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25+1 Years Young

Posted by: Stuart Comstock-Gay on 9/25/2012

The following is an excerpt of the speech given by Stuart Comstock-Gay at the Community Foundation's 25+1 Anniversary Celebration and 2012 Annual Meeting. The meeting took place on September 20 at the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms.

It’s a pleasure to be here today – with 400 some of our closest friends. I wish I could acknowledge here every person who has worked with us along the way, but I’d be here all day, and so would you. 

So I’ll defer instead to saying that whether you’re a foundation member, a board member, a fundholder, a donor, a nonprofit partner, a fellow foundation representative, a community partner, or just a friend……thanks for being here, and thanks for being part of our work.

I will say one bit of direct thanks, and that’s to Staige Davis, who has been a great partner in his two years as board chair. Thank you Staige. And thank you again to the founders and their families, for making all of this possible.

We started planning this 25th anniversary meeting in 2010. And as you know, things took a different trajectory and our planning has been considerably extended. I won’t reflect much on the past two years in my comments today. Instead I want to focus on a much longer term – I want to focus on the past 25 – ok, 26 – years instead. 

Twenty six years ago. Twenty six years ago, Vermont was a very different place. Madeline Kunin was Governor. Vermont’s population was 100,000 lower than it is today. The Tandy 600 Portable Computer cost $1,590 dollars. Google was ten years away. The Vermont Foodbank was 3 years away from incorporation. 

But what I want to speak about here is the Community Foundation itself. 

[...] The saying in our field is – you know one community foundation, you know one community foundation. So now, what about this community foundation – here in Vermont?

For starters, it’s clear that 25 years is young for a community foundation. Not just for a community foundation, but for any organization. For instance, in the Vermont Secretary of State’s database, we find the Westminster Aqueduct Society, founded in 1806 …the Bennington Museum in 1853… the Peacham Library in 1855.

So 25 years isn’t so old. Even so, 25 is old enough that it’s appropriate for us to take a step back and consider the “life” that this organization has lived so far.

Read the full speech.

Watch the short "Imagine What's Possible" videos featured at the meeting.

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