Staff Blog

This is a space where Foundation staff share their thoughts and musings on giving and community:

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Posted by: Dan Smith on 12/22/2016

Among the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the window for reflection opens, overlooking the intersection between last year’s effort and our hopes for the year to come.

Our work this year is closing out with progress on some notable initiatives. This year’s grant round for the Northeast Kingdom Fund was highly successful, featuring a high level of donor participation, 26 grantees, and a total of $80,000 moving out into the communities of the Northeast Kingdom, supporting everything from arts education, to food access, to mountain bike adventure camps for young women. You can read all about this year’s grantees here. The Fund is a wonderful vehicle for those passionate about building and sustaining strong communities in the Kingdom.

After several years of excellent impact, our Food and Farm Initiative is moving forward into its final stage. Over the coming year, grantees will be strengthening the network among farm to school programs and supporting the working landscape of Vermont through the connection between food access and local farms. You can read about the innovative work of our grantees have done in previous years here.

In the few short months since I joined this wonderful family, I’ve been struck by a consistent thread running through the passions of our donors, our staff, and our nonprofit partners: a love of this place and its people. That love is reflected in the initiatives above and more—a patchwork of energetic support for work that is helping to build strong Vermont communities. This work ties us together as Vermonters in confidence, common understanding, and shared experience. This work helps close the distance between us all.

As we look ahead, we can see that there are exciting things on the horizon. In the coming year, we'll continue to make grants and investments that help strengthen our communities. We will collaborate with partners like we did this year with the Vermont Foodbank and VPR on Giving Tuesday, which provided 33,846 meals to Vermonters in need. We will help reduce the opportunity gaps facing young Vermonters through our ongoing support of early care and postsecondary education programs. And our commitment to addressing climate disruption will not waver. We are energized and ready to move forward together, to make a better Vermont in 2017.

These paths may wind a bit, but they move in the same direction: towards stronger communities. We will be exploring as we go. But as we do so, we are guided by common values: a love of Vermont and a deep commitment to our neighbors. In this holiday season, I hope you share my energy for the year ahead.

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