Originally posted by Jeff Couture to www.vermonttechnologyalliance.org/news/:
Each year members of the Vermont Technology Alliance contribute several million dollars in financial contributions and in-kind support to community and non-profit organizations in Vermont – and 2020 was no different. Even this year, given the economic impact of COVID-19 and the limitations of social distancing, many businesses have continued to make a positive impact on Vermont communities and organizations.
Here are examples from a dozen vtTA businesses, both small and large, whose contributions alone represent more than $800,000 in giving in 2020.
Everyone at rbTech places a high value on community participation and contribution, with team members volunteering in a number of ways, from building public use trails, to serving as Board members for various local organizations, to hosting a free, public skating rink that the owner Rubin Bennett and his family build and maintain each winter.
This year, rbTech donated $10,000 of seed money to the Green Mountain United Way’s Family Connectivity project to address the spike in communications challenges brought about by the pandemic. The program assists families with connectivity challenges, including providing new and donated devices (phones, tablets, laptops and computers) to families who need them. The business also assisted families with navigating the Internet Service options available, and in some cases provided financial assistance with Internet service costs.
Though the employee team was unable to do any volunteering efforts, Onlogic made $30,168 in donations across a range of programs and organizations in 2020.
- Generator – to support their SPARK Program.
- Howard Center – supporting mental health and families in need.
- The Center for Women & Enterprise – supporting women entrepreneurs.
- COTS – raised through the COTS Walk Fundraising Lunch.
- Christ The King Elementary – In-kind donation of an OnLogic Go thermal scanner.
- South Burlington— Library In-kind donation, and in the process of donating $10k of computer equipment.
- The Peace Corps – to support their Computers for Future Program in Madagascar.
- Branch Out Burlington – Q1 Employee Nominated Donation focused on Reducing Carbon Emissions to Branch Out Burlington.
- Frontline Foods
- GBIC – to support economic development programs and services throughout Chittenden County.
- The South Burlington Food Shelf in lieu of their Annual Employee Potluck Thanksgiving Lunch.
- Bereavement Donations to HOPE and Laughing at My Nightmare
Red Leaf Software
Red Leaf Software donated about 50 hours of time to build a community coordination system for its home town of Colchester in April. The town was bracing for the pandemic, and nobody really knew what to expect. Aaron Frank, the Town Manager, reached out to them with an idea, and they jumped on it. The system was designed to provide automated matchmaking between people in need and volunteers using geolocation, text messages and Google cloud services. More than 60 community members registered, ready to deliver food, supplies and medicine to the people in need. The business also donated money to Colchester Food Shelf and Colchester-Milton Rotary Club’s Holiday Baskets Program. Overall, the combined time and monetary contributions represented about $11,000 this year.
Physician’s Computing Company (PCC)
To date, PCC has provided more than $425,000 in sponsorships to programs around the country. 90% of going to Vermont organizations, including:
- Burlington High School – City and Lake Semester
- Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
- Girls on the Run Vermont
- Heritage Winooski Mill Museum
- Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival
- Lyric Theatre
- Outright Vermont
- Pride Center of Vermont
- Spectrum Youth and Family Services
- UVM Lane Series
- Vermont Humanities Council
- Vermont International Film Festival
- Vermont Stage
- Vermont Symphony Orchestra
- Vermont Technology Alliance
- Vermont Youth Orchestra
- Very Merry Theatre
- Winooski Strong
- Young Writers Project
PCC also provided support to a number of events outside of Vermont, including the Black Arts Matter festival in Madison, Wisconsin.
PCC also allows its employees to take time off for community service and encourages them to become active leaders and board members in organizations, some of which include Lyric Theatre, Laboratory B, Kids Safe, and the Vermont Technology Alliance.
Davis & Hodgdon
Davis & Hodgdon’s community giving for 2020 totaled $25,300 in 2020.
- $15,300 went to 16 local nonprofit organizations in the form of sponsorships.
- $10,000 is being donated to a pool of six organizations selected by its clients as part of its 2020 holiday donation initiative.
J. Scott Marketing
J. Scott Marketing donated $500 to the VT Food Bank and also volunteered woman-hours for Vote Forward, a political non-profit that encourages inactive voters to get to the polls.
Vermont Information Processing (VIP)
VIP is always looking for ways to make a positive community impact. VIP has donated more than $87,000 to charitable organizations so far in 2020. Donations included:
- Colchester High School’s Project Graduation and athletic department.
- Funding a VIP team for the Penguin Plunge, benefiting the VT Special Olympics.
- Donations to the Vermont Food Bank through its “VIP Feeds VT” event in the spring and an additional donation in the fall through a combination of employee and company contributions.
- The Conscious Kid, an organization “dedicated to promoting healthy racial identity development in youth.”
- UVM Children’s Hospital through employees’ participation in the Extra Life fundraiser, and through an additional company donation of $5,000.
- The Alzheimer Association of NENY
- The South Burlington Rotary Club
- The Flyin’ Ryan Foundation
Currently VIP is holding its annual toy drive, to spread a little joy to those in need this holiday season.
Chroma’s community support this year has come from company donations and employee volunteer time and donations, adding up to approximately $145,000. Highlights include:
- Ran a program providing 2:1 matches to employee donations to organizations assisting people with COVID-19, supporting 37 unique non-profits.
- Hosted its annual Secret Santa program, coordinating volunteers from all around the community to Christmas shop for kids from local schools. This year 76 volunteers are shopping for 126 kids.
- Donated 1,056 lbs. of food and $3000 to Our Place Drop-Off Center’s annual food-drive.
- Chroma employees have logged 390 volunteer hours in 2020
- Provided a leadership role in establishing the requirements for manufacturing to work during the pandemic for the “State of Vermont Manufacturing Restart Working Group”
UVM has a large impact on Vermont in a number of ways. One example is UVM’s role as a funder and sponsor of Generator, Burlington’s not-for-profit maker space. UVM provides funding to Generator and Dan Harvey with the Office of the Vice President for Research, serves as board president.
This spring, like many other small businesses, Generator had to close its doors, and they were not sure if they would ever open again. One of Generator’s industrial designers suggested designing and producing PPE face shields, an important tool for front-line health care workers and first responders.
The UVM Medical Center liked the design and soon Generator received an order for 1,000 face shields, followed by an order for 5,000 from the State of Vermont. The orders kept coming and Generator was able to use this new “pop up PPE face shield factory” to keep its employees working until it reopened in a limited capacity this summer.
Through company donations of more than $53,000 and employee donations of time and money, Instrumart has a tradition of giving back. This is reflected in the fact that all employees are given 40 hours of paid time-off to volunteer annually.
Instrumart made a substantial company and employee donation to Make-A-Wish Vermont. The company also supplied “summer gift boxes” to Make-a-Wish Vermont families, who normally would have been treated to a Lake Monsters baseball game at Centennial field, that included Lake Monsters gear, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, candy, and more.
Instrumart employees pack boxes
for Make-A-Wish Vermont
Through a matching donation drive, Instrumart and its employees donated over $13,000 in monetary donations to the South Burlington, Burlington, and Lamoille County Emergency Food Shelves, in addition to the donation of food.
The company is a regular support of local non-profit fundraising efforts, including
- Community Health Center of Burlington’s annual “Salud” fundraiser
- Lund Center’s “Pitchin’ for a Purpose” Cornhole Tournament
- COTS Walk
- Echo Lake & Science Center
- South Burlington Rotary Golf Tournament
Merritt & Merritt
In 2020, Merritt & Merritt continued to foster a business ethic that recognizes the opportunity and responsibility of the business community to set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments. This year, they helped sponsor LaunchVT, whose mission is to provide business acceleration services by mentoring entrepreneurs and helping them accomplish their goals. Merritt & Merritt also continues to support B corporations and prioritize responsible social and environmental practices. They also are a founding member of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) and lead sponsor of the 2020 VBSR Annual Award Ceremony.
Brandthropology provided a range of work at no charge for a number of community organizations representing more than $30,000 in value in 2020:
- Williston Food Shelf – development of a new website and associated services
- Boys & Girls Club of Burlington – an awareness campaign for Kentucky Derby Fundraising Event,
- The Safety Team – website support and training
- ReVTA work (in excess of State of Vermont compensation)
- Perky Planet
- Revival Studios
- Railyard Apothecary
- Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility – work on website
- ReSource – work in emergency response to their COVID needs
- The Vermont Futures Project – ongoing counsel and Brand Vermont work
While the day-to-day work of these and other vtTA member businesses may be unfamiliar to many Vermonters, the financial and volunteer support they provide to many valued Vermont community organizations has a positive, public impact.
About the vtTA
The Vermont Technology Alliance is a business association with a mission to support, promote, and grow technology jobs and technology-driven businesses in Vermont. Members of the vtTA range from individuals to large companies, representing a range of business areas that make up Vermont’s tech ecosystem, as well as businesses and organizations that work with and support Vermont’s tech industry.