Staff Blog

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


Posted by: Stuart Comstock-Gay on 12/3/2015

As we enter into the holiday season, it seems that everyone is thinking about giving. I think about this much of the time, but during this time of the year I’m reminded especially of the research that shows that giving not only makes us feel better, but makes us healthier overall. And that of course makes me realize how fortunate I am to be in a job where we are about giving all day, every day. At the Community Foundation, we want to encourage giving of all kinds, but sometimes, in our work, we also want to think more strategically. That’s where our newest report comes in.

This latest addition to our Understanding Vermont series, entitled Opportunity: 11 Critical Paths for Philanthropy in Vermont, is perhaps our most ambitious effort; it’s an effort to address the questions we are so often asked – “where can I put my charitable dollars so they will make a difference? What issues matter? And who is doing good work?”

Opportunity provides answers to those questions. We identify 11 issue areas[1] where philanthropy can make a difference in Vermont today, and we identify organizations and programs that are doing just that. I urge you to look at the report and use it as a starting point for your giving this season and throughout the coming year. Spend some time thinking about what we suggest and find some things that inspire you. You may be inspired to support some of the organizations or projects we mention in the report or to find and support other worthy organizations (we’re lucky to have so many in Vermont). The point is to be thoughtful about your giving.

For us at the Foundation, this report also serves as a springboard as we start to think about our next major areas of focus. We’ll spend the next year thinking about what we’ve learned and listening to you. What in the report resonates? What is missing? Where can we as a community foundation be most helpful? That’s our work.

So take a look. You can read the whole report on our website. We’re proud of Opportunity and hope you will find inspiration there.

[1] The 11 issue areas are: Help Working Families Thrive, Improve Access to Mental Health Care, Bring Quality Education to All Residents, Clean Up Our Rivers and Lakes, Benefit More Consumers and Producers, Confront the Realities of an Aging Population, Expand Affordable Housing, Tackle Substance Abuse, Match Workforce Skills to Employer Needs, Limit Forest Fragmentation, and Keep the Arts Vibrant.

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