UV Indie Economic Impact Survey

Calling All Locally Owned and Independent UV Retail Stores and Restaurants!

Vital Communities has commissioned an Independent Economic Impact Study that will give us data on the impact of locally owned retail and restaurant businesses on the UV economy. We know that local businesses are the backbone of our economy by creating jobs, creating unique downtowns, and support our communities with donations of time and money. We want to learn the exact ecnomic impact- the real data- to share in our outreach and marketing. We need your help to get accurate data, so we can tell the story of why keeping dollar here, especially now, is more important than ever!

All information is confidential and will only be shared in aggregate.

Why should you participate? 

State, Federal, and private COVID-19 funding will continue to roll-out through the coming months; data such as that provided by this study will inform policy and funding decisions as we move forward. Baseline data on the economic impact of local businesses allow all of us – you, consumers, funders – to make more fully informed decisions about what to do with our money.

How can you participate?

  • Complete the survey – a minimum of 10 complete survey responses are needed for each jurisdiction – 10 for New Hampshire, 10 for Vermont, with at least three in each sector (retail and restaurant). In order to add the county level to the analysis, we would need the same for each county. 
  • Share your information – in order to make a productive economic impact analysis “sensitive and proprietary information” is required. This information is provided directly to Civic Economics, is completely confidential, and is not seen by anyone outside of Civic Economics. The only information shared publicly is the name of the participating business as will be noted in the final report.

What financial information should you have in hand?

  • What was this business’ total revenue in the most recent complete fiscal year pre-COVID?
  • What percentage of total revenue was paid out to locally-based OWNERS in the form of profits, dividends, wages, or other disbursements in that year?
  • What percentage of total revenue was paid out to EMPLOYEES in the form of wages, benefits, and other disbursements in that year?
  • What percentage of total revenue did this business spend to procure services from other local businesses ( a rough guess is close enough)?
  • What percentage of total revenue did this business spend to purchase locally-produced goods for resale in this business?
  • What percentage of total revenue did this business donate to charitable causes within the study area in that year?

Given the volatility of the 2020 economic picture thus far we are seeking data from (and subsequent analysis will be based on) 2019 financial information.

When is the deadline?

All completed surveys must be received at Civic Economics by August 21.

Where is the survey?

The survey can be accessed at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VitalCommunities


Contact Erika Hoffman-Kiess at erika@vitalcommunities.org

TLC 4WARD Crowdfunding for Businesses

Do you own an Upper Valley business that is suffering due to the effects of the pandemic and could use a little help from your friends? TLC 4WARD Upper Valley is here for you.

The Local Crowd (TLC) 4WARD Upper Valley is a community-based crowdfunding platform designed to address the local economic impact of the pandemic response on the local businesses that are the backbone of our community. A partnership between The Local Crowd, and Vital Communities, TLC 4WARD encourages community members to pay it forward so that your business will still be here on the other side of this crisis. TLC 4WARD Upper Valley provides and easy-to-use online platform that collects donations from the community to support the businesses they love.

Two ways for businesses to participate: 

  1. Create your own crowdfunding campaign, similar to a GoFundMe campaign. The Local Crowd can provide training modules, technical support, and Vital Communities will help promote your efforts. These types of campaigns offer multiple donation amounts and corresponding  “rewards” (tokens of appreciation) which you would be responsible for. This site can also be used as a place to sell gift cards or other products. All contributions flow directly into your bank account (less the 3%+/- credit card fees) as the donations are made. You will need a Stripe or similar account. Email tlc@vitalcommunities.org if you have questions. Apply to build and run a TLC 4WARD campaign of your own.
  2. Be part of a multi-business campaign created by Vital Communities. We’ll create and host 12 geography and sector-based umbrella campaigns that can collect donations for many businesses, each identified as a individual story with an image and text that you provide and that contributors and specifically support. For example, we’ll unite White River Junction businesses into one campaign and have a campaign for area restaurants. This is a lighter lift for smaller businesses and potentially easier for the community to fund all of the businesses they love in one easy, secure transaction. Donation amount is determined by the donor. No Rewards are expected, and you can use your story to promote your curbside service, gift card opportunities, or your online store. Mascoma Bank will handle dispersing the donations by ACH (less the 3% credit card fee) to the participating businesses (see dispersal terms below). Fill out application to be part of a multi-business campaign.

Please consult with your tax advisor regarding the tax implications of your election to participate.  Nothing in this communication is intended to constitute legal or tax advice.

General Eligibilty:

Open to Local First member businesses impacted by the pandemic. Local First membership is now free for all locally-owned businesses and organizations (see criteria below) with an “Economic Recovery Membership”. Join Local First now!

  • Local First membership is open to businesses and organizations in the 69-town service area of Vital Communities that meet the following criteria:
  • Registered in the state of New Hampshire or Vermont, with no corporate or national headquarters outside the respective state
  • All marketing, rent, and other business expenses paid without the assistance from, or payment to a corporate headquarters
  • Able to make independent decisions regarding name and appearance, as well as all purchasing, supply and distribution practices
  • The owner is (or majority of owners) a local resident who lives within Vermont and New Hampshire for more than half the year
  • If the business has multiple outlets/branches, the majority shall be located in New Hampshire and Vermont
  • Locally owned franchises are eligible if franchisee has exercised independent decisions regarding name and appearance of business.


Vital Communities has no variance power over the donations collected through TLC 4WARD.

Businesses are required to withdraw from the program and notify Vital Communities if they permanently close.


Solo Business Campaign:
Vital Communities and The Local Crowd are providing the TLC platform as a free service to Local First members. The business is responsible for creating and building your campaign on the TLC site. We can provide instructional modules to help you create and launch a successful campaign. There is modest assistance available from the TLC folks if you hit snags or have tech questions.  You will be responsible for fulfilling the rewards. Expect to spend 8 hours building the campaign (creating text, adding photos, adding rewards, connecting Stripe, etc) and lots of hours promoting it to your networks. Email with questions and apply here to build a solo campaign for your business.

Joint Multi-Business Campaign:
Vital Communities will build and promote this initiative, but your help sharing with your customers and networks will be critical. To participate:

Disbursement of donations for the joint campaigns: Due to the technical limitations of the platform, only a single bank account can be connected to a campaign. Vital Communities as the campaign creator for the multi-business campaigns and will collect and disburse the donations to each participating business as follows:

ACH funds transfer (preferred, thanks to Mascoma Bank’s offer to waive Cash Management fees for this project)

  • Bi-weekly transfers if a business has received more than $100 in donations less credit card fees. Less than $100 in donations less credit card fees will be transferred monthly

Payout by Check:

  • Monthly for amounts over $500
  • Quarterly for amounts between $100 and $499
  • If dollar amount is below $100, then business get the funds when the project closes


Questions? Please contact Nancy LaRowe at nancy@vitalcommunities.org or call 802-291-9100 x106.


Photo credit: Molly Drummond

Donation Platform for UV Businesses

Do you own an Upper Valley business that is impacted by Covid-19 and could use a little help from your friends? TLC/4WARD is here to help. 
Vital Communities launched The Local Crowd (TLC) Upper Valley in 2019, a community-based crowdfunding platform, to empower the community to invest in local social enterprises while providing creative capital for growing businesses, community intitatives, and others.
Today, the impacts of the pandemic are wreaking havoc on our economy and threatening many of our small businesses. TLC/4Ward uses the same platform, but as a fundraising platform that encourages the community to pay it forward,  so your business will be here on the other side of this crisis. 
We are in the process of building the site, and will have it up and running shortly. Below are some screen shots to give you an idea of what we’re planning. Businesses can build their own “campaign” or there is the possibility that Vital Communities can help smaller businesses participate through multi-business campaigns. Vital Communities and The Local Crowd are providing this platform for free to Local First member businesses (no cost to use the platform, but credit card fees apply).
Reach out to nancy@vitalcommunities.org or erika@vitalcommunities.org with your interest and questions.

Give to the Businesses You Love!

Wendell Berry once said that by choosing to support a local business in your community, you’re essentially telling that business owner, “I want you to exist. I acknowledge that you and I are neighbors and I accept responsibility for that relationship.” Right now, we each face an enormous responsibility to support our neighbors.

Covid-19 is an economic crisis that many small businesses will not survive without our financial support. If you’re still working or have some extra stimulus dollars to spend, please consider donating to the businesses that make the UV a great place to live, work, and play. Upper Valley businesses need our love now more than ever!

TLC/4Ward Upper Valley is a crowdfunding platform where you can donate to many area businesses that are hanging on by a thread. Your gift will help them be here after this emergency, so they can get back to creating stable jobs, vibrant downtowns with character, and giving back to our community.

Thank you for choosing your neighbors in big, bold, generous ways. It matters.

Renewable Energy Funding for Small Businesses

Get the information you need to move forward with a renewable energy or energy efficiency project in Vermont or New Hampshire. Join Ken Yearman, Rural Development Energy Coordinator for Vermont and New Hampshire; a farmer who recently completed a REAP project; the solar company that completed that project; and Ana Mejia, Vital Communities Climate Projects Coordinator. Our workshop will be held in the Hanover Co-op Food Stores’ Co-op Learning Center which is inside the Co-op’s LEBANON location at 12 Centerra Parkway. Lunch included! Get all your questions answered and take action on your renewable energy or efficiency projects!

Join Vital Communities, Hanover Co-op Food Stores, and USDA Rural Development for a webinar and workshop series to learn about opportunities to fund renewable energy systems and energy efficiency projects with the REAP (Renewable Energy for America Program).

Attend both events or just one and learn how to use government grants and loans to reduce your energy cost and your carbon footprint.

  • Webinar: February 19, 11:30 am-12:30 pm. Get an overview of REAP grant and loan programs with Fred Petok and Ken Yearman from USDA Rural Development.
    Webinar registration.
  • Workshop: February 24,  11:30 am-1:30 pm. Get the information you need to move forward with a renewable energy or energy efficiency project in Vermont or New Hampshire. Join Ken Yearman, Rural Development Energy Coordinator for Vermont and New Hampshire; a farmer who recently completed a REAP project; the solar company that completed that project; and Ana Mejia, Vital Communities Climate Projects Coordinator. Our workshop will be held in the Hanover Co-op Food Stores’ Co-op Learning Center which is inside the Co-op’s LEBANON location at 12 Centerra Parkway. Lunch included! Get all your questions answered and take action on your renewable energy or efficiency projects!  Workshop registration.


Improve Your Small Business Digital Marketing Presence!

Calling all Upper Valley farms and small businesses!

Could your business benefit from professional consulting services to improve your marketing? With Rural Development funding, Local First is hosting free marketing workshops AND providing an opportunity for several businesses to take advantage of cost-share one-on-one consultation with Kim Dixon and Insights Marketing Solutions.


The same workshop will be held in three locations around the Upper Valley:

Thursday, January 23, 5-7pm, Space on Main, Bradford. Register here.

Monday, January 1/27, 3-5pm, Arnold Block, Bethel. Register here.

Tuesday, 1/28, 10am-noon, Kilton Library, West Lebanon. Register here.

FREE for Local First members, $15 non-members. Join Local First before January 31 and save 50%! 

Learn how to transform your ideas into effective marketing that drives action and sales with the workshop “10-Step Marketing Plan”. A marketing plan does not need to be complicated, but it can make your promotion more effective AND save you time. In this workshop, Kim Dixon of Insights Marketing will guide us through the ten-steps to identify the most effective approach to developing a marketing plan. Includes hand-outs, time for participant questions and interaction, and refreshments & networking time. You’re encouraged to bring your computer!

Key components to the workshop:

  • Marketing Objectives
  • Product & Branding
  • Target Markets
  • Competition
  • Positioning
  • Pricing
  • Sales
  • Marketing Venues
  • Budget
  • Implementation

Kim Dixon, Owner of Insights Marketing is a full-service marketing agency dedicated to empowering businesses and non-profits, especially in the ever-changing world of marketing.  We educate our clients so they are in full control of their marketing decisions, and collaborate with them to move those decisions to action.



Technical Assistance Opportunity

Local First members that attend a workshop can apply for a cost-sharing opportunity to have 9 hours of professional consultation with Kim Dixon that will improve your digital presence, increase customer engagement, and impact sales. Insights Solutions Marketing can help with website development, email marketing, campaign design, and more.

Join or renew Local First today to be eligible for the marketing technical assistance. Join or renew by January 31 and save 50% for an annual business membership!

TLC Upper Valley Success!

Local Investing Success with TLC Upper Valley!

The Local Crowd (TLC) Upper Valley is a locally based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to invest in the businesses, organizations and initiatives that support vital communities in our region. We recently wrapped up the pilot phase of this project that supported five projects in Canaan, Enfield, Topsham, and White River Junction that collectively raised almost $50,000 from more than 300 contributors!

Thank you, Upper Valley, for supporting:

Whaleback Mountain: Base Lodge Energy Efficiency Updates, $21,180
Mascoma Friends Feeding Friends: Friends Feeding Foodie, $13,970
 Willow Tree Community Compost: Closing the Food Waste Loop, $4,080
 Sunrise Farm: Close the Loop with Compost, $4,555
The Growing Peace Project: Food for Thought, $5,725

Sixty percent of the TLC Upper Valley campaigns met or surpassed their crowdfunding goals (Kickstarter has a 31% success rate).

If you have an idea that could use a lift, Round 2 for TLC Upper Valley is underway! Learn more about the campaign guidelines and application process or contact Nancy at 802-291-9100 x106.

Rooted in Community = Giving Back All Year

Locally owned businesses are rooted in the Upper Valley and donate time and money every month of the year as they support nonprofits, schools, and communities. Keep your dollars where your heart is and support the businesses that support and build our thriving communities. Think Local First this season.
Continuing reading to see just how much Local First members have contributed this year to help make the Upper Valley a better place to live, work, and play.


The Hanover Co-op Food Stores and Servcie Centers – The Pennies for Change program has year-to-date collected almost $160,000 to support community partners. This vital community cooperative also donates tons of produce to Willing Hands each year, and  proudly support organizations like Vital Communities, The Upper Valley Haven, LISTEN, and many more. 

Mascoma Bank – Each year, the Bank and the Mascoma Bank Foundation donate more than $1 million to hundreds of area organizations. From municipalities to local not-for-profit organizations of every stripe, the Bank’s philanthropic efforts have always been geared towards strengthening our communities. The employees of this Certified B Corp participate in making our communities enjoyable, happy, healthy, safe places to live through hundreds of hours of community service,

Great Eastern Radio – Central Vermont Salvation Army, Vital Communities, New Hampshire Food Bank, David’s House and Upper Valley Haven, and Lakes Region Children’s Charities.

King Arthur Flour This Certified B Corp believes in using business as a force for good, and supports many worthy causes with special focus on:

  • Food & Hunger: We support efforts to increase access and connection to real foods.
  • Sustainability: We support efforts that positively influence our natural environment, and promote the conservation of resources and the development of renewable energy sources.

Specifically King Arthur supports Hunger Free Vermont, Vital Communities, Upper Valley Haven, and their Bake For Good: Kids program, Vermont WARMTH (Home fuel heating assistance), Vermont Foodbank, Family Place, David’s House, Helping Hands, Vital Communities

LaValley Building Supply – Northern Stage, David’s House, Upper Valley Haven, Vital Communities

Ledyard National Bank –  Ledyard’s commitment to community support encompasses all that we do as bankers and as citizens responsible for the growth and vitality of the areas we serve. Our civic involvement is built upon a well-defined ongoing charitable giving program that allows us to impact our neighbors in ways that go beyond day-to-day business activities. Through both in-kind and cash donations, we help nonprofit organizations throughout the Upper Valley, Concord and Lake Sunapee Regions succeed.

Ledyard supports Upper Valley Haven, LISTEN Community Services, Good Neighbor Healthcare Center, 19 Days of Norwich, Upper Valley Humane Society, New Hampshire Wonmen’s Foundation, the Friendly Kitchen, Children’s Scholarship Fund, Windsor county Mentors, Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity, CHaD, and many more.

West Lebanon Feed & Supply – Upper Valley Humane Society, VINS, Lacey’s Fund & the VT Police Canine Assoc., Lebanon Varsity Sports, Willing Hands & Share the Harvest, Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society, Watson Upper Valley Dog Park, Shaker Field Dog Park, Local 4-H & GMHA programs, Local Police k-9 training, Local Boy & Girl Scout Troops, Vital Communities

Chippers Sponsorships: David’s House Golf Tournament (annual), Friends of Morrill Homestead Gallery in the Garden (annual), Howe Library Classic Mini Golf Fundraising Event (annual), Lebanon Opera House Coig sponsor, Marion Cross School PTO newsletter sponsor (annual), Montshire Museum Fiddlehead Fling Benefit Raiser (annual), New Hampshire Audubon Society annual meeting sponsor, Northern Stage Once  (annual), Norwich Historical Center House & Garden Tour (annual), Opera North Pirates of Penzance (annual), Our Lady of the Snows Golf Tournament sponsor (annual), Pomfret/Teago Volunteer Fire Department Ox Pull (annual), Prosper Valley School Harvest Supper (annual), Thompson Senior Center Valentine’s Day Auction (annual), Upper Valley Haven Longest Drive Sponsor for Golf Tournament (annual), VINS Forest Canopy Walk sponsor, Woodstock Boys Varsity Hockey Golf Tournament sponsor (annual), Woodstock Community Naked Table Community Building Project, Woodstock Recreation Center Hole sponsor for Golf Tournament (annual), Woodstock Ski Runners Hole sponsor for Golf Tournament (annual), Woodstock’s Spectrum Teen Center John Langhan’s Run (annual), Zack’s Place Turkey Trot (annual).

Plant a Seed Program (no charge for work): Headrest: Tree removal and pruning, Lebanon Youth Baseball Association:, Norman Williams Public Library: pruning and cabling, Woodstock Chamber of Commerce: installation and removal of holiday lights (annual)

Gift Certificates for Auctions: Bridgewater Fire Department Celebration Day, Hanover Rotary Event for Positive Tracks, Lyme Elementary School, Montshire Museum, Norwich Lions Clubs Annual Fair, Special Needs Support Center, Thompson Senior Center Valentine’s Day Gala, Upper Valley Trout Unlimited, Woodstock Rotary Club, Woodstock Ski Runners

Miscellaneous: Friends of Hanover football, Woodstock Union High School football, Woodstock Union High School girls basketball, The Prouty: Three vehicles and drivers on race day, Hartford Project Graduation, Lebanon Project Graduation, Woodstock History Center, Woodstock Food Shelf

Norwich Solar Technology – Blueberry Hill Inn Goshen Gallop, CHaD Hero Corporate Sponsor, Ford K. Sayre Memorial Ski Council, Friends of Hanover Girls’ Soccer, Friends of Hanover Lacrosse (FOHL), Hartford Parks & Rec Glory Days, Hartford Parks and Recreation, Lebanon Middle School /Dartmouth Thayer School of Engineering Solar Sprint, Main Street Alliance Vermont, New Hampshire Public Radio, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), Norwich Historical Society, Quechee Balloon Festival, Renewable Energy Vermont (REV), Sharon Academy Playbill, Sustainable Woodstock, The Upper Valley Haven, The Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (VTAEYC), The Zienzele Foundation, Upper Valley Aquatic Center Splash Camp (UVAC), Upper Valley Sierra Club, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR), Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network (VECAN), Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP), Vermont Public Radio, Vermont Works for Women, Vital Communities, Walk to End Alzheimer’s (Alzheimer’s Society), Washington County Mental Health Mountain Bike Ride for Children’s Mental Health, Waterbury Local Energy Action Partnership (LEAP) Fair

A.B. Gile – Lebanon Opera House, Northern Stage, Colonial Theater. Staff members serve on the board of Visiting Nurse Hospice VNH, Second Growth, and Cedarcrest of Keene. Staff members volunteer for Lebanon High School Hockey, Special Olympics, and Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl

Jake’s Market & Deli and Jake’s Coffee Co. – West Central Services, Special Olympics, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Toys for Tots, Montshire Museum, Kilton Library, Lebanon Opera House, Good Neighbor Health Clinic, David’s House, WISE, AVA Gallery, Skip’s Run, New London Hospital, SPARK Community Center, Zac’s Place, Lebanon CCBA, Karp’s Classic, Visiting Nurse & Hospice for NH & VT, Dartmouth Athletics, Lebanon/Hanover/Hartford/Walpole/Springfield/Andover/New London Schools, Enfield Village Assoc., Upper Valley Haven, Lebanon/Hanover/New London/White River/Bellows Falls Rotary, Friends of Veterans NH & VT, Greeny Golf Tournament, DARE, New England Handicapped Sportsman’s Assoc., Norwich Lyons Club, Local Fire and Police Depts., Upper Valley Trails Alliance

Fat Hat Clothing – Finiacial support many charities including Upper Valley Haven, David’s House, Special Olympics, Thetford Academy class trip, Planned Parenthood of New England, and Vital Communities.  Sponsors and helps support the summer jazz festival in Lebanon NH and the White River Film Festival. Helped establish the Not in Our House Fund to support children in homes with domestic violence. Fundraise for breast cancer awareness and research and have created and run the Pink Suitcase Project to help reduce hair loss and help increase self esteem for chemo patients at Norris Cotton Cancer Center of DHMH.  Sell baskets from the Zienzele Foundation where 100% of the sales go to AIDS orphans and their caregivers in some of the poorest villages in rural Zimbabwe.  Support Clara Martin’s 2019 holiday food baskets and we provides free Fat Hats to chemo patients around the country and donate clothing to disaster areas nationally. 

Systems Plus Computers – Supports over 100 local organizations each year.

Chase Brook Software – Howe Library, Hanover Improvement Society, Campion Rink, Storrs Pond Recreation Area, Prouty, Ford Sayre Memorial Ski Club, Hanover Conservation Commission, Hanover Trails Committee, Upper Valley Trails Alliance, Hanover Conservancy, Vital Communities, Hartford Community Restorative Justice Center, Hanover High School Field Hockey, Hanover Rotary Club, Hanover Community Gardens

Copeland Furniture Company Store – Montshire Museum, AVA Gallery, Mentoring Project, VINS, Connecticut Valley Fair, Orange East Senior Center, West Newbury Backroom-Neighbors Sharing with Neighbors Watch them grow Children’s center-Bradford and Newbury, 8th Annual Hope for Hannah CF Horseshoe Tournament, Atkinson’s Residence Activity Fund, The Jazzy’s Children Fund, Makala Pierson Benefit

Dan & Whit’s General Store – ​The Norwich Lions Club, Hartford/Norwich Basket Helpers, Upper Valley Trails Alliance, Norwich Women’s Club, Upper Valley Trails Alliance, Upper Valley Hostel, Upper Valley Reptile Group, COVER Home Repair, Norwich Child Care Center, WISE, AVA Gallery, Bayada Nurses for Veterans, Hartford Historical Society, Special Needs Support Group, Upper Valley Humane Society, Norwich Library, High Horses, The Upper Valley Haven​, White River Junction Rotary, VT Prevent Child Abuse, Alice Peck Day Senior Center, Grass Roots Soccer, Upper Valley Aquatic Center, High Horses, Windsor County Partners, Beaver Meadow & Root Dist. Schoolhouses.

ECFiber – Free upgrades to all schools, public institutions, and libraries in its coverage area.

Energy Emporium – Shaker Bridge Theater, Shaker Museum, Whaleback, The Mascoma Music Performing Arts,  Upper Valley Robotics Team #95, the Grasshoppers, Lebanon Opera House.

Henderson’s Tree Service – Vital Communities

Janson & Colgan Law Office – Lebanon Opera House, Lebanon Rail Trail, Shaker Bridge Theater, City Center Ballet, Second Growth,  NH Charitable Fund, Vital Communities

Molly’s Restaurant & Jesse’s Steak House – The Upper Valley Haven, Upper Valley veterans

Norwich Bookstore – We support the community in many different ways. Some are ongoing like the 1% of all books purchased through our Rewards Program that is donated to a variety of organizations. Others are event based such as our collaborations with The Book Jam to raise funds for the Norwich Public Library and several area school’s reading programs – Pages in the Pub and mutilple Book Buzz gatherings. Now in it’s 20th year, our Book Angel program collects hundred’s of books annually for local children, some of whom receive their first ever “very own” book. In addition, we donate books and gift certificates to auctions and other fund raisers – Good Neighbor, Norwich Women’s Club, Montshire Museum, AVA, and various libraries throughout the year.

Red Kite Candy – Many schools (Thetford Elementary, Thetford Academy, Oxbow, Bradford Elementary, Open Fields) for raffles, silent auctions, project grad donations, TA’s 7th grade DC Fundraising), Thetford Elementary PTO, area libraries (Strafford Library, Latham Library (Thetford), Peabody Library (Thetford), Bradford Library, and the Howe Library in Hanover.

South Royalton Market – Donates about $4,000, including fresh summer produce, to community meals and local organizations in the White River Valley.

Three Tomatoes Trattoria – CHaD, Vital Communities, Montshire Museum, LISTEN, AVA Gallery, Upper Valley Haven,Change the World Kids, Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Lebanon Opera House, Opera North, VINS, Lebanon Farmers’ Market, West Central Behavioral Health Lebanon, Northern Stage

Trail Break tap + tacos Vital Communities, Green Mountain Club, Upper Valley Mountain Bike Association

U.K. Architects – Owner is a board member of Plan New Hampshire (a statewide advocate of good planning, design, and responsible developement) and member of the West Wheelock Gateway Committee. Staff member is starting a nonprofit trails advocacy group in Woodstock

Woodstock Insurance –  Annual donations to non-profits is about $10,000 including the food shelf, the Woodstock Sr. Center, Pentangle  Council on the Arts, Project Graduation, Billing Farm & Museum, The Union Arena, The Library and many others. Serves on Boards for Woodstock Rotary and Thompson Senior Center.

And don’t forget our many members participating in the 19 Days of  the Upper Valley in support of The Upper Valley Haven To see all of the participating businesses go to the list provided by Upper Valley Haven, some members involved are:

We also have great non-profit members you can support directly:
Whaleback Mountain
Vital Communities
To see all Local First members, please visit our local business directory.
If you are a Local First member not mentioned here, please tell us how you give back – nancy@vitalcommunities.org – We want to know.

Shop Indie Local this Season!

Every dollar spent at a local, independent business returns 2-4 times more to be re-spent in the community than a dollar spent at a non-local business. With consumers reporting that they will spend more than $1,000 for holiday shopping this year, according to a 2018 National Retail Federation survey, a shift to local purchases represents a significant contribution to local jobs, taxes, and community support.

This season make sure your gift giving matches your community values and keep your money here at home by patronizing locally owned services and businesses. Search the Local First directory and shop at stores owned by your friends and neighbors, and enjoy expert service, unique product selection, and know that you are strengthening the Upper Valley by keeping your money circulating in our community.

To encourage shopping locally this season, the Shop Indie Local campaign highlights the value and importance of thinking local first. Support this effort and visit our wonderful and diverse community of local businesses on these special days:


Plaid Friday, November 29

Turn Black Friday on it’s head and take part in Plaid Friday events this year! Our community is stronger when we all engage with our community (plaid is made up of interwoven fabrics!). Visit these businesses during their Plaid Friday events:

Trail Break taps + tacos– Where they wear plaid everyday will be opening for lunch on November 29! They are even  offering 14.05% off guest’s total check from 11:00am to 3:00pm – all they have to do is say ‘it’s about damn time (or darn time, if so inclined)’ and give us a high five! Offer also good on Saturday 11/30, along with the following Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Dan & Whit’s General Store

West Lebanon Feed & Supply

King Arthur Flour Store + Bakery

Norwich Bookstore




Small Business Saturday, November 30

Shop Small and keep your dollars here at home when shopping at these businesses:

Norwich Bookstore

The Country Cobbler




Cider Monday, December 2

Appreciate the personal service and community aspects of shopping locally during this special day aimed at combating Cyber Monday. Visit these locally owned businesses and enjoy cider and community cheer as you make shopping a joyful fun event:

The Co-op Food Stores, all locations

Ledyard National Bank- all locations

Revolution, White River Junction

Norwich Bookstore

Yankee Bookstore, Woodstock

Dan & Whits’ General Store, Norwich


Give the perfect gifts this season: gift certificates to Local First businesses!

Here’s a great option that supports a thriving White River Junction! Visit Revolution to choose your adventure!

Support our community while giving the perfect that your friends and family will  appreciate AND that strengthens our Upper Valley economy. Make a difference this year and Shift Your Shopping. Think Local First!



Exciting TLC Projects to Fund!

Invest in your community and contribute to these exciting campaigns!


Whaleback Base Lodge Energy Efficiency Updates, Enfield

You might not know this, but Whaleback is run by The Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation (UVSSF), a nonprofit entity, with the mission to support and enhance an affordable, healthy, and sustainable snow sports experience in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont. UVSSF members first came together in the spring of 2013 on the heels of Whaleback Mountain LLC shuttering operations. Like our fellow residents, we recognize the importance of Whaleback as a community asset.

Whaleback needs to perform repairs on the base lodge and want to invest in energy conservation practices. Our energy efficiency goals will help us become more environmentally friendly, improve comfort within the lodge, and to save money!


Closing the Food Waste Loop with Willow Tree Community Compost, White River Junction

Our mission is to build community while creating compost. Similar to how a willow branch, when stuck in the ground, will grow into a tree, I’m hoping that each Willow Tree Community Compost member will become more strongly rooted in the community and share in a more sustainable lifestyle. The positive environmental impact of diverting waste from the landfill, reducing CO2 emissions and creating a nutrient-rich soil amendment for gardens, will go hand in hand with creating connections in the community. I envision gatherings and events that will bring members together and building business partnerships that benefit all parties. As we grow, we will also be creating local, green jobs.

To expand our operation and be able to serve more of our community, we need to grow! We need buckets, infrastructure, and a trailer to deliver the food waste to Sunrise Farm!


Close the Loop with Compost at Sunrise Farm, White River Junction

Sunrise Farm in White River Junction is creating an on-farm compost system that will take in food waste from the community and transform it into compost that will be incorporated into the farm’s soil to grow more vegetables that further nourish the community. Sunrise is working to build the physical infrastructure needed to compost food scraps from the community to build healthy soil on the farm, divert food waste from the landfill, and strengthen the connections between the farm and community.



Food for Thought: The Growing Peace Project, Topsham

We are a peacemaking, social justice, and youth activism educational nonprofit in Topsham, Vermont. Our youth collaborate in cross school teams to develop and implement action plans that address community issues they care about including food insecurity. We have a free food teaching garden that has been serving our food insecure neighbors for the past nine years.

We’re raising funds to support our Food For Thought free food teaching garden and youth activism programs. Funds raised will allow us to purchase equipment, hire help, add more workshops, and partner with local farms.


Mascoma Friends Feeding Friends Expansion, Canaan

The Friends of Mascoma Foundation is committed to combatting food insecurity in the Mascoma Valley Regional School District (MVRSD) through the Friends Feeding Friends program. The program operates two food pantries in Canaan and in Enfield, plus is the primary source of food and personal hygiene items for the pantry located inside Mascoma Valley Regional High School. Pantry shoppers can come once a week for a three-day supply of food. We have refrigeration, so we focus on fresh produce, meats and dairy products as well as non-perishables. We also supply food for snacks, backpacks, family food boxes as needed and other pantry items to the elementary and middle schools. 

For the past several years a generous private donor has allowed us to use their vehicles, including a van and trailer, for food distribution. Use of these vehicles is essential to our Friends Feeding Friends program and it’s time for us to get our own wheels!


Coming Soon!
These projects are gearing up
to launch TLC campaigns in 2020:


Amplified Arts Toybox Theater, Claremont
Amplified Arts LLC, is a collaborative arts venue in downtown Claremont. Our mission is to provide Sullivan County an inclusive venue that is a space to explore, create and share extraordinary arts.

“Toybox Theatre Project’ will be a communal early arts experience designed for young artists ages 6 month to 3 years and their caregivers. The ‘Toybox Theatre Project’ will provide a creative play venue for young artists and their caregivers, to explore and create through creative play and shared performance art experiences


Kiss the Cow Farm Wholesale Expansion, Barnard
Kiss the Cow Farm is a Barnard, Vermont organic, grass-based dairy selling raw milk and ice cream from our small herd of Jersey cows.  We also raise and sell pastured eggs, chickens, ducks, and turkeys.

Our mission:
1. Feed our community excellent, local food
2. Preserve and improve the land and soil that sustains us
3. Pass on this knowledge and experience to others who want to learn about this lifestyle.
4. Earn a sustainable wage

We want to bring Kiss the Cow Farm’s ice cream to area co-ops and stores making it easier for customers to purchase our amazing grass-fed ice cream. We are hoping this expansion will lead to adding 1+ local jobs, improving Kiss the Cow’s top and bottom lines, and helping to secure the continuation of our mission.


la Collina Vineyard Winery, Barnard
Vermont is rapidly becoming a well-known wine region. However, most of the 30 vineyards are conventionally farmed, using chemicals in the vineyards and in the cellar. There are a small number of vineyards farming organically and biodynamically, earning a world-wide reputation for serious, sustainable farming techniques in cold climates and we are one of them!

Our vision: A community winery for creating raw, organic Vermont wine. We have planted two biodynamic vineyards in Barnard and now we need a winery!

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