Partnerships and Collaboration Toward Achieving Our Mission
The High Meadows Fund values shared learning and the joy we experience by working with others who care deeply about respecting our natural environment and preserving Vermont’s distinct way of life while strengthening our economic vitality. We list here some of the relationships that help us to grow personally and improve the effectiveness of our philanthropy.
Because High Meadows Fund is a supporting organization, the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) provides High Meadows with high quality administrative, legal, tax compliance, financial reporting and investment support. In return, High Meadows provides financial support to VCF in the form of supporting fees.
Beyond that formal support, High Meadows values its association with VCF as a source of shared learning and growth and a base from which to develop other philanthropic partners, especially in environmental grantmaking. VCF’s philosophy of “Learn, Lead, Grow”, reports such as “Understanding Vermont” and initiatives such as the Vermont Food and Farm Initiative are available to funders and nonprofits, regardless of any formal relationship with VCF. Beyond those, High Meadows benefits from staff meetings and lunchroom conversations where that philosophy and analysis is applied in real-Vermont challenges and possibilities.
As a corollary, High Meadows can provide VCF staff and fundholders the chance to learn from HMF’s environmental grantmaking and, in particular, our knowledge of energy efficiency and renewable energy challenges and public policy in Vermont. The Manufactured Housing Innovation Project has involved four fundholders of the Vermont Community Foundation partnering with High Meadows to support the construction of ten pilot high performance manufactured homes. The project relied on the leadership of High Meadows, but benefited greatly from the thought and financial participation of VCF and other fundholders.
VCF serves as a host for partnering with other grantmakers. The Vermont Funders’ Network initiated and hosted by VCF, and the relationship with the executive director of the Permanent Fund, another supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, are two examples.
High Meadows participates in several learning networks of funders, both within and external to Vermont. These networks provide opportunities to learn from the work and contacts of others, to discuss shared challenges and goals, and potentially to participate in funding collaboratives that extend our grantmaking capacity beyond what we could accomplish on our own. These networks include the Vermont Food Funders’ Network, the Vermont Funders’ Network, the Climate and Energy Funders’ Group, and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. High Meadows seeks out opportunities to share learning and collaborate in grantmaking with funders in the northeast who are focused on climate and energy issues.
High Meadows also benefits from several more formal action networks in our areas of interest, including the Farm to Plate network, hosted by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, and the Energy Action Network.
C. Institutions of Higher Education
In its early years High Meadows funded several initiatives within Vermont colleges and universities; for example, a biomass corn furnace demonstration at UVM Extension, a conservation leadership program at the Rubenstein School, and the Land Use Institute at the Vermont Law School. Going forward, High Meadows will continue to seek leaders in these colleges and universities who can inform our work. For grantmaking purposes we limit our funding to initiatives that support market innovation or local action directed at our strategic priorities.
D. Private Sector - for-profit and nonprofit
High Meadows benefits from the knowledge and experience of experts in the non-profit and for-profit sectors in each of its focus areas. Examples of valuable partners in this regard include the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), Renewable Energy Vermont (REV), the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), Energy Futures Group, the Vermont Building Performance Professionals Association, public and investor owned utilities, renewable energy developers, energy efficiency contractors, and farmers.
E. Public Officials
High Meadows’ goals for a healthy natural environment and long term economic vitality are shared by many public officials who serve Vermont. High Meadows maintains communications with state agencies, Vermont’s congressional delegation, and state legislators in order to share learning, build on public policy initiatives, avoid duplication, and make best use of scarce public and philanthropic resources.
F. High Meadows' Grant Partners
Our impact can only come through effective partnerships with the organizations that execute good ideas and plans. In addition to learning from the specific projects we have funded, we value our grantees’ observations of the fields in which they work. We learn about gaps and opportunities in the energy sector or food and agriculture systems by listening to and learning from our grantee partners. And we can help them be more effective by connecting them with other grantees or with businesses with similar or overlapping missions.