"We are all learning..."
Those words were spoken to me recently by Lauren Casteel, a Black woman who heads up the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. Her response broke through the paralysis I have felt since May 25, following the murder of George Floyd, the prominence of the global Black Lives Matter movement, and my own grappling with the depth of systemic racism embedded in our culture. As an organization, we are all learning as well.

Vermont Women’s Fund Anti-Racism Work
Last September, the Vermont Women’s Fund chose racism and white supremacy as the focus for our annual retreat. One of the results of that work was to engage in a year-long Racial Equity Project with our partners from Change The Story and the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. The pandemic delayed our original start from March to July; however, we begin at the end of the month and I will share updates and learning as we get underway.

Another outcome was the commitment to bring new voices to our council. In early May we welcomed four new outstanding council members to the Vermont Women’s Fund. See below for their bios and please congratulate them on joining our ranks.

“We are all learning” gives me hope that we can acknowledge the gravity of historical assumptions and bias, and move forward with a commitment to eradicate the systems that perpetuate a culture of white supremacy. I trust the learning will continue for all of us.

Wishing you safety, health, and peace,

PS: Don't miss the 100-for-100 campaign announcement at the end of this newsletter. It's a special drive to support Vermont women and girls this fall.
New Council Members

We expanded! In early May, we welcomed the four dynamic leaders from across the state to the Vermont Women's Fund Council.
Zindzi Burchall   is currently the human resources business partner for Seventh Generation. Zindzi graduated in 2016 from Rutgers University–New Brunswick magna cum laude with a degree in Labor Relations Management with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. During her time at Rutgers, she enjoyed being politically and socially active in her community as an IWL Scholar, hosted panel events on behalf of Douglass College and was awarded the Jewel Plummer Cobb African American Senior Award. Upon graduation Zindzi joined Unilever, after being accepted into the Unilever Future Leader’s Program on the Human Resources Track. Zindzi enjoys bringing the corporate and social justice world together every day in her work as a young professional and currently resides in Burlington, Vermont.
Mari McClure   is the CEO and president of Green Mountain Power (GMP), after spending a decade leading transformational work by building strong teams with her knack for balancing skills and personalities, and motivating employees to deliver great results for customers. McClure has held multiple leadership positions at GMP including information technology, regulatory, legal, fleet, facilities, control center, workforce development, and labor relations. She joined GMP in 2010 after working in corporate law at Downs Rachlin Martin in Burlington. McClure was an NCAA Division I basketball player at the University of Buffalo, where she was captain of the team for two seasons and earned her undergraduate and law degrees. She lives in Jericho and has two sons.
Lynn Ellen Schimoler   works in the Agriculture Business Development Division at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. Schimoler manages the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Program, working closely with the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Board and Food, Farm & Forest Businesses throughout Vermont. She has over 25 years of experience in the private and public sector. She has served on multiple boards including NOFA-VT and YWCA. Highly focused on racial equity and inclusion, she is an advisor to the Mayor of Burlington and was selected alongside Wanda Heading-Grant to lead the mayor in his search for a Burlington City Director of Equity and Inclusion. She has a BA in dance from Bennington College, and enjoys a part-time, dance-lecturer role at the University of Vermont. Lynn Ellen lives in Essex and has a 27-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.
Candice White   began her career in magazine publishing, working for ten years in Boston and New York for publications including The Atlantic Monthly, Fast Company, and The American Prospect. Subsequently, she served as vice president of marketing and communications for Sugarbush Resort in Vermont, also for ten years. In 2018, White began a consulting company, working with businesses to assist with public relations and communications. She is also an occasional writer, and has published articles in Vermont Life, Mothering Magazine, Vermont Ski and Ride, Seven Days Vermont, and Sugarbush Magazine (for which she serves as editor). White has served on the board of the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation for five years, most recently serving as chair. She lives in Waitsfield with her two children and two Bernese Mountain Dogs. White earned a BA in English from Boston College.
Women's Funding Network Solidarity with Black Lives
After George Floyd's death, the coalition of women's funds across the country raised our voices as one to to say that "our humanity is dying from racism."

This statement is the entire network's affirmation of Black lives and our vow to work toward a "world from the institutions and violence perpetrated by racism and patriarchy."

Reshape Child Care & "Women's Work" for Good
The pandemic is pushing our child care providers and working families into precarious positions, teetering on collapse. To push for reform, we proudly stand with Change The Story, Let's Grow Kids, Vermont Works for Women, Vermont Commission on Women, and women leaders in academia and medicine.

"Our coalition, committed to equity and advancing women’s economic power in our state, is calling for Vermont to commit to solving our child care crisis... Now is the time for Vermont to realign its resources to build a child care system to support our children and working families, to combat gender and racial inequity in the workplace, and to aid Vermont’s economic and social recovery from this devastating pandemic."

Photo credit: Let's Grow Kids

Related story
Cary Brown, Director of the Vermont Commission on Women spoke to VPR's Vermont Edition on COVID-19's disproportional impact on women .
Woman’s National Baptist Convention for women's suffrage circa 1910. Holding banner is Nannie Helen Burroughs Credit: Library of Congress
100-for-100 Campaign
At the end of this month, we launch the 100-for-100 campaign to commemorate the 100 years of the 19th amendment, and raise funds for a special round of grants this fall to support Vermont nonprofits critically needed by women and girls.

My grandmother, Helen, did not get a chance to vote until she was 38 years old. I cannot imagine how that must have felt! Today, we want to honor all women who were denied that right and give them voice.

Please email us a photo of a woman in your family who never had a chance to vote, and one of you, too. We will post them in the 100 days leading up to the November election.

Watch your email for more details
about this campaign.
A huge thank you to this year’s Vermont Women’s Fund Annual Sponsors!
These are the companies that stand up for women and girls in their support of the Vermont Women’s Fund. We are so grateful and proud to have them as our partners in advancing gender equity.