SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President and CEO Eric Rosengren, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, and public and private funders announced eight regional teams have been selected to receive $15,000 planning grants and move forward in Vermont’s Working Communities Challenge. The challenge, launched last May, is a grant competition that supports local collaborative efforts to build strong, healthy economies and communities in Vermont’s rural towns, regions, and smaller cities.
Springfield Regional Development Corporation and the River Valley Technical Center were the co-applicants on behalf of a several regional partners in the Springfield region that received one of the eight planning grants. The proposed project would address several factors involved in increasing the workforce participation and retention rate in the area.
The other regional teams selected include the Greater Barre, Lamoille County, Northeast Kingdom, Northwest Vermont, Southern Vermont, White River Valley, and Winooski teams. Each was selected by an independent jury after proposing initiatives designed to tackle issues in their communities ranging from workforce support to racial equity to economic inclusion.
Over the next six months, the grants will fund the teams’ work to turn their ideas into formal action plans. Four teams will then be chosen from the eight for larger, multi-year implementation awards – estimated to be $300,000 each – to fully execute their initiatives.
“This is an important milestone for the Working Communities Challenge in Vermont,” Rosengren said. “We are extremely grateful to Gov. Scott, his administration, and our philanthropic and private sector partners for all they’ve done to help get us here.”
“We look forward to working with these eight community teams in the coming weeks and months as they refine their proposals with guidance from the Fed and other experts,” Rosengren said.
“It’s great to see Vermont communities collaborating together with a wide range of public and private partners to address complex issues to improve the future of Vermonters and make our state a better place to live,” Gov. Scott said. “The Working Communities Challenge has given us another tool to help expand economic growth and opportunity in our rural towns and regions. I look forward to seeing these ideas progress as the teams and the Boston Fed move forward with the challenge.”
SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint and RVTC Superintendent Scott Farr issued a joint statement on behalf of the local group of partners. “We are excited about the opportunity to pursue this project and appreciate the strong support from a great team of partners and organizations in the Springfield region.”
Funding for these grants and the broader competition is provided by the following organizations: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NeighborWorks America, Avangrid Foundation, state of Vermont, Northern Border Regional Commission, USDA/Northern Border Regional Commission, William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation, National Life Foundation, Vermont Community Foundation, TD Charitable Foundation, Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont, Pomerleau Real Estate, People’s United, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Vermont Electric Power Company, Inc., Northfield Savings Bank, Vermont State Employees Credit Union, and Housing Vermont.