VBSR Members Respond to Crisis pt. 2

VBSR members continue to innovate, inspire, collaborate and utilize a community forward ethic of goodwill to respond with resilience in rapidly changing times.  Below are examples of this transformative work.

Burton Snowboards is supporting health care workers by donating half a million N95 masks to the state of Vermont, Maine & New Hampshire.   Their first shipment of 200,000 KN95 masks were delivered this week to hospitals across Vermont  last week.  They plan on donating 500,000 masks in total. They are using their facilities to produce face shields for medical professionals and have halted snowboard production in Burlington, Vermont.  Burton have also donated 1,300 Anon Optics goggles to be used by medical staff as PPE and are offering health care workers 50% off Burton products to those in the healthcare industry via their Performer Program.

“It’s an honor to be able to quickly mobilize Burton’s supply chain to help the doctors, nurses and other selfless professionals who are saving lives.” – Donna Carpenter, Burton Snowboards

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Business Culture Consultants is offering services to the VBSR community on a “pay form the heart” model.

“Flip Brown from Business Culture Consultants here. Given these extraordinary times, I am offering services to the VBSR community on a “pay from the heart” model. Pay from the heart means that I shift from my standard pricing model so that you can offer a level compensation to my business that feels right to you based on your current resources. This enables all of us to move our businesses forward, knowing that we’re all making adjustments in how we work together. If you’d like to find out more about how this works either because you’re curious about applying it to your own business, or you’re interested in working together around managing uncertainty, moving through difficult conversations, or having a confidential sounding board for your own situation, I’m happy to set up a no-cost consultation. Be safe and strong. –Filp Brown, Business Culture Consultants 

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City Market is partnering with CEDO on a Food Relief Pilot Program, connecting Burlington restaurants with non-profit partners to provide pre-made meals for the community.  Their staff is making 400 meals per week for Feeding Chittenden and other non-profit partners.  In order to support local businesses & partners, they will be giving away $500 total in gifts cards in a member wide raffle.  Those businesses include VBSR members Follino’s BurlingtonPerky Planet Coffee & Red Wagon Plants.  They’ve also purchased mask from Vermont Glove and had additional masks donated by the City’s Community Mask Initiative and will be requiring staff to wear face coverings.

“In the midst of all of this uncertainty, it’s been incredible to see the ways our community members have shown up for one another. We’re excited to partner with CEDO on the Food Relief Pilot Program, working with restaurants and non-profits to get food out to organizations like The Family Room and Spectrum Youth Services. We’ve also added Age Well to our list of Community Outreach Partners to support the increased demand they are seeing for meal delivery services. Now, our Members can volunteer with Age Well’s Meals on Wheels programs and provide assistance to older adults in exchange for a discount in our stores through our Member Work program.” Mae Quilty, City Market

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Chroma Technology is experiencing a surge in business from companies developing COVID-19 testing. While some businesses are concerned that workers will choose to take unemployment rather than stay on the job, Chroma’s commitment to paying a livable wage, employee profit sharing and safety precautions will help keep employees in their jobs.

“We pay quite well, Our paradigm is we want to be paying at least a living wage.” – Newell Lesell, Chroma Technology

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Concept2 is making protective masks for health care workers utilizing it’s supply chain contacts in Asia.  Concept2 is paying for the mask supplies and plans to give some masks to Copley Hospital in Morrisville and to local first responders and nursing homes before turning the rest over to the state Department of Public Safety.  The company is also lending its Asian supply chain expertise to the state as the state orders more PPE equipment.

“We have the supply chain set up to do this.  This is what we do every day all day, just instead of chains and sprockets, we’re bringing in masks.” – Trevor Braun, Concept2

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Intervale Center is working to support the community food system by a myriad of initiatives.  The Fair Share Program is partnering with the Vermont Foodbank to provide a Fair Share for Restaurant Workers. Baskets containing produce and other local food supplies will be available in limited quantities to alleviate some of the financial burden felt by members of the food service industry.  The first drop will be April 17. For information, please email our Gleaning and Food Rescue Program Manager, Hannah Baxter, at hannah@intervale.org.  The Intervale Food Hub has expanded operations as we seek to ensure safe and healthy food access for households in Burlington served by home food delivery.  Their Farm Business Team is working with farms across Vermont as they adjust to changing markets and new demands on their businesses.  Intervale is also proud fiscal sponsors of Skinny Pancake’s ShiftMeals Program.

“The Intervale Center’s programs are designed to support a community food system, and in this time of crisis, we are busy working across the Vermont food system, with farmers, consumers and supply chain partners, to make sure our local food economy remains strong. From supporting farmers as they adjust their businesses, to providing safe access to healthy food to both members of the Intervale Food Hub and those in need, we are relying on our 30+ years of leadership, infrastructure and partnerships to respond to the urgent and evolving needs of our community.” – Travis Marcotte, Executive Director, Intervale Center

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One Digital has set up an information hub related to COVID-19 for any employer to access, and also established a dedicated e-mail address for any employer to contact our legal and HR advisory team: covid19support@onedigital.com

“We want to do what we can to help Vermont employers during this difficult time, whether they are our clients or not.  We have made our legal team available to answer employers’ questions about COVID-19, including the new federal legislation.  This is a time for everyone to reach out and try to help others, and VBSR is full of companies with a service-oriented mindset.  I am proud to be part of this group.” Sena Meiller, OneDigital

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Lake Champlain Chocolates donated over 150 pounds of chocolate eggs to the UVM Medical Center, Home, Health & Hospice (formerly VNA), Spectrum Youth Center, and Meals on Wheels.

We remain focused on the safety of our employees and the ability for us to keep making chocolate. This time of social distancing and staying at home isn’t easy, and so LCC is doing its best to provide the chocolate you need, when you need it. Our hope is to give you one small moment of joy as we look forward to better days ahead. – Eric Lampman, Lake Champlain Chocolates 

King Arthur Flour have assembled a portfolio of benefits and policies to help protect the jobs and income of employee-owners.  Those include – significantly extending the length of guaranteed paid time off, extending new time off benefits to cover caring for dependents facing health or schedule disruptions, including children whose schools have closed or other reliant family, cross-training those able to work and Increasing access to telehealth resources for both physical and mental health.

They’ve launched a new initiative – Goodness Bakes, a program to keep bakeries running during financially challenging times.  To do this, they’ve directed tens of thousands of dollars to directly purchase bread and other baked goods from King Arthur Flour bakery customers, which they then distribute to areas of need within their local communities — food pantries, organizations that support unemployed food service workers, homeless populations, and more.

They are serving the local community by creating an employee task force dedicated  making hundreds of cloth masks for health care workers.   Their Café Sous Chef managing daily takeout meals, organize food deliveries, and coordinate food drops for their local food shelf program.  The bakery is donating thousands of fresh-baked breads and other baked goods to local food shelves and shelters.

“As we navigate in these uncertain times, our north star remains our vision to inspire and share the joy of baking, building stronger and healthier communities. Community is a word you hear a lot. It speaks to connections, to support, to togetherness. There cannot be a more important time than now to be coming together to do all that we can to help one another, our families, our neighbors, and our communities.” –  Karen Colberg & Ralph Carlton, King Arthur Flour

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Let’s Grow Kids is supporting our early educators, families, and employers by:

  • Creating a web form to connect “essential workers” to child care
  • Creating a COVID-19 webpage with up-to-date resources for parents, early educators, and employers
  • Voicing the comments, concerns, and questions of early educators to state decision-makers
  • Closely monitoring, digesting, & influencing both state and federal emergency packages
  • Establishing a series of webinars, FAQs and free one-on-one consultations to early educators in need of business supports
  • Establishing an emergency fund to support child care programs and early educators
  • Partnering with VSECU to provide no interest “Emergency personal loans”  to child care providers

“The world is seeing the critical nature of child care right now as well as the fault lines.” Aly Richards, CEO Let’s Grow Kids

NOFA-VT is bringing their fifty years of experience to the challenges of the moment, ready to help build a resilient food system in the face of COVID-19. We are working short term to mitigate the very real harm facing vulnerable populations through programs like our Farmer Emergency Fund; Farm Share, which provides subsidized CSA shares; and our dairy relief milking efforts for farm workers and owners. They continue to advocate for farmers markets, and other direct and local food access points, to be considered ‘essential.’ And they are initiating longer-term, systems-change work though our policy and advocacy. We also launched a weekly newsletter with resources and updates, are aggregating farmer and community resources on our website, are hosting farmer forums to share new and best practices, and are maintaining a farmer database to help connect farmers to market opportunities.

“The COVID-19 crisis has starkly shown us the cracks and inequities in the current food system. We cannot return to business as usual after this crisis. We must take this moment of disruptive change to build programs and policies that lay the path to a healed food system with ecology and justice at its heart.” Grace Oedel, Executive Director, NOFA-VT

Vermont Arts Council has collected virtual art experiences intended to encourage people to continue to connect to the arts via digital means such as livestreaming, video conferencing, and social media.

“We’re inspired by all of the nimble and imaginative ways that artists and cultural organizations are inventing in this devastating time, to keep Vermonters’ spirits up, support those on the front lines, and remind us all of how deeply we are connected.” –Karen Mittelman, Vermont Arts Council 

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Seven Days has launched a digital directory of local eateries that are offering takeout, delivery or curbside drop-off options.

“By collecting all of this information in one place, we hope to generate business for anyone who is still open during this unbelievably challenging time.” – Paula Routy, Seven Days

Read more – https://www.sevendaysvt.com/CompanyNews/archives/2020/03/20/seven-days-launches-good-to-go-vermont-an-online-directory-of-local-restaurants-offering-takeout-and-delivery

Vermont PBS announced announce https://vbsr.org/news-item/scott-administration-announces-partnership-with-vermont-pbs-to-provide-educational-programming-to-vermont-students/d a partnership with Vermont PBS to provide educational content to supplement remote learning for Vermont students and school districts during the COVID-19 outbreak. This initiative will give over 83,500 Vermont students access to free, high-quality educational resources via television broadcast and online content throughout the duration of school closures to help complement distance learning efforts by Vermont school leaders.

“Our combined statewide broadcast and Internet systems will provide free access to high-quality PBS educational resources. We are committed to reaching all Vermont students and providing them with the same opportunities for learning,” – Holly Groschner, CEO of Vermont PBS.

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Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport creatively turned their annual charity ride into a virtual ride that runs through June 20 and seeks to raise $300,000 for athletes and programs to serve those that are most vulnerable.

“With the uncertainty of the world around us, the Vermont Adaptive Charity Ride has adapted and is now a virtual ride, run, roll, stroll, so that those who are looking for something to do now – while social distancing.  It’s critical that we continue to raise the $300,000 that this event typically raises for the organization. It allows us to provide sports and recreation to people with disabilities here in Vermont and from afar. Now more than ever, that funding is critical, so that when we do rise from this health crisis, those people we serve – those who are most vulnerable – will still have a recreational outlet to continue to stay healthy and active.” – Jeff Alexander, Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport

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For more stories on VBSR member’s triple-bottom-line response (people, planet prosperity), click here.

If you’d like to share your inspiring or innovative response to COVID-19, contact our Membership Manager, Toby Aronson!