Vermont Changemakers Table

The Vermont Changemakers Table is a group of young Vermonters seeking to collaborate and build relationships that bring positive change to Vermont and its communities. The program is a collaboration between Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and the Vermont Community Foundation, that has connected and empowered cohorts of young Vermonters since its inception in 2016.

The Changemakers Table program convenes a group of about 21 Vermonters with diverse backgrounds, occupations, and experience for a series of in-person and virtual meetings over the course of about seven months to discuss an issue facing Vermont communities chosen by participants. At monthly meetings, participants hear from leaders and experts across the state, share lived experience, and explore innovative solutions to the issues facing our state.

There is no program fee to participate in the Changemakers Table program.

Cohort Details

The program typically spans from October through April, consisting of two in-person dinner events, four virtual full-group meetings, and a handful of opportunities to connect with other participants through regional meet-ups, coffee chats and, possibly, a volunteering event. The organizers will determine the overarching issue discussed throughout the year based on the interests of participants’ as submitted through their applications. The cohort will be able to frame the selected issue at the first meeting to determine what kinds of guest speakers they’d like to hear from, what questions they want to answer throughout the year, and how to explore new ideas or interventions that could lead to solutions. All guest speakers will be offered a stipend for their time and expertise.

During the program, the group will explore a single issue from multiple angles. As one example, if the group chooses the overarching issue of racial justice in Vermont, there could be individual meetings on land sovereignty, community policing, and/or migrant farmworker justice. As another example, if the group chooses to discuss climate change, meeting topics could include equitable emissions reductions, adaptation to severe weather, how to engage communities most impacted by climate change, and/or impacts on our agricultural economy. If there’s interest, we may also organize collective volunteer opportunities, for example to help plant trees and stabilize a riparian buffer or make meals at a food shelf. Many of the issues that Vermont faces are interconnected and inseparable – the overarching issue chosen at the beginning of the program will serve as the lens through which the group can discuss distinct challenges facing Vermont communities.

Ideal applicants to this program are:

  • Passionate about exploring and strengthening the communities they live in
  • Seeking to build new relationships with fellow young Vermonters
  • Seeking to learn from diverse perspectives and identities
  • Excited to dig into difficult discussions
  • Under 35 years old

The Changemakers Table’s success relies on a broad diversity of perspectives and lived experience. VBSR and the Community Foundation aim to create a diverse cohort with backgrounds and interests in different sectors (for example, health care, child development, farming or forestry, environmental advocacy, nonprofit, government, and business). We are working to assemble a group that includes Vermonters living in different areas of the state, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ & gender-noncomforming people, first or second generation Americans, and people with refugee status. Coordinators of the program will aim to support discussions across differences, but will also work to ensure no one will be asked to speak on behalf of their community.

In addition to the cohort meetings, connecting with other young people from across Vermont, and access to a network of leaders across the state, each member will receive a free Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility membership for the year, providing them with access to VBSR educational programming, networking opportunities, and free admission to two VBSR on-line workshops, along with other member benefits.

Stay tuned for information about how to apply the next cohort!