Dangerously low temperatures kept participants out of Lake Champlain on February 4, but the Union Mutual Popsicles safely took the Penguin Plunge in an indoor pool to complete their pledge to generous donors. (photo courtesy Union Mutual)

VBSR Member News Roundup 2/15/23

These member news highlights were first featured in the 02/15/23 newsletter

Union Mutual Insurance Company: Champion Member Union Mutual’s Penguin Plunge team of 44 employees, vendors and family members recently raised over $100,000 to benefit Special Olympics Vermont during the 2023 fundraising season. Since their first Plunge in 2016, the Union Mutual Popsicles have raised nearly $500,000 for Special Olympics Vermont. Learn more here.

Ben & Jerry’s: Champion Member Ben & Jerry’s collaboration with Tony’s Chocolonely, the chocolate-making impact company on a mission to end modern slavery and child labor in the chocolate industry, is coming to fruition. They are celebrating “Chocolate Love A-Fair” which contains two new chocolate bar flavors in one ice cream pint. The launch is an example of Ben & Jerry’s commitment to the Tony’s Open Chain initiative which tackles social justice issues for cocoa farmers. Learn more here.

Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and Global Village Foods: Global Village Foods has always been driven by wanting to build community through healthy, ethnic African foods made with local ingredients ­– all while taking care of their employees. With guidance and coaching from the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, they’ve been able to maintain that approach even while navigating exponential growth. Learn more here.

The Space on Main: Nonprofit member The Space on Main is launching a Transforming the Social Entrepreneur’s Innovation Toolkit learning series as part of their Impact Studio. Social-impact entrepreneurs use the levers of a market economy to transform complex societal challenges. To keep pace with evolving markets and cultures, they must also continually respond with relevant new products, services, and approaches. This intensive program addresses that pace and ability to respond. Learn more here.

Concept2: Privately held, family run Concept 2, a VBSR Gold Member renowned for their rowing machines and oars, has applied solid sculling team strategies to their business for 40 years: get a fast start, settle into something that you can maintain, and sprint at the end with whatever you have left. In a recent profile piece the Dreissigacker brothers reveal how they’ve innovated beyond rowing and how they build (and maintain) trust. Learn more here.

AO Glass and Adventure Dinner: On February 23rd, traveling Swedish opera stars are merging opera with industry at Burlington’s AO Glass factory. On the bill? Mozart, Bizet, and Vivaldi, a special appearance by the Youth Opera Company of Vermont, and hot glass furnaces. To celebrate this community-centric Pop-Up Opera, AO Glass is releasing a limited run of pressed glass bowls using an antique glass press from the 1890s. The bowl is a 1940s era design that was created in honor of Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, an opera singer who toured with PT Barnum. Fellow VBSR member Adventure Dinner is running the bar. Learn more here.

Turtle Fur: Celebrating its 40th anniversary, outdoor headwear and accessories brand, Turtle Fur, is excited to announce they have officially become a Certified B Corporation™ (B Corp™), joining a community of leaders (and 40+ VBSR members) committed to doing business for good. Turtle Fur is on a mission to inspire an outdoor lifestyle by promoting socially and environmentally conscious living and creating comfortable products for every adventure(r). Congratulations to Turtle Fur! Learn more here.

Vermont Community Loan Fund: The Vermont Community Loan Fund has tallied up their activity in 2H of 2022 and it is impactful. The organization lent $3,163,400 in second half of 2022 to 20+ organizations, including VBSR member Global Village Foods. These loans were spread throughout the state, to BIPOC-owned businesses through VCLF’s new Justice Forward Fund, to small businesses and family farms, to early care and learning programs, and to developers of affordable housing and community facilities. Learn more here.

Champlain College: Champlain College is hosting its Spring 2023 Career Fair in person on Wednesday, March 1, and they’re seeking organizations who want to be in the room. Their last in-person fair sold out two weeks ahead and had a waiting list. Iconic VBSR members like Seventh Generation, National Life Group and Burton have had internship programs with Champlain College over the years and countless VBSR members are Champlain College graduates. Majors ranging from Applied Sustainability to Social Work (and dozens more) mean you’ve got access to a variety of Vermont-based talent. Learn more here.