More than 6,300 Vermont nonprofits provide services, good jobs, and civic engagement that make our communities stronger. Employing 1 in 7 Vermont workers and contributing over $5.7 billion per year to the economy through wages, retail and wholesale purchases, and professional service contracts, the nonprofit sector is the second largest industry in Vermont after State government. These nonprofits address basic human needs such as food, shelter, childcare, health services, and education. They also provide vibrancy to our villages, towns, and cities through investment in the arts, libraries, historic preservation, conservation and environmental concerns, and economic development. In sum, Vermont’s nonprofit sector, built on a foundation of public partnerships and individual engagement, benefits every Vermonter by connecting our communities to essential resources and creating opportunities for everyone to thrive.
Common Good Vermont (CGVT) is a trusted statewide resource and nonpartisan advocate for the State’s nonprofit organizations, supporting the success of Vermont’s nonprofits through education, advocacy and relationship building. CGVT recognizes that partnership among government, nonprofits and philanthropy can be strengthened to promote innovation, collective models of impact, and streamlined processes, all of which serve the long-term interests of taxpayers and communities. CGVT serves as a representative of the nonprofit sector to government and a connection between the two sectors.
Each nonprofit is also an advocate, employer, and business that contributes to Vermont’s economy, and we urge policymakers to engage nonprofits and grantmakers as partners in addressing public policy issues. To this end, CGVT provides training opportunities that encourage nonprofits to engage in nonpartisan public policy advocacy efforts. Recognizing that the rich and diverse experiences, perspectives, and values of our entire community should be reflected in all aspects of our work, CGVT supports inclusive public policies and works to advance internal and external processes that promote diverse voices in public policy development and implementation, particularly of groups and individuals who face historical and persisting underrepresentation or marginalization.
CGVT focuses on policy issues affecting all nonprofits with attention to operations, equity, development and employment. Generally speaking, CGVT will not take a position on issues impacting only one field, unless the issue sets a precedent that could affect all nonprofits. In pursuit of a thriving nonprofit sector able to contribute to the wellbeing of Vermont, our advocacy is guided by the core principals and policy positions outlined in our Policy Platform.
In 2024, CGVT is focused on three policy priorities featured in our Legislative Action Agenda:
Common Good Vermont 2024 Legislative Action Agenda
Priority 1: State of Vermont Grant and Contract Reform
Nonprofits working on behalf of Vermonters rely on state grants and contracts. These awards are not keeping up with the economic realities in which we all live, and system processes create additional challenges for organizations whose administrative capacity is already stretched thin. CGVT, in partnership with our nonprofit allies, requests that the legislature form a Working Group to consider needed reforms to the state’s grant and contracting system to make it more viable, predictable, and efficient.
Priority 2: Data Privacy Nonprofit Exemption
Nonprofits are entrusted with and depend on personal data to advance their missions. Organizations may rely on commercial companies to maintain data in secure environments at a level that many nonprofits could not afford to maintain on their own. While we support robust privacy protections, CGVT requests that nonprofits be exempt from onerous, state-level privacy regulations, as nonprofits use data to advance their missions including assessing need, evaluating program quality and for donor engagement, not for commercial purposes.
Priority 3: Nonprofit Workforce
Nonprofits, like many Vermont employers, are experiencing a workforce shortage. To build the capacity of Vermont’s nonprofits through training and direct service, Common Good Vermont is requesting $200,000 in ongoing funding through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development starting in FY25. Additionally, CGVT backs policies that support workforce recruitment and retention including increasing funding for staffing and new housing development.