2014 Grants Listed Alphabetically by Organization
ADDISON COUNTY TRANSIT RESOURCES | 2012-2014 | Energy | $40,000 over 2 years
Two-year grant to develop a Smart Commute Addison County program, establish a Transportation Management Association of local businesses and municipalities and other local transportation initiatives that reduce the economic/ environmental cost of commuting. High Meadows supports this initiative because of the potential to reduce vehicle miles traveled by commuters, reducing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. ACTR has found businesses required more support than they'd anticipated and that a lack of incentives like parking shortages or high gas prices reduced engagement.
ANTIOCH UNIVERSITY NEW ENGLAND | 2014 | Land Use | $12,000
This grant provided travel stipends for local Vermont officials and members of the Vermont National Guard who may not otherwise have been able to afford to attend a New England resilience planning and climate preparedness conference. High Meadows made this grant in order to encourage learning about resilience, climate adaptation/ mitigation, and the importance of watershed-level planning among Regional Planning Commissions, local officials, and members of the Guard.
CARSHARE VERMONT | 2014 | Energy | $26,950
To develop a social marketing campaign targeting millennials with the goal of boosting membership. By targeting millennials, who are receptive to using alternative forms of transportation, CarShare will bolster its membership. A growing CarShare membership means fewer cars on the road. To quote the CSVT website: “Each shared car put into circulation is estimated to remove at least 15 cars from the road. Fewer cars and less driving mean less congestion, better air and water quality, smarter land use, reduced oil consumption, and a healthier community for everyone."
CENTER FOR AN AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY | 2013-2014 | Agriculture |$30,000 over two years
In 2013, the Center for an Agricultural Economy, the Intervale Center, and NOFA‐VT engaged in a pilot project to analyze the supply chain for local schools in relation to locally grown Vermont vegetables that were lightly processed for easier utilization in cafeteria settings. This project was designed with the intent of testing the price points for schools, for farmers and producers, and for distributors across Vermont.
Some lessons learned from this work include:
- Demand in schools is currently outstripping supply, so future research opportunities could focus on how to develop more efficient processing;
- Although this work focused on schools, there remains research to be performed on other institutional markets such as colleges, hospitals, and senior care facilities. These markets are larger than schools.
COMMUNITY RESILIENCE ORGANIZATIONS | 2014-2016 | Land Use | $45,000 over 3 years
To work with select towns to improve their hazard mitigation plans and generate enthusiasm for implementing elements of the plans. While the recommendations of the Resilient Vermont Project focused primarily on the need for watershed level planning, we feel it is important to support this municipal-level work because it seeks to break down silos within towns. By building social resilience locally, selectboards, road crews, and interested citizens will not only be better able to collaborate, but they are also likely to be better positioned to work with other towns.
ECHO LAKE AQUARIUM AND SCIENCE CENTER | 2014 | Land Use | $25,000
To support the March 2015 Climate Change Watershed Summit, which is convening watershed groups from around the state to improve resilience planning and implementation. The ECHO summit provided an opportunity for community members to discuss how to build resilience in their watershed. Attending this Summit strengthened the applications High Meadows received for its Request For Proposals (RFP) to support watershed-scale resilience planning and implementation.
FOREST GUILD | 2014 | Land Use | $9,000
Support for June 2014 national conference held in Burlington. This conference provided Vermont forestry practitioners with tools to adapt to climate change, which is having an increasingly adverse impact on the working forest landscape.
HEALTH CARE WITHOUT HARM | 2014 | Agriculture | $20,000
To increase locally and sustainably produced food purchases by VT health care facilities. HCWH created a tracking system and online project registry that can be used by hospitals to track local and sustainable food purchases. This work resulted in a baseline quantification of local product purchases which can serve as a benchmark for future work. HCWH also quantified current consumption and demand for additional local products at hospitals, identified opportunities for replacing purchases with a local product, and shared these numbers with food distributors to illustrate market expansion potential.
IDLE-FREE VERMONT | 2014 | Energy | $17,500
By conducting educational sessions about idling around the state, the intent of this project is to raise awareness about the health, environmental, and financial impacts of idling. The ultimate goal is to get schools to adopt and implement policies prohibiting idling, which would result in fewer GHG emissions. This work resulted in a 32% reduction in idling at these schools, saving 3,594 lbs CO2.
INTERVALE CENTER | 2014 | Agriculture | $50,000
One year of core operating support. The Intervale’s work strengthens community food systems by enhancing farm viability, promoting the sustainable use and stewardship of agricultural lands and ensuring community engagement in the food system. In 2014, the Intervale served 2 new incubator farms, rented 120 acres of agricultural land, served 7 farms through its Success on Farms program, had 1,032 subscriptions to its food hub, planted 20,500 native trees in riparian areas, and attracted about 1,000 people to each of its Summervale events. They continued their national leadership as a farm incubator and community food system champion, hosting prominent national and international visitors, and provided consulting to farms across the US.
INTERVALE CENTER | 2014 | Land Use, Agriculture | $25,000
To complete a land use assessment of the Intervale and create a plan for climate adaptation that supports the Intervale’s land stewardship, food production, and farm business incubation activity. They assessed flood risk on their 213 tillable acres, completed resilience-oriented land management plans, and developed plans for new production strategies which account for more erratic weather. The Intervale’s climate adaptation strategies consider flood mitigation, invasives, pests, drought resilience, and energy crops. A 2015 grant from High Meadows will support implementation of these findings.
INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES | 2014 | Land Use | $20,000
Resilient Vermont Project implementation. High Meadows provided funding to ISC for its 18-month Resilient Vermont Project, which resulted in this report. HMF made this grant to support the implementation of some of the recommendations in the report, which fell into 4 categories: Know our risks, elevate and integrate emergency management, align rules and investments for stronger communities, and work and learn together. Through convening an advisory committee, ISC engendered collaboration that bridged state agencies, reinforced the need for watershed-scale planning beyond the confines of individual towns, and honed a recommendation to create more coordinated efforts through a resilience network. This process informed High Meadows’ decision to issue a Request for Proposals for watershed level land use planning.
INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES | 2014 | Land Use | $20,000
This grant supports development of the Resilient Vermont Network. Based on the recommendations of the Resilient Vermont project advisory committee (see above), ISC is establishing a Resilient Vermont network to coordinate further implementation of the Roadmap to Resilience report, establish buy-in from government leaders, and track progress and hold parties responsible for proactive climate adaptation.
NEW ENGLAND GRASSROOTS ENVIRONMENT FUND | 2014 | Energy | $20,000
To create training and leadership videos for use by town energy committees. Some local town energy committees have expressed frustration with regard to prioritizing and measuring the impacts of the proposed energy projects in their town. These communication materials are meant to provide committees with clear direction, examples of best practices, and ideas for moving the needle at the community scale. These materials are intended to complement existing resources provided by groups like the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, the Sustainable Energy Resource Group, Vital Communities, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council.
NORTHERN FOREST CENTER | 2013-2015 | Energy, Land Use | $80,000 over 3 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. In general, using wood for thermal energy is a more efficient use of wood resources than using it for electricity. NFC shares HMF’s concern for ensuring sustainable harvesting practices and clean burning technologies as they develop this pilot. In its first year, the Vermont Model Neighborhood Project established new partnerships with key organizations such as Efficiency Vermont and the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, and explored the possibility of Clean Energy Development Fund support for bulk wood pellet delivery and storage.
OTTAUQUECHEE NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION DISTRICT | 2014| Land Use | $7,500
To fund the purchase of a second stream table, which ONRCD will use to educate students, teachers, parents, road crews, and others about the impact of different river management techniques. Stream tables serve as a powerful tool to demonstrate what happens, both upstream and downstream, when, for example, floodplains are developed or riverbeds are dredged or straightened. This often has implications outside of a single municipality, so through their education efforts, ONRCD is promoting responsible riverbed and floodplain management.
REGULATORY ASSISTANCE PROJECT | 2014-2015 | Energy | $20,000
To research and write a white paper that identifies the social, environmental, and economic returns of improving the energy fitness of Vermont’s low-income housing (available here). The paper summarized benefits of thermal EE low-income programs in terms of affordability, health and human services, environment, and the economy. Policy recommendations include strengthening codes, standards, time-of-sale labeling and disclosure requirements, binding efficiency targets, expanding markets and existing programs, Integrated Resource Planning for utilities, and integrating efficiency with social programs, with attention to low-income housing.
RUTLAND AREA FARM AND FOOD LINK | 2014 | Agriculture | $27,500
One year of operating support. RAFFL’s mission focuses closely on food, farms, and their economic vitality in Rutland County. High Meadows supports RAFFL because of their work assessing market potential and helping farmers access wholesale markets. By cultivating relationships and making efficient use of existing infrastructure, RAFFL fosters the creation of new markets.
SHEEP WOOL GROWERS ASSOCIATION (Fiscal Sponsor: Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund) | 2014 | Agriculture | $11,680
This work investigated the feasibility of using sheep wool as an insulation product. Almost 90% of shorn wool is currently going to waste. Realizing the resource value from low-grade sheep wool could improve the economic profitability of small sheep farmers in Vermont, improve the viability of sheep farming in the region and potentially provide a locally or regionally produced energy efficiency product. Preliminary findings indicate that, in an already crowded insulation market, successfully producing a sheep wool product in Vermont would require a certain scale of operation, competitive product performance, and increased consumer awareness and demand. Possible next steps include developing a VT/NY sourced and produced prototype and demonstration projects to document performance and increase awareness of wool as insulation.
THE CARROT PROJECT (Fiscal Sponsor: Third Sector New England) | 2014 | Agriculture | $12,000
HMF supports The Carrot Project because of their success in providing loans and technical assistance to new farmers, who often are not eligible for traditional financing. Between 2012 and 2014, The Carrot Project made eight loans totaling $158,000, with an average loan size of $19,750. One of these borrowers sought and received additional financing from the Vermont Community Loan Fund. The Carrot Project enrolled 21 farmers in a business technical assistance program.
UVM AGROECOLOGY AND RURAL LIVELIHOODS RESEARCH GROUP (ARLG) | 2012-2014 | Agriculture, Land Use | $37,950 over 3 years
HMF supported UVM's work to evaluate agricultural practices that adapt to a changing climate and forestall more dramatic changes (Climate Change Best Management Practices, CCBMPs). ARLG interviewed 12 Vermont service providers regarding perceptions of CCBMPs, risks and rewards of climate change for agriculture, how farmers are mitigating risk, and methods for communicating about climate change to the Vermont agricultural community. ARLG worked with 12 Vermont farms to measure greenhouse gas emissions, explore use of crop insurance, and develop digital visualizations of CCBMP implementation. The program’s website is here.
UVM EXTENSION - FOOD SAFETY ACCREDITATION FUND | 2014 | Agriculture | $15,000
Local food safety program for small producers/farms. If successful, this project will help many farms in the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association write food safety plans so that they are in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act. Such compliance will provide assurance to wholesale and retail customers that food producers are following food safety practices. This work will help farmers gain, or maintain, access to institutional markets.
VERMONT COMMUNITY LOAN FUND | 2014 | Agriculture | $45,000
Equipment Access Program co-managed by the Center for an Agricultural Economy and the Mad River Food Hub. This program provides emerging farm and food enterprises with timely access to equipment and advice about which equipment is most appropriate to allow their businesses to grow. High Meadows supported this work for the impact it will have in improving the consistency, quality, and quantity of VT-produced food products and improving the financial viability of the Vermont Food Venture Center and the Mad River Food Hub.
VERMONT ENERGY INVESTMENT CORPORATION | 2014 | Energy | $45,687
Transportation Efficiency Training Pilot Project. In partnership with the Vermont State Employee Credit Union (VSECU) and the Vermont Housing and Finance Agency (VHFA), to pilot a program to educate homebuyers about the embedded energy costs of homes, based on their location and energy fitness.
VERMONT FOOD BANK | 2014 | Agriculture | $12,000
To study the effects of Act 148 – the Universal Recycling Law – on the Vermont Foodbank and its distribution system. High Meadows provided support to the Food Bank to assess Act 148’s challenges and opportunities – both with regard to increased amounts of food that will become available and the Food Bank’s infrastructural capacity to store and move it. The Food Bank identified less opportunity to divert food from the food waste stream than expected. Though supermarkets may have more fresh food to donate, the prepared food waste stream likely will not. The Foodbank is investing in increasing efficiencies and in infrastructure to handle increased charitable food donations, particularly of fresh produce.
VERMONT LAND TRUST | 2014-2016 | Agriculture, Land Use | $150,000 over 3 years
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. VLT 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 2014, VLT completed 68 conservation projects, 25 of which involved the purchase of farms. VLT also purchased the 6,000-acre Deer Lake working forest, confirming VLT’s commitment to landscape-scale woodland protection. VLT completed development of its GIS-based river sensitivity tool, which it will use to increase river protection work in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.
VERMONT NATURAL RESOURCES COUNCIL | 2012-2014 | Energy, Land Use | $130,000 over 2 years
To provide operating support for VNRC's leadership on energy, smart growth, and forest health in Vermont. High Meadows supports VNRC because of its leadership in developing policies and local planning practices that support sustainable land use and development and reduce the use of fossil fuels. More specifically, we support VNRC's advocacy for new funding and financing for weatherization programs and strong standards for efficiency and wood sourcing for biomass projects; their support for local energy committees and the Community Energy Challenge; the pilot implementation of the new Resilient Communities Scorecard; and their 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 helping expand opportunities for distributed renewable generation.
VERMONT SUSTAINABLE JOBS FUND | 2014 | Agriculture, Land Use, Energy | $25,000
Highfields Center for Composting
Unfortunately, Highfields Center for Composting ceased operations in 2014. High Meadows gave a grant to VSJF to assist the Highfields board to close the books, transfer ownership of assets, and find a new home for the educational materials it had created. This experience reminded High Meadows that new governance structures are needed when an organization shifts from entrepreneurial startup to large operating organization with responsibilities to many constituents and funders.
VERMONT SUSTAINABLE JOBS FUND | 2014 | Land Use | $15,000
To support a comprehensive analysis of the forest and wood products industry value chain in Vermont by the Working Lands Enterprise Board. High Meadows is participating in funding this work in hopes that the results will help guide investments of the Working Lands Enterprise Board to effect local forestry industry growth in an economical and sustainable manner. The report is available here.
VITAL COMMUNITIES | 2014-2015 | Energy | $50,000 over two years
Smart Commute – Home Edition
Vital Communities’ Smart Commute program has been 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 enrollment of Upper Valley employers involved in Smart Commute from 25 to 36. Smart Commute worked to streamline the way companies track the commuting habits of their employees and has had particular success by increasing participation in Way to Go! challenge events. Additionally, Vital Communities assisted Addison County Transit to establish a Smart Commute program in Middlebury. Vital Communities hopes to work with 12 communities by June 2016, and decrease single occupancy driving by 2-8% annually. They will share their learning with VTrans, the Transportation Stakeholders Network, and interested others.
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 2013.
Click here for a list of grants made in 2012.