VBSR Logo Vermont
for Social Responsibility
Will PattenOur Spring Conference is right around the corner.  We plan these events to be both inspiring and educational and this year we've added a third objective:  encouragement.  
We're in the middle of a transformative economic crisis that demands of us new thinking and new ideas.

In the morning we're offering three points of view on the current recession.  In one, we'll hear some wisdom from business people who have endured past recessions.  In another, we've gathered a panel of business leaders who have reinvented their businesses in the midst of tough economic times.   And a third will talk about the future, post-recession world and the next great ideas that will drive the new economy.  

I know it's hard to think about spending a whole day away from your workplace but our challenge is to work smarter, not harder.   Join us on May 5th at our 19th Annual Spring Conference and we'll send you home a little smarter.

This year we're also asking you to share your good ideas and best practices with our membership.  Here's the deal:

There are bills under consideration in the legislature right now that will affect your business.  On VBSR Legislative Day, April 24th, you have an opportunity to speak with the leadership of the legislature and weigh in on these important discussions. Please plan to join us in the State House on April 24th from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  If you can come, let Andrea Cohen know at andreac@vbsr.org

Will Patten
Executive Director
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

In This Issue
Register NOW - Spring Conference
VBSR Educational, Networking and Community Service Events
VBSR Public Policy Legislative Events
VBSR Public Policy Update
Managing and Retaining Employees in Hard Economic Times
New Member Introduction - Cooperative Fund of New England
Cuts vs. revenues: Lawmakers in hard debate
Congratulations Small Dog Electronics
List your business for FREE
VBSR Member receives grant
Arthur Gibb Award Nominations
Smart Growth Award nominations
VBSR Bookshelf - 101 Ways to Turn Your Business Green
Register Now for 2009
Spring Conference
Online registration now available for VBSR's 19th Annual Spring Conference
"On the Long Trail: Sustaining Success"

Monday evening, May 4, 2009
6th Annual Terry Ehrich Awards Dinner
Congratulations to this year's award winner!
Ted Castle, President of Rhino Foods

Northern Lights Cruise Boat
Lake Champlain, Burlington, VT

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Full Day Conference featuring keynote speakers
David Cay Johnston and Will Raap

Hilton Hotel, Burlington, VT

For full details and to register online, please visit our conference events listing.
VBSR Educational, Networking and Community Service Events

2009 VBSR Business Open Studios:
connect, learn, share, apply.

...new name, fresh focus...

Join us for this year's Business Open Studios and learn something new, think something new, meet someone new.

VBSR Business Open Studio hosted by
Good Point Recycling, Middlebury, VT
Thursday, June 4, 2009; 5:30 - 7:30 pm
To sponsor this event, please contact Rita Bothfeld at ritab@vbsr.org by Thursday, May 7th

VBSR Business Open Studio hosted by
LineSync Architecture, Wilmington, VT
Tueday, July 14, 2009; 5:30 - 7:30 pm
To sponsor this event, please contact Rita Bothfeld at ritab@vbsr.org

If you are interested in sponsoring or hosting a VBSR event, contact Rita Bothfeld at 802-862-8347 or at ritab@vbsr.org.
VBSR Legislative Events

VBSR Member Statehouse Day
Please attend !

Friday, April 24th, 8:00am-1:00pm Vermont Statehouse
VBSR members are invited to:  
  • Gather at the "Card Room" for discussion with Legislators and VBSR members.
  • Attend meetings with local legislators and legislative leadership.
  • Observe committee hearings.
Contact andreac@vbsr.org to pre-register.
VBSR Public Policy Update

VT Flag Image2009 Legislative Session

End of Legislative Session Priorities

Your legislative team will be spending the remaining weeks of the legislative session working on the following key priorities:
  • "Farm to Plate" Legislation (H.231/S.137)
  • Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Bill (H.436)
  • Responsible Budgeting and Revenue Generation (H.442)
  • Renewable Energy Bill- Standard Offer Contracts (H.446)
  • Clean Energy Assessment Districts (S.54)
  • Public Financing of Health Care (H.100/S.88)
Contact andreac@vbsr.org if you can lend your voice (or some time) to promote these bills.

Thank you For Supporting Marriage Equality !
98% of VBSR members can't be wrong! Thank those legislators who supported the veto override of S. 115
Managing and Retaining Employees in Hard Economic Times
Main Street Landing Presents:

Managing and Retaining Employees in Hard Economic Times.

Wednesday, April 29th

7:30am - Registration, Coffee, Pastries
8:00-10:00am - The Livable Jobs Toolkit

The Great Room at Main Street Landing
60 Lake Street, Burlington, Vermont

Sponsored by:
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
Peace and Justice Center
VT Society for HR Management

Cost $10.00 (includes Livable Job Toolkit)

RSVP to Tara Pfeiffer-Norrell at tarap@vbsr.org
Send checks to VBSR, 60 Lake Street, Burlington, VT 05401
For Credit Card Payment call: 862-8347 and speak with Calen King
Cooperative Fund of New England
Cooperative Fund Logo

The Cooperative Fund of New England supports cooperative and nonprofit development in the Northeast United States. "We're in the business of helping democratically controlled ventures to grow and thrive," notes Vermont Outreach Coordinator, Betsy Black. "We joined VBSR to collaborate with the many Vermont businesses and nonprofit organizations that share our vision of an economically and environmentally just economy that serves everyone."

The Fund provides financial services and related technical assistance to cooperative and community organizations at favorable rates and terms. Its policies generally accord eligibility on the basis of community service, need and merit. The Fund has successfully assisted a wide variety of ventures in Vermont over 34 years, including the Onion River, Hunger Mountain, Brattleboro, Rutland and Middlebury Food Cooperatives; the agricultural Deep Root Organic Cooperative; Burlington Co-Housing; non-profits such the Intervale Center; Green Mountain Spinnery and other  worker owned businesses, land trusts, housing co-ops, and community groups.

"We support efforts that provide basic necessities such as food, housing and decent jobs," notes Executive Director Rebecca Dunn. The Fund is a 501c(3) organization and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Funds for program lending are provided by "social investment loans" from individuals, faith based groups, cooperatives, foundations (including the Vermont Community Foundation), and other organizations. A recent investor is Onion River Cooperative in Burlington. General Manager Clem Nilan notes, "Our end is to strengthen and support the cooperative movement by working together. When we relocated seven years ago, we desperately needed support and our co-op neighbors provided it. We're grateful now to be in a position to help other co-ops."

Our Mission:
We advance community based, cooperative and democratically owned or managed enterprises with preference to those that serve low income communities through:
provision of prompt financial assistance at reasonable rates
provision of an investment opportunity that promotes socially responsible enterprise; and
development of a regional reservoir of business skills with which to assist and advise the above groups.

For more information, visit www.cooperativefund.org or contact Vermont Outreach Coordinator, Betsy Black @ betsy@cooperativefund.org or 603.228.6195.
Cuts vs. revenues:
Lawmakers in a hard debate
By Peter Hirschfeld Vermont Press Bureau, March 25, 2009

MONTPELIER - Many of Vermont's highly valued programs and institutions will disappear unless residents are willing to pay more to keep them, Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday.

....Will Patten, executive director of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, said business owners are willing to accept higher taxes if it means investing in the physical, digital and human infrastructure their firms need to flourish.

"Here we are in a severe financial crisis, and we're not going to recover without significant investments in our infrastructure," said Patten, whose organization represents 550 businesses employing approximately 30,000 Vermonters. "So taxes need to be appreciated for what they provide, instead of reviled for what they cost."

Small Dog Electronics -
Winner of Greentailer of the Year
We would like to congratulate Small Dog Electronics who won the Greentailer of the Year award from the Vermont Retailers Association!!  We are proud to have you as a member of VBSR.
VBSR Members can list their business for FREE in
Green Living Journal

Green Living Journal is now accepting listings for its 2009 Green Living Business Directory, a comprehensive guide to over 1,000 products and services for Friends of the Environment. Members of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility are entitled to a FREE listing.

25,000 copies of the Directory, available on June 3, will reach an estimated audience of 50,000 readers. The Green Living Business Directory is also online 24/7, with links to other specialized databases.  In addition to its newsstand distribution the Green Business Directory is circulated free at energy fairs, conferences, home shows, and festivals throughout the year.

Managing your listing is easy and secure, in addition to being free. Just go to GreenLivingJournal.com by May 1st and click on the button for the Green Business Directory. Then follow the prompts.

For questions or more information contact Co-publishers, Stephen Morris - Stephen@GreenLivingJournal.com or Sandy Levesque - Sandy@GreenLivingJournal.com.
Grant Awarded
to a VBSR Member
from a VBSR Member

The Community Health Center of Burlington (CHCB) was recently awarded a grant of $5,000 by the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation, which funds oral health programs in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.  It is a philanthropic arm of Northeast Delta Dental, which administers the dental benefits of businesses of all sizes and individuals with no access to employer-sponsored group dental insurance.  Funds will provide dental equipment and supplies for CHCB's Dental Center, Chittenden County's sole Federally Qualified Health Center dental program.

Do you know someone who is a tireless champion for Vermont's land use traditions?  Who brings people together to protect our working rural landscape?  Who finds creative ways to make new growth strengthen our downtowns and village centers?  Who is dedicated to forging consensus on how to preserve what is best about Vermont?
Then you ought to nominate that person for Smart Growth Vermont's annual Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership!  Each year, this award honors a Vermonter who embodies the qualities that made Senator Arthur Gibb such an effective and respected advocate for Vermont's land use traditions:   leadership, commitment to public service, vision, creativity, balance, integrity, and humility.
Nominations must be postmarked by April 30, 2009. You can download an application packet HERE:

Please contact Jason Van Driesche, Program Director, at 864-6310 or at jason@smartgrowthvermont.org with any questions.  

Vermont has never been the kind of place that does things just like everywhere else.  That is why smart growth is such a good fit for our state.  Smart growth is all about making sure that, as Vermont changes, it stays Vermont.
The Smart Growth Awards honor development projects, municipal plans, and conservation initiatives that demonstrate smart growth principles in action.  Are you building a new neighborhood that will provide homes for working families within easy walking distance of schools, shops, and jobs?  Has your community just finished a rewrite of its town plan that makes a commitment to promoting new business development in your downtown?  Do you know of a group that is spearheading a conservation initiative to link protection of working rural lands with development in and around village centers?
Nominate them for a Smart Growth Award today!  Nominations must be postmarked by April 30, 2009.  You can download an application packet HERE:

Please contact Jason Van Driesche, Program Director, at 864-6310 or at jason@smartgrowthvermont.org with any questions.  
Newsletter Sponsorship


INTERESTED IN SPONSORING VBSR'S NEWSLETTER?  E-mail info@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347 to secure a space today.

Welcome New VBSR Members!
Alpine Family Dental

Deb Allen

Douglas E. Whitney Jr.
Green View Advisors

Lewis Creek Builders

Nimtz Berryhill Figiel

Perkins Smith Inc.

PMG Public Relations

The Data Farm

Tilley's Cafe

Von Bargen's Jewelry

Wastewater Technologies

WaterRock Communications
VBSR Bookshelf
101 Ways to Turn Your Business Green

Rich Mintzer

VBSR Bookshelf Information Courtesy of Northshire Bookstore
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60 Lake Street, Suite 3G
Burlington, VT 05401

Our mission is to foster a business ethic in Vermont that recognizes the opportunity and responsibility of the business community to set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of our citizens.

We are commited to a multiple bottom line approach to business that values people, planet and profit.  For more information about our organization visit info@vbsr.org

Membership Information