaches and facilities for the enjoyment of the community.
  • Local arts and crafts marketplace available for vendors at resort
  • Development of a community center, hurricane shelter and convention center
  • On-site training for culinary & hotel administration in cooperation with University of the Virgin Islands

Purpose / Community Support

  • EDC benefits will not be pursued. We plan to pay our taxes to further support the US Virgin Islands’ economy
  • Maximum transparency to the community on all our work and initiatives as part of our continuing outreach. 
  • CPG’s commitment, as part of its business model, to fully consider the interests of all its stakeholders, including team members, the community and the natural environment along with customers and investors.
  • With sufficient community support, redevelopment of Caneel commencing soon (in 2021), with jobs and other benefits to the community, rather than in late 2023 or 2024 as would be required for a public bid / RFP process.
  • Community members are asked to assist this effort by submitting an email of support to policy makers.  (See link below)

Who we are

A collection of experienced entrepreneurs with a passion for providing sustainable, purpose-driven experiences that benefit guests, communities and the environment.

Matthew O’Hayer

Matt O’Hayer is a lifelong entrepreneur having started and run over 40 companies. He has been in the travel industry since 1989 including yacht charter operations based in the Virgin Islands. Matt is the founder and Executive Chairman of Vital Farms, a Certified B Corp founded on the precepts of Conscious Capitalism—working to elevate humanity through business.

John Mackey

The co-founder and CEO of American grocery Whole Foods. He was the visionary behind the Whole Planet Foundation to help end poverty in developing nations, as well as the Local Producer Loan Program which provided $25 million dollars’ worth of low interest loans to local food producers. His achievement have been recognized in Forbes, MarketWatch, Fortune, Esquire, New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Dan Buettner

An award-winning journalist, producer, New York Times best-selling author, and a three-time Guinness World Record holder. In partnership with local government, large employers and health insurance companies he developed the Blue Zone Projects to help improve the lives of Americans.

David Barry

The president and founder of Pursuit, a hospitality and attractions company with a collection of inspiring and unforgettable experiences in national parks and iconic destinations. Pursuit owns and operates 25 properties in the United States, Canada and Iceland.


If you would like to see a new Caneel Bay Resort built that supports the community, the workers, the environment and the culture of St. John and the USVI click here and take action now. 

Click this button to let your congresswoman and the National Parks Service know that you support the community involvement and proposed features/elements by the Caneel Purpose Group to rebuild Caneel Bay Resort.

We urge you to modify and personalize the “form” email by adding a first paragraph with your personal interest or connection to Caneel.

Having trouble with this button?
Please click here to copy and paste the text into your email.

panoramic view of a sloop under full sails sailing close by Caneel Bay, St.John, US Virgin Islands