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Esther Dyson

Esther Dyson

Esther Dyson

Executive Founder  |  Wellville  |  New York, NY

Esther Dyson(@edyson) is an executive founder of Wellville (@WaytoWellville), a 10-year project to nudge society towards long-term and equitable thinking by showing the social and financial value of investing in health for all. She advocates long-term thinking, including putting externalities into pricing, such as taxing sugar and subsidizing care work (nurses, child care workers, gym teachers, prison guards, etc.).

A longtime tech analyst and investor, Esther is now exploring the etiology of addiction and the path to both individual and institutional behavior change. She has had a long-time interest in philanthropy and social change, and believe implementation beats innovation.

The Wellville team of six coaches leaders in five US communities who are working to improve the physical, mental and financial health of their residents. One of the communities is Lake County, CA, just three hours north of Mountain View and adjacent to Napa and Sonoma Counties.

The communities are all under 200,000 in population: Clatsop County, OR; Lake County, CA; Muskegon County, MI; North Hartford, CT; and Spartanburg, SC. Dyson is the Wellville lead for Muskegon, and is actively involved in overall policy and fundraising for the project.

As noted, Wellville favors implementation over innovation: applying approaches known to work, at scale in small communities where scale is relatively easy to achieve in terms of both resources and political buy-in. Each community sets its own priorities and goals around issues such as early childhood experiences, obesity/diabetes, mental health, dental health, smoking, addiction, high care utilization and overall human capacity and health disparities; Wellville assists in finding partners and funders and in managing accountability. Over its 10-year life (through 2024), Wellville will measure its progress both year by year and at the end, using both specific program-based metrics and also overall population-health metrics. Its mission is not just to help five small communities get healthy, but to scale by inspiring other communities and funders to copy its example. Its motto is "Don't rent your health. Invest in it!"

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