The Vermont Community Foundation uses a governance model that provides a thoughtful framework to help guide the board in their important work.
Ultimately, the board is responsible for determining the strategic direction of the Foundation. Part of this process is articulating an ends statement that describes a vision for our work in the state of Vermont.
In conjunction with the ends are the "means," which are the staff activities controlled through a set of written policies that clearly define limitations. Because the staff has tremendous flexibility within these limitations, they can be responsive to community needs and opportunities.
Each year, as the board engages in discussions about the long term strategic direction of the Foundation, we revisit the ends statement to ensure that it remains relevant and clearly represents our vision. To help inform our discussions, board members communicate regularly with a wide variety of people: existing and prospective donors, nonprofit leaders and employees, volunteers, policy-makers, business people, and others. While the general direction of the ends statement will not change often, this thoughtful governance allows the Foundation to respond to changes in our communities.
At their April 2011 meeting the Foundation board of directors reviewed and recommitted to the following statement:
Build Healthy and Vital Vermont Communities:
The Vermont Community Foundation helps to build philanthropic resources to sustain healthy and vital Vermont communities in which:
- Vermont-focused philanthropists have the knowledge, skills, and means to make the most of their charitable giving.
- Charitable giving through the VCF is simple, effective, and leveraged for the good of the community;
- Philanthropists are engaged on issues important to them;
- Philanthropists are working together to achieve their goals;
- Charitable capital is stewarded by the VCF in socially and economically responsible ways.
- Growing charitable capital promotes social, environmental, and economic health.
- Organizations and communities have access to resources and the knowledge to perform their work in Vermont communities with excellence.
- Organizations and communities work effectively to help assure that:
- Vermonters’ basic human needs are met: people are nourished, safe and sheltered;
- Communities are successful: high levels of civic engagement exist; people are respectful of difference and diversity; and youth are highly engaged in education;
- Communities are sustainable: geographic and identity-based communities have durable social capital; arts and humanities flourish; working lands and communities are recognized as interdependent; appropriate land and natural communities are conserved; and communities thrive economically and work conditions are humane.