Early Childhood Education Initiative
How can we increase childcare access and affordability in the Upper Valley so our families and workplaces can thrive? Upper Valley employers and families both name access to high-quality, affordable childcare as one of the key barriers to prosperity in our region, especially for low- and moderate-income families. Following a two-session symposium on this issue in November 2021, Vital Communities and an Early Care & Education Steering Committee are devising longer-term initiatives and working groups.
White River Valley Consortium
When a region’s housing is affordable for people starting careers or businesses, the whole community thrives. The White River Valley Consortium is a new collaboration of 14 towns near the White River in Central-Eastern Vermont, created to address challenges that individual towns can’t fully tackle on their own. The WRVC’s first effort focuses on increasing housing for entry-level workforce and beginning entrepreneurs.
Route 11 Corridor Initiative
How can cities and towns along the Route 11 Corridor join together for their common good? During 2019 and 2020, Vital Communities listened to people from more than 20 communities in that region – from Springfield, Vermont, to New London, New Hampshire – to hear the themes that felt most important for the region. That gave rise to subcommittees on Marketing and Youth that have continued to meet, as well as projects targeted to that region.
Community Discussion Lists (AKA “Listservs”)
Vital Communities encourages community engagement through local community email discussion lists that allow members of a community to post and respond to messages about their town. There are also numerous lists specific to such subjects as climate action, farming, and conservation. This service is provided free to communities in the Upper Valley by Vital Communities.
Vital Communities Corporate Council
The Corporate Council brings together top representatives of major employers and others to address challenges the region faces. Current issues include workforce housing, workforce development, racial equity, child care, and our region’s response to COVID-19. Vital Communities is the Council’s convener and administrator, and Vital Communities’ Executive Director is a Council member.
The White River Land Collaborative
Founded in 2021 and sited on an historic Tunbridge farm, the White River Land Collaborative is a farmer-led, community-driven project that aims to provide young farmers affordable land and housing, offer other support to the region’s farmers and economy, generate green power, and provide community space. The Collaborative is an example of how market forces, tax laws, community interests, and energy technology can all come together to increase the vitality of the local economy and food supply.