April 15, 2021: “Putting Your Money to Work Locally: Investing Clubs 101”

Interested in investing locally but don’t want to do it alone? Investment clubs pool money to collectively invest in local businesses and bring a social aspect to the process – they make investment fun!

In this presentation, Matt Cropp from the Vermont Solidarity Investment Club speaks about the ins and outs of starting your own investment club, as well as some ideas about what to look for if you want to join an established club and increase your power to do good by investing as a group.


April 8: “Investing in Home Creation”

Investing for Home Creation
Thursday, April 8, 5:30 pm

The Upper Valley faces a shortage of housing, particularly in the lower-cost sector, that’s affecting our ability to be a vibrant, equitable community. This session discussed how even small investments can help address this shortage and bring about financial, social, and environmental rewards: more diverse, full-service communities, more homes closer to workplaces and served by mass transit, and a more stable workforce for employers.

Our team of expert presenters was:

  • Ken Wells,  Chief Retail Lending Officer, Mascoma Bank, on how local banking creates local homes
  • Jennifer Hopkins, director of Single-Family Housing at NH Community Loan Fund, on current projects that are creating more affordable places to live
  • Will Belongia, director of VT Community Loan Fund, on  how individuals can get tax credit for participating in home creation
  • Jen Risley, manager of The Local Crowd Monadnock, on crowdfunding projects that are creating homes.

If you are ready to take action, or have more questions, here are the people to contact:

Here is a link to the slides the presenters shared.

You can also check out impacts in these reports:

In the chat, Matthew Dow mentioned that his company, MTD Building, is working on renovating low-cost apartments in Canaan. If you would like to learn more about that, you can reach Matt at mdow@mtdbuilding.com or business partner Holly West at hspwest@icloud.com.

Additional Local Investing Resources

The local investment materials and events offered by Vital Communities are educational in nature and should not be construed as specific legal, accounting, or investment recommendations.

Have an Idea That Could Use a Lift?

New Hampshire Businesses, Farmers, Entrepreneurs, Nonprofits, Community Initiatives: 

Do you have an incredible project just waiting to happen?

Want to grow your organization, our community, and the local economy, but don’t have access to capital?

The Local Crowd Upper Valley is a rewards-based local crowdfunding platform that helps communities invest in local businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and initiatives that are mission-driven social enterprises. If your organization contributes to the community and could use a lift, apply to be part of a Route 11 Corridor cohort of campaigns.
Vital Communities is partnering with TLC Monadnock to bring local investment and capital access to the Route 11 Corridor of New Hampshire thanks to funding from USDA Rural Development.

Submit a proposal for 2021 crowdfunding campaigns if you:

  • Your organization is based in Claremont, Newport, Kearsarge Region
  • Have a project with a budget under $10,000 .
  • Have a simple, achievable project that will generate excitement in your community.
    (your proposal can be part of a bigger project, but it should have stand-alone value.)
  • Have a project that will create an economic and/or social benefit to your business and the community
  • Are able to invest time to build a successful fundraising campaign

Sample project ideas: Farm infrastructure, renewable energy installation, community garden or art project, vehicle to expand nonprofit service, capital to launch a new rural enterprise, food business equipment

Submit your project proposal by May 7, 2021

The Local Crowd Upper Valley will select up to six projects to participate in this crowdfunding cohort, based on the potential of each project to positively impact their local economy and community. Selected proposals will launch their campaigns in 2021, with support and guidance from The Local Crowd Advisors.

The Local Crowd details:
You (project/campaign creator) will need to:

  • Form a Campaign Team to actively promote your fundraising project
  • Work closely with the The Local Crowd team to leverage training, marketing, and community outreach tools
  • Adhere to the keys of success promoted by The Local Crowd platform:  YOU share with your personal network. YOU make it happen.

You will receive:

  • Support from the The Local Crowd team to run a successful funding campaign
  • Access to business development support from project partners including NH SBDC and SBA
  • Marketing and outreach support to spread the word about your project
  • Free Crowdfunding Readiness Assessment ($85 value)
  • Funds raised via the crowdfunding campaign for the designated project (less platform and credit card fees)
  • Opportunity to reduce platform fees if you meet campaign milestones
  • Opportunity for videography stipend to improve your campaign success
More questions? 

Community. Connection. Capital.

Digital Marketing Assistance for New Hampshire Businesses & Farms

Digital Marketing Assistance for New Hampshire
Businesses & Farms

Could your business benefit from professional consulting services to improve your marketing? With Rural Development funding, Vital Communities’ Local First is hosting a free marketing workshop AND providing an opportunity for several businesses to take advantage of reduced-cost one-on-one consultation with Drive Brand Studio.

Back to Basics:
Simple Ways To Improve Your Marketing Impact

Virtual Workshop- March 15, 2021 9-10:30 am

The pandemic has required businesses to up their marketing game and online presence. Nancy Clark from Drive Brand Studio will share some simple and realistic ways to improve your marketing. You’ll learn how to use back-to-basics tactics whether you’re a first-time or time-pressed experienced marketer.

Register for the workshop here

Topics will include:

● Defining your brand and your positioning.
● Setting goals.
● Assessing and building on your strengths.
● Target markets.
● Tactics–how to select the right ones for your business.
● Maximizing the impact of your website.
● Social media: creating a voice and a strategy, including best practices.
● Budgeting time and marketing dollars.

Join this workshop and be eligible for an opportunity to work with Drive Brand Studio for 10 hours of reduced-cost technical assistance thanks to funding from USDA Rural Development. 

Technical Assistance Opportunity

Workshop attendees can apply for a cost-sharing opportunity to have 10 hours of professional consultation with Drive Brand Studio that will improve your digital presence, increase customer engagement, and impact sales. Drive Brand Studio can help with website development, email marketing, campaign design, and more.

Local Investment Inspiration & Resources

An “investment” always concerns the outlay of some asset today (time, money, effort, etc.) in hopes of a greater payoff in the future than what was originally put in. Where you choose to invest your time and money matters. Shopping locally is an important way we can all support (invest in) the businesses and organizations that we love (every time you purchase from an online retailer, 100% of that money immediately leaves our economy). But, shopping at a locally owned store is only one way of “investing” in our future. Investing your time by volunteering at a nonprofit, serving on a town committee, or coaching a youth team- is also a critical component to strengthening our community and economy. Another often overlooked opportunity investing in our community is through economic investments like retirement accounts, investment club, or community loan funds. Consider investing in the local businesses you love that will be desperate for cash in the coming months. Invest in great local projects your town will initiate—perhaps in energy efficiency or local food systems—that will increase our local resilience. Invest in the entrepreneurs that are creating the innovations and industries of the future- right here in the Upper Valley!
Find a collection of inspirations and resources to build awareness and action about how we can all be part of reclaiming our economy to be more resilient, fair, and green.
Upper Valley Inventory for Investors
Capital Opportunities Inventory for Upper Valley Businesses



Easiest Way to Invest in Your Community: Bank Locally

Financial Institutions that are rooted in the Upper Valley invest in our communities!

Local Focus: Unlike larger banks that may take deposits in one state and lend in others, community banks channel their loans to the neighborhoods where their depositors live and work, which helps local businesses and communities thrive.
Relationship Banking: Community bank officers know their customers and may consider family history and discretionary spending in making loans. Megabank loan officers apply impersonal qualification criteria, such as credit scoring, without regard to individual circumstances.
Innovation: As high-tech, high-touch local financial institutions, community banks work with their customers to ensure they have access to innovative products and services while partnering with and investing in financial technology providers. A prime example of community bank innovation is showcased through ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator.
Lending Leadership to Small Business: According to the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms, community banks are the small business lender of choice. (79 percent of independent businesses that used community banks report they were satisfied with their overall experience, compared with 67 percent for large banks and just 49 percent for online lenders.)
Timely Decision-Making: Community banks offer nimble decision-making on business loans because decisions are made locally. Megabanks must often convene loan-approval committees located in another state, far away from their customers.
Community Engagement and Accessibility: Community bank officers are typically deeply involved in their local communities, while megabank officers are often detached from the communities where their branches are located.
As local small businesses themselves, community banks only thrive when their customers and communities flourish. They answer to Main Street. Megabanks are driven by shareholder value and answer to Wall Street.

Community Banks: Know the Difference


Learn About Local Economic Investing

Local Investment: An Introduction
February 23, 5:30-7 pm

What is local investing? What can it do for a community? Why is it important? Who can do it, and how? A panel discussion with local and regional entities that are mobilizing local capital for local businesses, projects, and people.

Panel participants:

  • The White River Investment Club – Peter Reed and Sylvie Desautels
  • New Hampshire Community Loan Fund – John Hamilton
  • Vermont Community Loan Fund – Will Belongia
  • The Local Crowd – Jen Risley
  • Norwich Solar Technology Community Impact project – Norman Levy, Brendan Malley

Watch the recording here.


Community Economist Michael Shuman Presents:
Rebooting Your Economy After COVID

Introductory Webinar: Rebooting Your Community After COVID – How to Invest Locally Using Self-Directed IRAs and Solo 401ks

 Vital Communities and The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock hosted an online introductory webinar with community economist and author Michael H. Shuman called “Rebooting Your Community After COVID – How to Invest Locally Using Self-Directed IRAs and Solo 401ks” on Thursday, October 15, 2020, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Watch the recording here.

Michael Shuman has been studying and writing about local economies for decades. Interesting blog posts about re-booting the economy include Why Local Economies Matter, 7 Ways to Grow Your Economy Now, 27 New Year Resolutions for Community Revival Part 1 & Part 2.

Comparative Resilience: 8 Principles for Post-COVID Reconstruction by Michael Shuman,  April 2020

“We need a different way forward, what we might call the Theory of Comparative Resilience. My basic proposition is simple: Those communities that are best able to withstand future crises – whether pandemics, climate disruptions, or financial meltdowns – will be the ones that thrive economically. They will be the best places for investors to park their money. They will attract the best and the brightest people. They will be the places where residents feel secure enough to innovate. As your community begins the long road of rebuilding, here are eight criteria by which you might measure your community’s comparative resilience:

Local Ownership
Local Investment
Economic Diversity
Social Equity
Social Performance of Business”

Community Investment Funds: A How-To Guide for Building Local Wealth, Equity, and Justice
Ce(See)ding power through local investing: A handbook showing a wide range of approaches you might apply to your own community.

Local Investing Resource Center: : a resource area for community organizers — nonprofit leaders, economic development professionals, and government officials — and those looking to create aggregated pools of capital for local investing. Here, you will find a series of how-to guides and other resources that support you in catalyzing citizen-led investments into local small businesses.

Building Resilient Rural Places: Strategies from Local Leaders to Strengthen Rural Assets, Diversity, and Dynamism by Hanna Love, Mike Powe – Brookings, December 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic tests the resilience of rural economies in real time, this research series argues that our attention should not be focused on an outdated, inaccurate image of rural America, but rather on understanding, sustaining, and investing in the hyperlocal strategies already working to bring growth and equity to increasingly diverse and dynamic rural areas. Using in-depth, on-the-ground research in three rural communities across the U.S., the following briefs highlight these place-based strategies as well as the policy and capacity-building supports needed to sustain and scale them in the years to come.

Local Investment Opportunities:

Norwich Solar Technologies (NST) Community Impact Group

NST’s Community Impact Group allows local investors to own community solar projects that expand participation to low-income residents, small non-profits, and start-up businesses while allowing investors to use their tax liability to make positive economic and environmental returns.
The Group will link mission-minded investors with high-impact projects. Projects that can generate broad benefits to the community such as economic development and greenhouse gas reduction will additionally guide project selection. The Group has a 2019 target to finance $2.5M of nontraditional ventures, primarily focused on solar projects that can significantly lower electric bills of these underserved communities.

White River Investment Club

Building a Better Future Through Local Investment – Established in 2015, the White River Investment Club (WRIC) is a group of local residents dedicated to creating a better future through local investing. Our mission is to enable its members to make local investments which help themselves and their communities – and improve the overall quality of life in the White River watershed. WRIC Facebook page

Vermont Community Loan Fund

Impact, Sustainability, Justice…OPPORTUNITY. The Vermont Community Loan Fund creates opportunities that lead to healthy communities and financial stability for all Vermonters. The Vermont Community Loan Fund is a mission-driven, community-focused alternative lender. We provide loans and other resources to local businesses, community organizations & nonprofits, early care & learning providers and developers of affordable housing who don’t qualify for a loan from a traditional lender. We develop and promote innovative capital-based solutions to issues of poverty and opportunity. We’re invested in a stronger, healthier, happier Vermont.

The money we lend is loaned to us by impact investors who want to do more with their money. VCLF investors want a safe, sensible way to invest in Vermont, doing good for Vermonters today and saving for their own tomorrow. In over thirty years, with over $110 million loaned, we’ve never failed to repay an investor. Individuals & families, institutions, communities of faith, community organizations: EVERYONE can invest in Vermont through the Vermont Community Loan Fund.

New Hampshire Community Loan Fund

Opportunity. Investment. Impact.
We believe:
One of the barriers that keeps people with low incomes from achieving greater self-sufficiency is a lack of access to credit.
People and organizations that have or manage financial resources are willing to help their neighbors when they have a trusted mechanism to do so.

Our mission:
Serve as a catalyst, leveraging financial, human, and civic resources to enable traditionally underserved people to participate more fully in New Hampshire’s economy. We do this by:
Providing loans, capital and technical assistance;
Complementing and extending the reach of conventional lenders and public institutions;
Bringing people and institutions together to solve problems.

The Local Crowd: Community. Connection. Capital. Through crowdfunding we envision strong, resilient local economies where neighbors know each other and support each other’s businesses. Started in 2012, The Local Crowd® works with rural communities to create local crowdfunding ecosystems that support growth and sustainability of local businesses and organizations.” In Vermont and New Hampshire there are two TLC communities – TLC Monadnock and The Local Crowd  Upper Valley.


Localvore Passport Webinar

Learn how Localvore Passport can help your business connect with customers at an informational webinar, Tuesday, January 12 or Wednesday, January 13!

(Attend either event. The same information will be presented twice; Zoom link below).

Vermont-based Localvore is a platform that connects conscientious consumers to the local businesses that make economies thrive. The Localvore Passport app has been successfully connecting Burlington businesses and farms with new customers since 2012, with more than 500 participating businesses. The app is free for businesses to use.

So far, only a few Upper Valley businesses have joined the platform, but the app could successfully launch in this region if enough businesses are interested.  Join this webinar to learn about how Localvore Passport could be an effective, easy, free tool to help Upper Valley businesses connect with customers this winter and beyond. Details about how this works for businesses are below. Come with your questions!

Introducing Localvore Passport
Tuesday, January 12, or Wednesday, January 13, 10 am
Zoom details:
Meeting ID: 860 8960 0458
Passcode: 075334
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,86089600458# US (Washington D.C)


How Localvore Passport Works

There are three core components of Localvore Passport  that help consumers connect with businesses:

  • Our Directory is simple. It’s your business listing, a photo, and information to help customers discover and engage with your business. If you don’t have a profile set up, email dan@localvore.co and we will curate one to your liking.
  • Creating a Local Offer: Once your Directory profile is set up, you can customize an offer that Localvores can use however often you want them to. And, you can always change the offer or take it down. This google form is a simple way to get started, and then I usually have a brief 15-minute call to make sure all the details are correct and that they understand the redemption process and other expectations. Localvore Business Intake Form.
  • News Feed: Once your Directory profile is set up all you have to do is include #localvore in your Instagram posts, and those will show up on Localvore too!

Why Bank Locally?

Where You Bank Makes a Difference!

When you use a bank or credit union rooted in our community, you’re making a conscious choice to support our local economy. Local First Champion member Mascoma Bank is a great example of why it’s important to move your money to a local institution. Mascoma Bank has been committed to investing in and lending in our region since 1894. They prioritize supporting Upper Valley communities, small businesses, and entrepreneurs – keeping our economy and community vital!

5 Reasons to Move Your Money and Bank Locally

1. Get the Same Services at Lower Cost
Most locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same array of services, from online bill paying to debit and credit cards, at a much lower cost than big banks. Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks, according to national data. Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.

2. Put Your Money to Work Growing Your Local Economy
Small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs, depend heavily on small, local banks for financing. Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending. Big banks, meanwhile, allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. The largest 20 banks, which now control 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business.

3. Keep Decision-Making Local
At local banks and credit unions, loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs. Because of this personal knowledge, local financial institutions are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject. In the case of credit unions, control ultimately rests with the customers, who are also member/owners.

4. Back Institutions that Share a Commitment to Your Community
The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits. This is why many local banks and credit unions are involved in their communities. Big banks, by contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.

5. Support Productive Investment, Not Gambling
The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments. Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank, but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entirefinancial system at risk if they go bad.

Study Underscores the Benefits of Buying Local

A study commissioned by Vital Communities finds that, for every dollar they earn, local retailers and restaurants return a share to the local community that’s up to four times as big as that of chain businesses.

“This study really spells out just how important it is to support our local businesses that are rooted in and support our communities, said Nancy LaRowe, director of Vital Communities’ Vital Economy initiative. “Many local businesses are struggling to stay afloat right now. We need to be there for them now by buying locally, so they will be here for us in the future to create stable jobs, enhance community character, and invest in our communities.”

Vital Communities will use this data as the basis for “buy local” education and campaigns, and as a baseline measure as we work to increase local control and investment in the Upper Valley with projects to increase community resilience.

This is in addition to ongoing ways Vital Communities supports the local economy, including marketing technical support; community crowdfunding; encouraging business networking, collaboration, and resource sharing; and innovative projects like Upper Valley Everyone Eats.

Read the full report   

The study was conducted by Civic Economics, a renowned consultant group that has done similar “Indie Impact” studies in other regions of northern New England, as well as for Austin, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, Grand Rapids, and New Orleans. Civic Economics has offices in Chicago and Tulsa, OK. The study was funded through a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Development Grant.

To aid the study, Vital Communities collected surveys from 20 independent, locally owned retailers and restaurants in Upper Valley communities on both sides of the Connecticut River. Each business was asked to answer detailed questions about its business practices. The survey questions focused on how much of each business’s revenue recirculates in the regional economy through profits paid out to local owners; wages paid to local workers; goods and services used by the business; local goods resold by the business; and charitable giving within the community.  

Collectively, the 20 retailers and restaurants return a total of 55.5% and 68.4% of their revenues, respectively, to the local economy. By comparison, Civic Economics found that four major national retail chain stores (Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Office Depot, and Target) recirculate only an average of 13.6% of all revenue within the local markets that host its stores, while three major national restaurant chains (Brinker International, which owns Chili’s and others; Darden, which owns Olive Garden and others; and McDonald’s) return an average of 30.4% of all revenue to the local economy. Civic Economics derived those percentages by aggregating data made public in annual reports.

This means that local retailers were found to return to the local economy a percentage of their revenue that’s more than four times higher than that of the chain retailers, while local restaurants return a percentage that’s more than two times higher than that of chains.  

With the mammoth online retailer Amazon and its Whole Foods grocery chain, the outcomes are even more dramatic. Civic Economics estimates that the region generated more than $165 million of sales in 2019 for Amazon; as there are no Amazon warehouses or Whole Foods outlets in the region, virtually all  $165 million dollars left the Upper Valley instead of being reinvested in our people, communities, and economy.

The pandemic ratcheted up the “Amazon Effect,” LaRowe said. “Online retail sales increased more than $100 billion due to the pandemic at the expense of our local businesses and our communities. It’s more critical than ever to have data that shows how that trend is truly hurting our local economy. Each time we buy local, we are making a choice to invest in our community, instead of sending our dollars to remote entities.”

A Closer Look

Of the 55.5% of revenues that local retailers recirculate in the local economy, 28.2 percent is in profit and wages, 17.9 percent for local items for resale, 5.3 percent for local goods and services used by the business, and 4.1 percent is charitable giving. Of the 68.4 percent that local restaurants recirculate in the local economy, 40.7 percent is profit and labor, 13.8 percent is for local items for resale, 10.8 percent is for goods and services used by the business, and 3.1 percent is charitable giving.   

Analyzed by the square footage of the businesses footprints, chain employee 12.1 people per square foot while “indys” employ 16.1; and chains keep $199 local per square foot while indys keep $489.

Broken down by state, the study found the Vermont retailers return 56.3% of their revenue to the local economy and New Hampshire retailers return 51.0%; and the Vermont restaurants return 66.5% while those New Hampshire return 69.7%.

Participating Upper Valley Businesses

Claremont Spice & Dry Goods
Co-op Food Stores
CourierWare, Inc
Dan & Whit’s General Store
Enfield House of Pizza
King Arthur Baking Company
Kit ‘N Kaboodle Thrift
Left Bank Books
Long River Gallery
Peyton Place Restaurant at The Historic Mann Tavern
Cloudland Farm, LLC
Piecemeal Pies
Poor Thom’s Tavern
Post Pond Lodge LLC
Prince and the Pauper Restaurant
Taverne on the Square, LLC
Time-Out Americana Grill
Trail Break Taps + Tacos
Valley Floors

This project was funded by a USDA Vermont Rural Development Rural Business Development Grant.



Crowdfund Revels North’s Christmas Revels Film!

Give Today to The Christmas Revels’ 2020 Production!

Will the COVID-19 Grinch steal The Christmas Revels? Perish the thought! This year The Christmas Revels will go onscreen with a film featuring the artistry and panache that have made the show a beloved Upper Valley tradition since 1975.

Through Vital Communities’ TLC (The Local Crowd) crowdfunding program, you can help supply the final $7,500 of the $40,000 needed to produce the short film The Christmas Revels: All Shall Be Well Again,  which will available to the public starting in mid-November. Your sponsorship helps make free viewings of this film possible and creates work opportunities for those in the arts, including New Hampshire and Vermont artists, who have been especially hard hit by health regulations made necessary by COVID-19. Donate by October 19, and your name or the name of your business will be included in the credits of All Shall Be Well Again!  Other great premiums may also apply.

Produced by the local nonprofit community arts organization Revels North, The Christmas Revels each December brightens the Upper Valley with a new show combining winter music, dance, storytelling, and pageantry traditions from around the world. Each show takes us into a different culture, with marvelous Upper Valley-based artists and community performers alongside internationally renowned “tradition bearers” of the arts the show encompasses. Formerly presented at Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center, The Christmas Revels now makes it home in the Lebanon Opera House.

Last year’s production, An English Celebration of the Winter Solstice, was enthusiastically received both by longtime Revels audiences and those seeing the show for the first time. Over 3,000 people attended the five performances, with audience members coming from 87 New Hampshire and 92 Vermont towns, making this a truly regional event. Although Revels North was eagerly anticipating the 2020 follow-up, COVID-19 forced a change in plans, as it has for every performing arts organization across the country. This summer, Revels North made the necessary decision to cancel December’s live Christmas Revels production and instead undertake a filmed show that would help keep the Revels tradition – and the creative sector – alive.

The Christmas Revels: All Shall Be Well Again involves the SALT Project, a three-time Emmy- winning, non-profit film production company based in Keene, NH; No Strings Marionette Company of Randolph, VT,  a collaborator in the 2015 Christmas Revels; and two guest musicians from the 2019 Christmas Revels, Vermont-based percussionist Jane Boxall and Massachusetts-based accordionist Alex Cumming. Local participation is at the core of every Christmas Revels, and the film includes the voices of recent Revels North chorus participants. The production will be led by Revels North Artistic Director Nils Fredland and Stage Director Josiah Proietti.

The film will create a surprising, entertaining, and safe alternative to the live Christmas Revels production, including SALT’s nuanced animation (seen above) and No Strings’ incomparable puppetry. In recognition of the financial hardship that many families face due to the pandemic,  Revels North will provide a range of ways for people to view this film in their homes, including for free through local media resources such as CATV and on social media platforms such as Facebook. The initial response within the Revels North community to news about this film has been wildly enthusiastic. With potential audiences not limited this year by geography, calendar, or price, Revels North sees potential for this film to be viewed by more people than any Revels North production of “The Christmas Revels” in our history. And maybe the film itself will become a new Upper Valley holiday tradition. Step aside, Grinch!

For more information, please go to revelsnorth.org.

Support Revels North TLC Crowdfunding!

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

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