High Meadows Fund looks for opportunities to work as an active partner with organizations we support. If we see a gap we may convene thought leaders. Those discussions may lead to supporting research, a pilot program, or a loan. When we can add value, our staff remains directly involved, sometimes over several years, though our role may change during that time.
Watershed Resilience: After extensive damage from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and other more recent extreme weather events, High Meadows participated in a two-year discussion with state and local officials, planners, business leaders, emergency responders and others concerning how to reduce the risk of damage to people, property and communities in the face of more frequent and more severe storms as the climate continues to change. As a result of the resulting Roadmap to Resilience report, we awarded $249,000 to six multi-town watershed teams in 2015 to support watershed level planning and action to build resilience. Read More about the 6 projects or watch the video below.
In January 2017, High Meadows launched a second phase of this initiative. Learn more here...
Evergreen Conservation Partners: The Castanea Foundation, High Meadows, and the John Merck Fund formed Evergreen Conservation Partners L3C to finance the purchase of a former cow dairy farm in Randolph as a first step in establishing a commercial scale goat dairy. Ayers Brook Goat Dairy operates with open book financials and partners with Vermont Technical College and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. Ayers Brook, a subsidiary of Vermont Creamery, supplies local goat milk to specialty producers like Fat Toad Farm. Raising goats has the potential to provide financial value to farmers while operating with a smaller environmental footprint than conventional cow dairies. Through Evergreen, and a new fund initiated in 2016, Taproot Capital Fund, High Meadows can support private enterprises that anchor Vermont’s working landscape.
Manufactured Housing Innovation Project: Mobile homes make up 7% of Vermont’s housing stock. A significant proportion of these homes are old and in very poor condition, so their owners face high energy costs and health and safety hazards. Many of these mobile homes sit on flood-prone land. A disproportionate number of the houses destroyed during Tropical Storm Irene were mobile homes. A partnership among High Meadows, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), Efficiency Vermont, and affordable housing organizations led to developing and piloting a highly efficient, durable, and comfortable modular home. Read more about ongoing efforts to transform options for mobile home replacement on VHCB’s website. High Meadows has supported this project through research, a loan to VHCB’s Land Bank Fund, direct staff engagement, and grantmaking.