Staff Blog

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

A Place of Refuge

Posted by: Dan Smith on 2/15/2017

In the earliest days of colonial presence in the land that became Vermont, it was largely a place to pass through. Lake Champlain and our rivers offered thoroughfares from the East Coast to Montreal and Quebec City, but the land itself seemed impenetrable. As families moved north over the years to carve out a place among the hills and forests, Vermont remained a bit of a crossroads, claimed by colonial leaders in New York and New Hampshire. That conflict smoldered in colonial capitols and at the Court of England for decades, putting at risk the clear title to farms and landscape that families had relied on. Just imagine: working hard, building a place for your family, and facing the reality that far-removed decisions may determine whether or not the future you expected is yours to live.

History is agonizingly repetitive, and yet, throughout its repetitions, Vermont has always been a refuge. It has been a place where people can find a community and a future. Today, we may wish we could stay insulated from national political decisions and global trends, but we know that in our increasingly connected world they will inevitably reach into our hills and hollows, shaping people’s lives.

What defines Vermont is how we will respond. At the Community Foundation, we see that Vermont’s strength is in its legacy as a place to which people turn. They turn to Vermont today as they did generations ago, because they know that this is a place where a future can be built neighbor with neighbor, family with family, and community with community. We applaud the Vermont leaders of business, nonprofit organizations, and government across the state for standing with those refugees who some would cast aside. We stand with our colleagues and our neighbors in saying that Vermont is a place of refuge and will remain constantly so in these capricious times. And we stand committed to shining a light where philanthropy can make the greatest difference now and in the future, so that our place and our legacy remains one in which opportunity is shared by all.

We want to be of service to all who want to give to make a better Vermont, a better world. For those who are interested, we have compiled a list of local and national organizations you might consider giving to in the following areas: Anti-Discrimination, Immigration, Refugees; Closing the Opportunity Gap for Vermonters; Environment & Climate Change; Journalism & Media; and Women’s Issues. While the list is by no means a comprehensive one, it is a place to start your thinking about giving. You can find the list here.    

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