VBSR Logo Vermont
Businesses
for Social Responsibility
July
2009
E-News
Will Patten

What we know so far is that this is not an ordinary recession.  The loss of equity, regardless of how artificial it may have been, is so enormous that individuals and corporations are dramatically changing behaviors.  With a purgative fury, consumption is plummeting and saving rates are rising.  

At the same time, it is increasingly obvious that if we want clean air to breath and fresh water to drink consumption will have to stay down and savings will have to be wisely invested.

Those of us who understand that, and we are a tiny minority, now have a window of opportunity to demonstrate that economic prosperity can be achieved without reckless growth that depletes our human and natural resources.  Socially and environmentally responsible business will be, must be, part of that solution.

In the year ahead, VBSR is going to be working closely with our member businesses and organizations to invent the new assumptions and behaviors that will produce sustained economic prosperity and security for Vermonters.  It is a brief and enormous opportunity.  Exciting times!

Will Patten
Executive Director
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
willp@vbsr.org
802.862.8347

In This Issue
VBSR Educational, Networking and Community Service Events
Apply for VBSR Leadership Workshop with Jeffrey Hollender
VBSR Public Policy Update
Get involved with the VBSR Membership Committee
Vermont's Farm-to-Plate Law Lands National Spotlight
New Online Certificate Program in Sustainable Business offered by the University of Southern Maine
Vermont Community Loan Fund Awarded $2 Million Grant from CDFI Fund
Proposals being accepted for CEDF Grant program
Angels touch budding businesses
Bleu Sky helps Harmony At Last create look for "Simplify" iPhone/ iTouch application
What is the Intervale?
Apply for the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports 2009 Worksite Wellness Awards!
Building Net Zero Homes
VBSR Bookshelf - The Power of Sustainable Thinking
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
Vermont Artisan Designs & Gallery 2, Brattleboro, VT
Tuesday, August 18, 2009; 5:30 - 7:30 pm
To sponsor this event, please contact Rita Bothfeld by Monday, 7/20 at ritab@vbsr.org

VBSR Business Open Studio co-hosted by
Shelburne Orchards, Shelburne Vineyard, and Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT
Tuesday, September 22, 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.
Apply for VBSR Leadership Workshop with Jeffrey Hollender 

You are cordially invited to apply for a place in a new VBSR Leadership Workshop
Socially Responsible Leadership: Insights and Practical Strategies for Taking Your Company Forward
which will be held
Thursday, October 8, 2009
in the Burlington area (location TBA)

Discover critical next steps for sustaining your business, in an unprecedented seminar with the passionate and inspiring business leader Jeffrey Hollender, and others who are facing similar issues. Expert facilitators will help guide the discussion and ensure that everyone leaves with meaningful next steps.

Space is limited - apply now. For more information and to download an application, please visit our web site.
VBSR Public Policy Update

VT Flag ImageMembers-- Your Action Needed !

Help us prepare for future public policy priorities and action.  We are committed to making change for the benefit of our members, our environment, and our communities. To be most effective and persuasive we need to know your interests and needs.

Please complete our 2009 on-line public policy survey as soon as possible. We will be closing the survey by the end of the month.
The survey should take about 10 minutes. To start click here

All individual responses will remain confidential and will be presented in aggregate form.

Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this important effort !
Get involved with the
VBSR Membership Committee
During this time of uncertainty, businesses are reevaluating their needs and wants so they can continue their success.  VBSR is doing the same thing except our needs and wants come from our members.  We are committed to making our members satisfied with their VBSR membership, which is why we are re-introducing a membership committee.  This committee is intended to keep VBSR fresh and provide a place for your voice to be listened to. 

We want your ideas, your concerns and your feedback on how we can do more for you.  Although we don't know what the future holds, we are certain of one thing; our members come first! 

If you are interested in being part of the membership committee, please e-mail Lisa Curtis, Membership Manager, at lisac@vbsr.org
Vermont's Farm-to-Plate Law Lands National Spotlight
Burlington, VT - June 25, 2009 - Vermont leads the way, yet again.  The national spotlight will soon fall on the new "Farm-to-Plate" initiative, which aims to strengthen the "Buy Local" movement in Vermont.

Several hundred politicians, funders, and policy experts around the country will be listening to two Vermont State Representatives on Monday, June 29 through a national webinar.  The principal architects of Vermont's new law, Rep. Jason P. Lorber (D-Burlington) and Rep. Christopher Bray (D-New Haven) will share insights of how they developed their program, which leverages federal stimulus funds designed to create new jobs in Vermont.
New Online Certificate Program in Sustainable Business offered by the University of Southern Maine
Online Certificate in Sustainable Business offered by USM

For entrepreneurs, leaders and managers who understand traditional management but want to be on the leading edge of business thinking and move their organizations toward sustainability.  Practical and affordable course units are taught by University of Southern Maine School of Business faculty.  Course units can be taken on an ala carte basis or combined for a noncredit Certificate. 

Plus, VBSR friends obtain a discount when they register by phone (deadline is September 8).  
 
Visit: www.usm.maine.edu/cce/sustainablebusiness.htm
Vermont Community Loan Fund Awarded $2 Million Grant
from CDFI Fund

MONTPELIER - The Vermont Community Loan Fund, a 22-year old private, non-profit opportunity finance organization, has been awarded the maximum amount of CDFI grant funding possible: $1.95 million in permanent lending capital and $50,000 in technical assistance funds. The announcement was made by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on June 29 in Bronx, New York.

"The Recovery Act is playing a critical role in restoring economic growth and strengthening our nation's financial stability by developing and investing in local communities," said Secretary Geithner.

Read More...
Proposals being accepted for
CEDF Grant program

The Department of Public Service is now accepting proposals for the CEDF Grant program, which funds renewable energy and combined heat and power technologies. The Department expects to award $2.5 million in funding for projects in the following categories: Pre-Project Financial Assistance, Small-Scale Systems, Large-Scale Systems, and Special Demonstration Projects. There is a maximum award of $100,000 for Pre-Project Financial Assistance, $50,000 for Small-Scale Systems, $250,000 for Large-Scale Systems and Special Demonstration Projects, and $500,000 for Community-Scale Systems.
 
The July 2009 Request for Proposals is available at http://publicservice.vermont.gov/energy/ee_cleanenergyfund.html.
Proposals are due on Friday, August 14, 2009.
Angels touch budding businesses
By RACHEL CREE SHERMAN

There are angels supporting entrepreneurs in Vermont, at significant profit to themselves and their communities.

Whether individuals or agencies, these angels help Vermonters get their businesses going and keep them in operation.

Ken Merritt of Merritt, Merritt and Moulton, a corporate security-focused law firm that represents a number of growing companies, has been involved with North Country Angels since its founding in 1993. He is also co-chair of Vermont Investors Forum.

Read More...
Bleu Sky helps Harmony At Last create look for "Simplify" iPhone/
iTouch application

South Burlington, VT- Julie Cubino and Kevin Grosselfinger, owners of Vermont business Harmony At Last, are excited to announce the launch of Simplify, their first iPhone and iPod touch application. The purpose of this application is to help people free themselves from being overworked, overburdened, and overtired while helping them find
energy, enthusiasm, and ease instead. Simplify can be found on the Apple iTunes store, in the lifestyle section, for only 99.

Read More...
What is the Intervale?

One of the most interesting and vital places in Burlington is an urban agricultural zone not far from a bustling and crowded part of the city. Just follow the bumpy road till you come to the crops.

The Intervale, in the city's North End, is a farming and park district along the Winooski River. The low land by the river covers almost 750 acres of farmland, woods and open space. It's a welcoming and peaceful place (except, perhaps, for the gulls swooping on the big compost pile).

At the Intervale, you can see where the localest of local organic produce is raised. The Intervale is probably best known for its farms, an agriculture enterprise that operates under the auspices of the nonprofit Intervale Center.

Read More....
Apply for the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports 2009 Worksite Wellness Awards!
 The Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports 2009 Worksite Wellness Awards recognize Vermont employers who promote a work environment that encourages and enables their employees to improve their overall health and well-being.    

Completing the on-line application is the first step in the 2009 awards application process.

Building Net Zero Homes
Contractor Chuck Reiss (Reiss Building & Renovation) and architect Rolf Kielman (Truex Cullins & Partners) are leading the way in building tomorrow's homes today. Set on 24 acres of prime agricultural land on the outskirts of town (not far from Burlington), the South Farm homes have been designed and built to be "net zero," meaning they will produce all the energy they need on site.

The land was bought in partnership by Vermont Building Resources (which Reiss formed along with a limited pool of like-minded investors) and the Russell Family Farm, and the goal was to ensure a modest but responsible development of this 24 acre parcel. Fourteen acres were set aside for continued farming, while a cluster of six passive/active solar homes was built on a portion of the land's southern facing slope.

Read More...
Newsletter Sponsorship

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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!
Badger and Associates Inc.

Bear Pond Books 

Big Heavy World

Candeleros Southwestern Grill

Capitol Grounds

Chippers Inc.

Community Environmental Health Strategies

Erica Garfin Consulting

Exclusively Vermont Wood Products LLC

Grant Norten & Associates PLLC

Hawkins House

Image Relay

Judith Sutphen Consulting

Merrill Theatres

Misty Valley Books

Mother Myrick's Confectionery

New Breed Marketing

Positive Pie

R.C. Uerz and Associates LLC

r.k. Miles

Sterling College

Stowe Street Emporium

The Bennington Bookshop

The Drawing Board

Trowel Trades Supply Inc.

Vermont Bird Place & Sky Watch

Vermont Book Shop

Vermont Commons School

Vermont Master Chimney Sweeps

Waitsfield Hardware

Waterbury Hardware

Yankee Bookshop
VBSR Commentary

Extinguish Insurance

There are those who believe that being first in cost and last in health is no reason for the United States to dump the sickness management structure run by private insurance companies and drug corporations, in order to follow the other 18 industrialized countries into a national health care system. Americans are rugged individualists they say, and we pay our own way. Real Americans don't want to be part of some Commie system where we all chip in for health care anyone and everyone can access.

But how would the rest of the country look if it were run like private health insurance ? Instead of a public school system, you would get a bill for each of your kids. There would be toll booths one mile apart on every road, rather than the interstate highway system. And we would need to get rid of the current socialist setup at the fire department where, even if you've never had a fire, you pay taxes to support a fire department that anyone can access, just like national health care would be.

Since the fire clause in your homeowner's insurance only covers the cost of re-building, the fire department covers cost of putting the fire out. However, instead of using tax dollars to fund the fire department, private companies would offer Extinguish Insurance. Then the homeowner would have the Freedom To Choose the level of protection that's right for them, just like your health plan. Here's how it would work.

Once your home catches fire, you simply call your agent for a quick pre-approval (well, it's kind of quick, sometimes), then call the fire department. To save you money, your insurance company has negotiated rates with certain departments, so be sure to call one that is "in-network" as you and the family flee from the blazing inferno you used to call home, or you won't be fully covered.

Upon arrival, the chief or a trained assistant will carefully review your policy to determine your benefits. This is important because, to hold down premiums, you (and your employer, if they can afford to pay part of your Extinguish Insurance) may have decided on a plan that covers the house but lets the garage burn to the ground; or only permits a fire every 2 years; or, if you don't have a family policy, won't cover a dependent's bedroom, and so on.

Finally, the fire department cashier will collect your co-pay and any deductible the insurance company says you owe. No cash ? No problem - every fire truck will have a credit card swipe machine. Sure all this takes place before any water hits the structure, and, just as with a catastrophic illness, if you go broke paying for all this, bankruptcy protection will not be available to you. But it's good for the corporations that fund most members of congress, and you've been saved from socialism.

I'm sure the Fox Noise Network would declare that, since it includes no public money, Extinguish Insurance is just the cost of maintaining our Freedom. But rational human beings know that it is as insane as our current health insurance fiasco.
 
Victor Callirgos              
250 Cardinal Lane
Bennington, VT   05201
VBSR Bookshelf
The Power of Sustainable Thinking

by:
Bob Doppelt

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VBSR Bookshelf
is provided from our friends at the
Vermont Book Shop
CONTACT US
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60 Lake Street, Suite 3G
Burlington, VT 05401
802-862-8347

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

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