Sarah Waring Joins the Vermont Community Foundation in Leadership Role

The Vermont Community Foundation is pleased to announce that Sarah Waring has been hired as its vice president for grants and community investments and will join the Foundation at the end of December.

Waring will lead the team responsible for the Community Foundation’s grantmaking programs, community engagement efforts, and Vermont-based mission investments. She will step into her new role as the Foundation continues to expand its efforts to close Vermont’s opportunity gap—the divide in access to education, jobs, health, and community vitality that keeps many Vermonters from getting ahead in life.

Earlier this year, the Foundation declared its belief that the opportunity gap was the single greatest challenge to the health and vitality of the state, and focused its staff-directed discretionary programs and its mission-related investments on closing the gap. It also changed its grantmaking processes to emphasize deeper engagement between the Foundation’s staff and the communities it serves. At the same time, the Foundation continues to offer guidance to donors about where their contributions can make a meaningful difference, particularly in closing the opportunity gap.

“Sarah has a proven track record of working statewide, regionally, and locally on successful efforts that use community momentum to do great things,” says Foundation President & CEO Dan Smith. “She’ll be a critical part of our work to ensure that philanthropy is responsive to the needs and hopes of Vermonters who feel the opportunity gap most strongly.”

Sarah’s career has been focused on community development and natural resource management, using collaborative and whole systems approaches. She was director of programs for the Farm and Wilderness Foundation in Plymouth, Vermont; program director at the Vermont Council on Rural Development; socioeconomics program manager at the Sonoran Institute in Bozeman, Montana; and a social science coordinator for the Bureau of Land Management in Washington, D.C. Since 2013, Sarah has been the Executive Director at the Center for an Agricultural Economy, an innovative nonprofit focused on building a just and regenerative local food system and working in economic and community development arenas in the Northeast Kingdom.

“It’s an honor to be joining the Community Foundation,” said Waring. “In the past 11 years, I’ve had chances to work with the Foundation in a number of ways—whether through the Northeast Kingdom Fund or the Vermont Women’s Fund—and have always admired and been inspired by the commitment of the staff and the impact of the organization’s work. I am incredibly excited about the challenges ahead; particularly in how philanthropy and giving can play a critical role in systems change and be used to work directly with communities to understand and address the opportunity gap.”

Sarah has served on numerous boards, steering committees, and councils; she is currently a board member at Public Assets Institute, board chair of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative, and stepped down from the Vermont Community Foundation Board of Directors to accept this position. Born and raised in Glover, Vermont, Sarah earned her B.A. from Haverford College and her Masters of Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland. She lives in East Montpelier with her family and big, robust wood stove!

The Vermont Community Foundation inspires giving and brings people and resources together to make a difference in Vermont. A family of hundreds of funds and foundations, we provide the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise that make it easy for the people who care about Vermont to find and fund the causes they love.

The heart of the Community Foundation’s work is closing the opportunity gap—the divide that leaves too many Vermonters struggling to get ahead, no matter how hard they work. We are aligning our time, energy, and discretionary resources on efforts that provide access to early care and learning, pathways to college and career training, support for youth and families, and community and economic vitality. We envision Vermont at its best—where everyone has the opportunity to build a bright, secure future. Visit or call 802-388-3355 for more information.