After 7 successful years, Change The Story will sunset March 31
This commentary is by Jessica Nordhaus, the director of Change The Story VT. VBSR is proud to have partnered with her team along the way these past seven years and looks forward to continuing to work alongside the entities who will maintain momentum on the crucial issue of gender equity in our state.
The initiative Change The Story VT emerged from the visionary work of our founder Tiff Bluemle and a small group of committed change-makers who believed that, together, three organizations — the Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Works for Women and the Vermont Commission on Women — could deploy philanthropy, program and policy to fast-track gender equity in Vermont.
And now, like Marta von Trapp getting the (gentle) boot by her older siblings, we are heading off to bed. The sun has set and so must we. The work, however, will continue.
Change The Story was always envisioned as a time-limited initiative — one that would sunset after a certain number of years and accomplishments. We’re proud to wrap up our work having:
- generated increased awareness about gender inequities,
- produced previously unavailable Vermont data,
- provided a boost for VT organizations working hard to make change and
- brought new folks on board as equity champions.
It was collaboration that really made this initiative tick. The three partners that make up CTS will continue to work together (along with many other organizations) to advance gender equity in our state. They will continue to meet regularly, elevate each other’s work and — along with YOU — expand our collective impact. Each partner will take a piece of Change The Story’s work and carry it forward.
More on that to come, but for now I want to take a moment to reflect on our joint accomplishments. Over the last 7 years, we have:
- Sent out more than 1,000 Let’s Talk conversation card decks.
- Led 345 workshops, trainings and other activities in 12 of the 14 Vermont counties.
- Earned 222 stories in local, national and international press outlets, including The Guardian, Good Morning America, Newsweek, National Public Radio, CNN with Anderson Cooper, the year end issues of Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine, and much more.
- Provided extensive gender equity trainings for more than 50 Vermont employers.
- Developed one ground-breaking, free Leaders for Equity and Equal Pay Toolkit for small to mid-sized employers to run regular, in-house pay equity reviews.
- And made more than 27,444 individual connections at events.
It was all only truly only possible because:
- TheVermont Women’s Fund believed in the vision, invested in it and gave CTS the support and flexibility to innovate.
- TheVermont Commission on Women connected the work of CTS to policy makers and the broader Vermont community.
- Vermont Works for Women provided a direct line to the lived experience of women and youth across the state, and facilitated valuable trainings and education for employers, students and individuals alongside CTS.
Although Change The Story is sunsetting at the end of March, the work will continue. And there is plenty of work to be done. We must ensure we emerge from this pandemic building structures into our system that help equalize, rather than exacerbate, the disparities that have existed for too many years. We need to use an equity lens (gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation) when creating policies, programs and budgets so every Vermont woman and girl can first see herself in roles where she can thrive — and then has ample opportunity and the support to get there.
Follow our social media channels over the next few weeks. You will be hearing directly from our three founding partners. They have exciting news to share with you about the story-changing projects and programs that they will continue and amplify.
We are sad to go but grateful for the support and engagement we’ve had in Vermont and beyond, and we are bolstered in the knowledge that Vermonters will continue changing the story until we achieve gender equity in Vermont!