2013 Grants Listed Alphabetically by Organization

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) received a grant to establish a user-friendly website with information designed to help communities identify ways to become more resilient in the face of flooding events and other impacts of extreme weather. CLF and CRWC collaborated with ANR to pull together community officials and environmental advocates to provide input into the web content. The website can be accessed by visiting floodready.vermont.gov.

CENTER FOR AN AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY | 2013 | Agriculture | $25,000
Vermont Food Venture Center (VFVC) 
General operating support for VFVC – A shared processing, storage, and distribution center that provides food start-ups and businesses with storage and kitchens, equipment for rent, food processing and education support, as well as food science and training opportunities. VFVC is testing the premise that a food processing facility is a key element in the Vermont food system that can add value to farmers, clients and the community. The VFVC helps farmers understand what it means to produce for a co-packer. It provides business planning, product development assistance and supplier connections that aren’t available elsewhere to food processing clients. And, it offers a food processing facility as a resource to the community in addressing gaps in the local food system.

In its first year of operation, 2012, VFVC served 27 specialty food clients, 9 farmer or minimal process clients, and created 35 jobs. It operated at 25% capacity. Hours of utilization, earned revenue, and the number of clients served each increased substantially in 2013. CAE was a client of the Vermont Agricultural Development Program, and VADP provided guidance that helped the staff focus on factors that would improve VFVC’s financial viability.

Lessons learned include the importance of partnerships with entities like the VT Agency of Agriculture, USDA Rural Development, the Intervale Center, and NOFA-Vermont; the need to give ongoing attention to food safety and regulatory changes; having a handle on internal controls and systems of management; and prioritizing client types to best balance revenue and facility usage.

CITY OF BURLINGTON | 2013 | Energy, Land Use | $15,000
To support the hire of a transportation and parking specialist to study how the city can most effectively design and launch a financially sustainable employee Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program that can free up parking for area businesses, reduce traffic and air pollution, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This work is consistent with Burlington's Climate Action Plan and its ranking as a highly livable city.  The study found that most employees drive alone to work. Strategies for reducing driving could include giving employees a universal transit pass, developing a transit information website, a parking cash-out program, a commute allowance that applies to all forms of transportation, charging for parking, and hiring an employee TDM coordinator.

COMPOSTING ASSOCIATION OF VERMONT (CAV) | 2013 | Agriculture | $15,000
To support advocacy, best practice guides, and public awareness to divert organics from Vermont’s waste stream.  High Meadows supports CAV because it is working at the forefront of organics diversion in Vermont. CAV’s policy-based and high-level approach will be crucial to achieve the goals of Act 148, which requires all food waste in Vermont to be kept out of landfills starting in 2020. To date, CAV has coordinated the Food Cycle Coalition (FCC) task force of the Farm to Plate Network and completed an asset map describing all of the entities working on food waste.

To support a collaboration between three diverse organizations to reduce erosion and pollution caused by runoff from inappropriate development along rivers and streams. This collaboration addresses the connection between land use and water quality in a number of ways:

  • CLF and LCI provided input to revisions to the Vermont Stormwater Manual to include green infrastructure and Low Impact Development standards;
  • To strengthen regulatory authority over runoff and erosion. A CLF petition led to an ANR requirement to retrofit all impervious surfaces larger than 3 acres to reduce runoff. ANR committed to expand its municipal stormwater program to include municipal road systems and new communities;
  • To develop videos that illustrate ways communities and developers have successfully prevented damage and runoff in storm events, demonstrating the importance of proactive planning. These videos are available at http://floodready.vermont.gov;
  • CRWC coordinated watershed land use efforts in VT and MA in the Deerfield River Valley which led to flood resiliency and habitat enhancement projects in VT and MA which leveraged federal, state, and mitigation funds;
  •  LCI promoted its BLUE Certification Program to 1,400 households to motivate and recognize property owners who adopt practices that lower runoff.

COVER HOME REPAIR  | 2013-2014 | Energy | $40,000 over two years
General operating support for COVER's weatherization services. Using volunteer crews guided by building professionals, COVER weatherizes housing in poor condition in the Upper Valley and repairs many of these homes to qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)’s full house energy efficiency improvements. On average, homes served through COVER's weatherization program reduced their energy use by 30%.

In 2013, COVER completed 62 new weatherization projects. These homeowners saved 6,045 gallons of fuel totaling $22,971 in financial savings and 61 metric tons of offset CO2. COVER also revisited 25 previous clients to ensure previous work was effective and found those homeowners are still saving 4,500 gallons of fuel, $16,000, and 41 metric tons of CO2 per year.

ENERGY ACTION NETWORK (Fiscal Sponsors: Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund) | 2013 | Energy | two grants: $12,480 and $25,000
As part of a previous grant, EAN developed a scenario for achieving a renewable energy future which concluded that in order for 80% of Vermont's energy needs to be met through efficiency and renewables by 2030, Vermont needs:  1) significant changes in how we live, work and play; 2) immediate, comprehensive, and bold transportation and energy strategies statewide; 3) in excess of $28.7 billion in capital; and 4) the adoption of a strategic plan for economic and infrastructure development. HMF provided one 2013 grant to refine and document this scenario for input into a dynamic energy model under development at the Gund Institute at UVM. 

A second grant provided support for the Capital Mobilization Working Group of the Energy Action Network in order to support innovative approaches to greening up state building energy use, improve lenders' approach to incorporating energy savings into the underwriting of energy loans, and supporting other clean energy financing initiatives with high potential for mobilizing capital to support a clean energy future.

ENVIRONMENTAL MEDIATION CENTER | 2013 | Agriculture, Land Use | $25,000
Agriculture Mediation Program   
Multi-stakeholder effort to bring environmental and agricultural communities together to reach greater alignment on effective practices and policies to improve watershed and land use management in ways that reduce soil loss and nutrient runoff from farms. In 2013, EMC drew together 20 representative farmers to provide input on a report, which recommended the State adopt a comprehensive approach to runoff from farms that includes “a mixture of voluntary and regulatory programs and bold and innovative ideas in partnership with the private sector.”

FOOD HUB MANAGEMENT PROGRAM (Fiscal Sponsor: Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund) | 2013 | Agriculture | $10,000
To support the formation of a national advisory board and Vermont task force to further explore and refine plans for a Food Hub Management Program. Given the rise in the number of food hubs in Vermont and nation-wide, we were intrigued by this proposal to develop a management training program focused on sound business management skills and effective planning strategies for food hubs. Our grant supported the initial meetings of a National Advisory Board and Program Development Task Force comprised of accomplished individuals from around the country. Such meetings determined there is indeed a need for such a program, and its implementation is feasible. UVM Continuing and Professional Education now hosts the program.

HIGHFIELDS CENTER FOR COMPOSTING | 2012-2014 | Agriculture, Energy, Land Use | $150,000 over three years
2013 was the second year of this 3-year grant to establish statewide food scrap recycling through Highfields’ Close the Loop! Vermont program. Unfortunately, Highfields has ceased operations for lack of adequate financial management and oversight. High Meadows cancelled the third year of funding and used it instead to support the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in assisting the Highfields board to close the books, transfer ownership of assets, and find a new home for the educational materials Highfields had created. This experience provided renewed interest in ensuring appropriate governance is in place when an organization shifts from entrepreneurial startup to one with ongoing operating responsibilities with many funders.  

HOUSING VERMONT | 2013 | Energy | $81,300
This project seeks to create a centralized energy performance management and tracking system for Housing Vermont's network of affordable housing developments. This will reduce reliance on fossil fuels by encouraging maximum energy efficiency and renewables performance, lowering GHG emissions from buildings and reducing operating costs. Previously completed efficiency retrofit work in properties owned by Housing Vermont has under-performed, often due to operator error or equipment issues that go undetected. By establishing a remote monitoring system, their goal is to improve the performance of installed efficiency measures. Comparisons across buildings will allow direct quantifications of the effects of efficiency retrofits. If successful, this platform could be deployed in other large buildings like schools and commercial rental properties.

INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES (ISC) | 2013 | Agriculture, Land Use | $20,000
In 2012, High Meadows provided a grant to support a two-year "Resilient Vermont" project to help the state develop a shared vision and an integrated long-term strategy for a resilient Vermont. The final report from this effort was released in December, 2013. The purpose of this grant is to bring together key stakeholders in municipal governance, business, local and regional planning, emergency management, environmental advocacy, and state agencies to develop working relationships to implement the key recommendations of the report.

INTERVALE CENTER |  2013 | Agriculture, Land Use | $50,000
HMF provides general operating support to the Intervale Center (IC) because of the variety of programs they offer aimed at increasing the consumption of locally produced food, providing technical assistance and business planning support to farms in the Intervale and across the state, testing new distribution models, and lowering the environmental impact of farming.

To support pilot projects in Rutland and Windham counties to develop local food supply chain models in partnership with local food hubs, private distributors, producers, and institutions. The goal of this two-year project was to connect institutional buyers with distributors of local foods. One of HMF’s goals was to identify appropriate roles for the business and nonprofit organizations in the counties served by the pilot. This builds on an earlier grant project that compiled farm-to-institution market data. NOFA-VT found it challenging to find farmers in these regions interested in scaling up for institutional markets. Further, NOFA-VT concluded institutional buyers need to look beyond “ultra-local” products and develop a tiered buying approach to incorporate products from the rest of the state and region.  

NORTHERN FOREST CENTER  | 2013-2015 | Energy, Land Use | $80,000 over three years
Development and project management of the Vermont Model Neighborhood Project, a program to install centralized wood pellet heating systems in residential, small commercial and municipal buildings in the Northeast Kingdom. NFC is investigating the feasibility of biomass as a source of heat because of the potential to reduce emissions and retain wealth in the Vermont economy by switching from petroleum-based fuels to a clean burning wood product. The Northern Forest Center will ensure sustainable harvesting practices and clean burning technologies as they develop this pilot. This is modeled on a successful NFC project in Berlin, NH

POST OIL SOLUTIONS | 2012-2013 | Agriculture | $31,000 over 2 years
Operational support to coordinate and develop Windham Farm and Food Network (now Food Connects), to increase access to local food, and increase overall amount of food produced and consumed in Windham County.

HMF's goal in supporting the Windham Farm and Food Network (WFF) is to build a self-sustaining distribution system of local food to otherwise underserved markets. Since merging with Post Oil Solutions in 2012, WFF increased the number of delivery days to 2/week, helped start low income buying clubs in 5 schools and 2 communities, and increased annual sales to $143,000 (up from $76,000 in 2011). In 2013, WFF increased the number of regular buyers from 10 to 20 and increased sales to $205,410. WFF collaborated with existing distributors like Green Mountain Farm Direct and Deep Root Organics.

RUTLAND AREA FARM AND FOOD LINK | 2013 | Agriculture | $16,000
HMF provides general operating support for RAFFL, which promotes farm viability in Rutland county by connecting farmers with consumers. This grant of operating support will allow RAFFL to continue to support farmers and provide public education and resources in support of Rutland’s local food system. The number of their volunteers, donors, farmer workshop attendees, and website visits has steadily grown as RAFFL has become the go-to organization for farm and consumer connections in the Rutland area.  

THE CARROT PROJECT (Fiscal Sponsor: Third Sector New England) | 2012-2013 | Agriculture | $32,500 over two years
There are two parts to this grant: 1) Start-up operation support, and 2) General support to The Carrot Project’s Agriculture Loan Fund in partnership with the Vermont Community Loan Fund. HMF supports The Carrot Project because of their success in providing financing and technical assistance to new farmers unavailable elsewhere. In their first two years, The Carrot Project made six loans totaling $93,000, with an average loan size of $15,500. They provided technical assistance to two of those borrowers to help them attract additional investors. They enrolled 10 farmers in a business technical assistance program.  The Carrot Project will track changes in profitability and the ability of the businesses to meet their goals.

Independent analysis of VT's 11 regional commissions with regard to structure, consistency, and adherence to land use goals found in Vermont state law. Given the role Regional Planning Commissions can play in implementing smart growth practices, flood-wise watershed management, and energy planning consistent with the state's energy goals, we supported this analysis due to its potential to improve the quality and consistency of regional planning efforts. The report highlights where regional plans do well and where they need improvement.

UVM EXTENSION | 2013 | Agriculture, Energy | $22,500
Vegetable and Berry Fund
To subsidize the installation of five biomass heating systems in greenhouses. Greenhouses help farmers extend the growing season into the colder months, thereby maximizing their profitability. Biomass heating systems use sustainably harvested wood pellets to heat greenhouses to extend the growing season. Thus, this project improves agricultural viability while promoting the use of renewable energy. Through the Community Energy Efficiency Development Fund, subsidies were available to farmers located in the former territory of Central Vermont Public Service. High Meadows' grant enabled five additional grants to be made outside that territory.

VERMONT AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (Fiscal Sponsor: Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund) | 2012-2013 | Agriculture | $40,000 over 2 years
The Vermont Agricultural Development Program (VADP), a collaboration between VSJF and the Vermont Farm Viability Program at VHCB, supports the growth and long-term success of Vermont-based, value-added agricultural enterprises that are building markets and infrastructure for other Vermont agricultural businesses. High Meadows supported the start-up of the VADP and served on its advisory council. In its first three years, the VADP served 25 individual enterprises, and graduates reported a 15.3% increase in revenue and increased wages of 19.6%.

VERMONT COUNCIL ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT | 2013 | Agriculture, Land Use | $20,000
To develop the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership and a campaign to advance policy, funding, and implementation of an enterprise development plan for the working landscape in the state. VCRD's successful advocacy resulted in over $1 million in awards distributed to businesses and nonprofits in June 2013.  In a time of declining resources, the legislature appropriated $1.4M to be awarded in spring 2014. VCRD also continued its Community Visit Program, the Vermont Digital Economy Project, and helped establish the VT Higher Education Food Systems Consortium.

Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC)
To initiate and formalize a biomass economic development strategy working group. As the state turns more attention to the role of the forest in the working landscape, we support BERC's efforts to develop a working group to develop an economic development strategy for the appropriate use of biomass energy.

Market research and a savings guarantee pilot program aimed at increasing homeowner confidence in energy efficiency savings.

Thermal efficiency improvements such as air sealing, insulation, and heating system replacements can reduce energy use in buildings, and by extension, reliance on fossil fuels and cost to homeowners. From earlier market research we learned one of the biggest barriers to homeowners' deciding to weatherize their homes is a lack of confidence that estimated energy savings will be realized. VEIC's market research and pilot savings guarantee program attempt to overcome this barrier by learning more about the different components of homeowner "confidence," and piloting a couple of savings guarantee programs.

Some conclusions reached include:

  • A guarantee by a trusted source (like Efficiency Vermont (EVT)) will be critical to the success of a savings guarantee;
  • Participants like the idea of guaranteed savings for multiple years;
  • Savings greater than loan payments was very enticing to focus group participants; and
  • Most focus group participants favored lower guaranteed savings over higher savings offered without a guarantee.

Manufactured Housing Innovation Project
To lead a pilot project to build, finance, and site modest energy-efficient homes using designs identified by the Manufactured Housing Innovation Project and the Irene Cottage Home project of the Upper Valley Housing Coalition and to support the construction and siting of the first high-performance manufactured home. Other philanthropic funders partnered with High Meadows, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, and VHCB to enable Vermod to build ten pilot homes and sell them at a deeply subsidized cost to Vermonters with modest incomes. See a brief video here.

This pilot project grew out of VHCB’s Manufactured Housing Innovation Project report, which concluded that highly energy efficient manufactured homes can be made available to Vermonters at an estimated purchase price of $100,000, while consuming less than a third of the energy of a typical manufactured home. The pilot’s aim is to build, sell and site homes; measure their energy use over time; and discover how appraisers, lenders, and zoning administrators will treat them. 

VERMONT LAND TRUST | 2011-2013 | Agriculture, Land Use | $150,000 over three years
Since 2005, High Meadows has provided operating support to the Vermont Land Trust in recognition of its leadership in conserving farmland and connecting new farmers with conserved farm properties. In 2013, VLT purchased conservation easements on 30 working farms, 4 of which were transfers to new farmers. VLT also stewards conserved lands and has been working to adapt stewardship policies to recognize evolving land uses on conserved land, such as renewable energy generation. In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, VLT made modest progress in its efforts to give higher priority to conserving land that protects communities during extreme flooding events.

VERMONT LAND TRUST | 2013-2014 | Agriculture, Land Use | $50,000 over two years
Pine Island Farm
To support the transition of a former conventional cow dairy near the mouth of the Winooski River to farming practices consistent with New American’s refugee heritage while adapting to periodic flooding conditions and protecting natural and riparian areas. This farm is owned by the Vermont Land Trust and operated in cooperation with AALV. The goal is for Pine Island Farm to be a place where New Americans can supplement their incomes by raising vegetables, rice, goats, and chickens in ways that are consistent with their cultural heritage. The farm is also using farming practices that accommodate the increasingly frequent flooding of the Winooski River. For instance, they planted one field with “positively invasive” bands of native species, in order to re-establish a more diverse wet meadowland that will improve water filtration and provide food for goats. VLT is partnering with the Intervale’s conservation nursery to widen the riparian buffer planting.

VERMONT NATURAL RESOURCES COUNCIL | 2013-2014 | Energy, Land Use | $130,000 over 2 years
High Meadows provides operating support to VNRC because of its leadership in strengthening policies and local planning practices that support sustainable land use, healthy forests and clean energy. More specifically, we support VNRC's advocacy for new funding and financing for weatherization programs and strong standards for efficiency and responsible wood sourcing for biomass projects; their support for local energy committees and the Community Energy Challenge; training and tools for local and regional planning consistent with smart growth and resilient land use practices; and their lead participation in the Resilient Vermont project of the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

In 2013, VNRC saw success in their work to help pass Act 172, a measure to protect VT’s shorelands, as well as the strengthening of Act 250 by promoting downtown development while discouraging strip development and expanding opportunities for distributed renewable energy generation.

VITAL COMMUNITIES | 2012-2013 | Energy | $36,000 over two years
High Meadows made a grant to Vital Communities’ Smart Commute program with the goal of developing an efficient and replicable model for delivering services to employers to help employees reduce single-occupancy vehicle commuting. As of May 2014, Vital Communities increased the number of Upper Valley employers enrolled in Smart Commute from 25 to 36. Smart Commute streamlined the way companies track the commuting habits of their employees and increased participation in Way to Go challenge events. Additionally, Vital Communities assisted Addison County Transit Resources and Brattleboro Climate Protection to establish Smart Commute programs in their regions. 


Click here for a list of grants made in 2016.

Click here for a list of grants made in 2015.

Click here for a list of grants made in 2014.

Click here for a list of grants made in 2012.