Community & Economic Vitality

So that Vermonters live in vibrant communities that offer robust economic and social opportunities and a healthy natural environment.

In Vermont, we value our natural and social capital: small towns, beautiful working landscapes, civic engagement, and cultural connections. And these all go hand in hand with a strong and emerging economy. It is for this reason that we believe focusing jointly on community and economic vitality is a strategy that will build a Vermont where all Vermonters can reach their best. Whether in a small town or a larger region, we know volunteer time and commitment can change the lives of neighbors, and entrepreneurship and workforce development can boost the economy. We also know that the self-determination of Vermonters is of critical community value.

The Foundation uses a number of tools to support this work—from thought partners in the nonprofit sector to our Vermont Investments program to strategic place-based grantmaking. 

A gift to the Community and Economic Vitality Fund will help support the resources, programming, and technical assistance needed to create place-based solutions for Vermonters that provide hope, connection, meaning, and success.

Strategy

Make the necessary investments to ensure that communities have the resources to realize their potential as places where families want to live, work, and play. We focus on regional initiatives that are enhance the unique characteristics of place – those elements of community that attract, retain and inspire people. We build social capital and meaningful cross-cultural and cross-socioeconomic connections. 

 The Foundation will support efforts/programs that:

  • Encourage civic engagement
  • Spur job creation, entrepreneurship and the growth of local economies, in both urban and farm- and
    forest-based communities
  • Encourage land use that protects and enhances vibrant downtowns and village centers, the working
    landscape and access to outdoor recreation
  • Support efforts that help youth feel connected to–and engaged in–their communities
  • Ensure that communities are safe, respectful, and inclusive
  • Promote healthy ecosystems–clean water, clean air, fertile soil, and diverse wildlife
  • Support efforts to build preparedness in the face of more frequent and severe storms and other impacts of
    climate change
  • Develop local infrastructure that improves economic opportunity and quality of life (e.g. broadband, clean
    energy, and public or bike/pedestrian transportation)
  • Expand access to arts and multi-cultural opportunities for all residents

Current Initiatives

One of our key partners in this area is the High Meadows Fund, a supporting organization of the Foundation whose mission is to promote vibrant communities and a healthy natural environment, while encouraging long-term economic vitality. Their strategic grantmaking focuses specifically on land use, farm, food and forest enterprises, clean energy, and market-based solutions.

We work closely with the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) to bring community dialogues and public engagement practices around the state.

With Launch VT, we support a network of maker spaces, incubators, creative economy partners and entrepreneurship support structures to highlight innovation and ingenuity.  We invest in regional projects that exist at the intersections of robust downtown growth, economic opportunity and community development, through our Mission investing work.

With the Vermont Arts Council, we support place-making and creative expression opportunities across the state.