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Community Impact:

Closing the Opportunity Gap

A Vermont child born in the bottom 20% economic bracket has no better than 1 in 10 chance of advancing to the top 20% in their lifetime.

For many Vermonters, getting ahead in life isn’t simply a matter of hard work. It’s a question of access: to high-quality education, to meaningful job opportunities, to healthy and vital communities. This is the opportunity gap—the divide that leaves many Vermonters struggling to build bright, secure futures no matter how hard they work.

46,000 working Vermont families (nearly 1 in 4) don't earn enough to make ends meet.

The stage for the opportunity gap is set early, as many Vermont families struggle to find affordable and quality early care and education. It deepens during and after high school in the lack of clear and accessible training and education pathways to Vermont’s promising jobs. During the whole of a young person’s life, it’s magnified by the many obstacles facing families struggling to create a safe and nurturing environment for their kids. And too often, the communities in which these children grow up are struggling themselves, unable to realize their full potential as promising places to live, work, and play.

If allowed to persist, the gap facing low-income youth and families in this state could permanently destabilize our communities and, left unaddressed, diminishes the prospects for all Vermonters. We can’t afford to squander all of this potential.

That’s why we’ve made closing the opportunity gap the heart of our work.

We are aligning a significant portion of our time, energy, and discretionary resources on efforts to close the opportunity gap so that more Vermonters have access to the opportunities that help people get ahead in life: affordable, high-quality early care and learning; affordable pathways to college and career training; strong resources to support families; and communities that offer hope, connection, and meaning.