December 2017
When I woke up on the morning of October 5, 2017, I was celebrating the success of the Vermont Women’s Fund’s annual celebration held the night before. Little did I know that on the same morning, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey would be breaking the story about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment in the New York Times. (Did you know that Jodi Kantor was our featured speaker for the Women’s Fund event in 2016 ?!)

I don’t believe it is an exaggeration to say that this story has rocked the very foundations of American culture. Wave after wave of resignations and firings have followed as women (and men) finally feel safe to call out those who have abused their power and privilege in reprehensible ways. The bad news is that this has been going on for far too long. The good news is that the issue of sexual harassment is on one of the fastest tracks of culture change we have ever witnessed.

Ultimately, the outing of this behavior has tremendous benefits for all of us as we seek gender equity in the workplace on both an economic and societal level.

The Vermont Women’s Fund is proud to stand in the forefront of this movement as an organization that has long stood for women’s rights in all spheres of our society. That has been the fund’s purpose since our inception: to put philanthropic resources to work to foster positive change for women and girls, and most specifically, for economic parity.

That is exactly what we do with our annual grants, along with our funding of Change The Story . Given everything that has happened in this past year alone , it is not an understatement to say our mission is more important than ever!

As the year closes, we thank everyone who stood up for women and stood with the Women's Fund and our grantees.

Warmest holiday wishes,

Meg Smith, Director
Change The Story , the Business Peer Exchange & Senior Leadership
Can we really Change The Story for women and girls in Vermont? The answer is a resounding YES as this work already is well underway and gaining traction at every step.

Part of the work of Change The Story is to help the private and public sectors find ways to examine gender equity in the workplace. Although we have laws on the books that make it illegal to discriminate based on sex, I needn’t recite the well-documented facts of fewer women in managerial positions, on corporate boards, and as CEO’s. So how does one effectuate gender balance? And like the veritable chicken-and-the-egg, is it cultural values that affect business values or vice-versa?

To address some of those difficult questions head-on, Jessica Nordhaus and Lindsey Lathrop-Ryan of Change The Story started a cohort of HR Directors from area businesses in Chittenden County to meet monthly to discuss issues of gender in the workplace. The discussion topics range from unconscious bias and job descriptions to gender wage gap and compensation. 

This opened up the floodgates! Bringing people together to discuss how they grapple with these issues instantly created a sense of mutual trust, and let’s face it, relief. Here in Vermont, many tech companies struggle to get more women in their ranks, other businesses contend with wage inequities, and gender fluidity is a new construct altogether. In a supportive environment with a professionally-based focus, the Business Peer Exchange has proven itself to be a highly valued and greatly appreciated program.

Learn more about the Business Peer Exchange here and consider having your company or nonprofit join the new cohort that begins in March of 2018.
Announcing 2018 Funding

The Vermont Women’s Fund grant application just went live! We are accepting new applications for awards to be announced in April of 2018. 

We have shifted our guidelines a little in order to absorb and reflect the findings of Change The Story . As a result of the four reports on women in the workplace, we see there are considerable gaps for women and girls finding pathways to viable careers in Vermont. Our grantgiving will focus on programs that equip women and girls to achieve success in careers that can be self-supporting. There is more information on our website and we encourage those with programs that fit our guidelines to apply. The grant deadline for 2018 is 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 8.

As word of mouth can be a very powerful form of advertising, please check with your own programs and nonprofits to be sure they know about this funding opportunity!
Grantee Story: John Graham Housing & Services
In November, we had the chance to catch up with a handful of grantees about their work and how the Women's Fund support makes an impact. Elizabeth Ready, Director of John Graham Housing and Services , along with Sammi and Hunter explain how the shelter services have changed their lives and what gives them hope.

PS: Make a Year-End Gift in Honor of...

In our recent annual appeal letter, we encouraged contributors to give a gift in honor of a woman or women important to them. As Helen Keller once said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

We send our heartfelt thanks to the following donors who recognized women of all ages in their lives:
  • Beverly & Robert McMullin in memory of Mildred Tideman
  • Joan N. Weed in honor of her five granddaughters
  • Judith & Michael Jerald in honor of their granddaughter Veronica McKay
  • Katherine Hayes in memory of Jonie P. Metzger 
  • Lisa D. Watkins in memory of Arlene and Beryl Dulsky
  • Sally Young in memory of Katherine T. Serrell
  • Sarah Soule in honor of Sallie Soule
  • Lyn Walker in honor of Meg Smith
  • Ruth and Peter Metz Family Foundation (Michael Metz) in honor of Women Can Do
  • Margaret Allen-Malley in memory of Emily Margaret Allen

There is still time for you to donate to the Women's Fund as an alternative holiday gift or to recognize a special woman at the end of this remarkable year. You may send us a check (address below) or use our donation page .
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