Tag Archives: The Wilmington Fund VT

24 April 2013 • Brattleboro Reformer Article

28 Apr

Credit union contributes $10,000 to Wilmington Fund

By CHRIS MAYS / Reformer Staff
Posted:   04/24/2013 03:00:00 AM EDT
Updated:   04/24/2013 07:47:11 AM EDT

Vermont State Employee Credit Union delivers a $10,000 Grant to Julie Lineberger on behalf of The Wilmington Fund VT for the purposes of lighting a Village Parking Lot. From left: VSECU Brattleboro Branch Manager, Tina McCosker; Julie Lineberger, Carolyn Palmer, Cliff Duncan, John Gannon, Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy, and Lilias Hart. (Chris Mays/Brattleboro Reformer)

Wednesday April 24, 2013

WILMINGTON — A downtown project is getting closer to completion after the Wilmington Fund received a $10,000 grant from a statewide credit union.

“I’d like to thank the Vermont State Employees Credit Union for working with us and making this possible,” said Wilmington Fund board member John Gannon. “It certainly took a lot of partners to bring this project together. The VSECU has helped us finance the lights that are going to go up and make this area important to revitalizing the downtown economy.”

On April 23, VSECU Brattleboro Branch Manager Tina McCosker gave the $10,000 grant to Julie Lineberger, on behalf of the Wilmington Fund board. The check was received by Lineberger in the general vicinity of where the lights will be going up in the near future.

Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy also attended the event along with Wilmington Fund board members Cliff Duncan, Carolyn Palmer and Lilias Hart.

The Wilmington Fund previously contributed $10,000 to this project, which will improve the parking lot area behind several downtown businesses. There will also be a maintained small greenspace on the property.

The parking lot was re-paved last summer but there were some finishing touches.

The Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce requested money from the Wilmington Fund when the chamber’s executive director, Adam Grinold, saw an opportunity to obtain a grant through the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.

The funds are going towards paying for lighting and other completion work for the project. The Wilmington Fund contributed an additional $5,000 for the parking lot project last year.

The property is behind Sotheby’s International Realty and Pickwells Barn.

Riverwalk Trail runs through that parking lot and there are plans in the making to link Riverwalk with Dover’s Valley Trail.

According to TheWilmingtonFund.org, “The project is part of Wilmington’s Long-Term Community Recovery Plan resulting from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.”

Completion of the parking lot project is expected for the summer.

The Wilmington Fund has reported receiving seven grants totaling $155,000 “to support economic revitalization of downtown Wilmington.”

The VSECU had expressed to the Wilmington Fund that it had wanted to reach out beyond central Vermont in assisting towns with revitalization efforts post Irene.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


Vermont B/A: Wilmington Pulls Together to bring its Historic Downtown Back to Life

17 Mar

Although there is not a digital copy available, if you see the current issue of Vermont B/A (formerly Builder Architect), there is a very nice article on The Wilmington Fund VT with photos by Carolyn Bates & Barker Willard including the two below.

Irene at Work, photo by Barker Willard

Irene at Work, photo by Barker Willard

Wilmington One Year Later, photo by Carolyn Bates

Wilmington One Year Later, photo by Carolyn Bates


Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce & The Wilmington Fund VT win grant

27 Dec

Brattleboro Reformer Article

By Chris Mays/ Reformer Staff
Posted:   12/24/2012 03:00:00 AM EST

Monday December 24, 2012

WILMINGTON — The Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce received a grant award on Wednesday that will help complete a parking lot project in Wilmington as well gather data for economic development in the valley.

“We learned of the grant and then immediately set about finding a partner with matching dollars that could act fairly quickly,” Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Adam Grinold said.

The Chamber of Commerce needed a partner that could put together the money in two or three weeks before the deadline. With a shortage of time, Grinold approached the Wilmington Fund board about applying for this grant through the State of Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.

Although, the Wilmington Fund board doesn’t usually go about projects on such short notice, its members thought the goal was worthwhile.

“They were very receptive of what we’re trying to do. We came at them from out of nowhere. This isn’t really their model of how to do things, but we explained that this is an opportunity, ‘If we have matching dollars, we can double our money.’”

The Wilmington Fund board wanted to put its money toward the completing a parking area behind the shopping district.

The board was very supportive, Grinold said, and it wanted to see the application get awarded, although the chamber is valleywide.

The Chamber of Commerce was trying to get more funding to study economic development in the Deerfield Valley. Its main job is to gather data for the entire valley.

“We’re trying to be able to provide potential businesses with some collateral information on what the demographics are.”

Grinold gave the Reformer specific examples of things a potential business owner would want to know when evaluating the business model in the valley. The list included getting traffic counts, rooms and meals receipts, tax receipts, a bed count in the valley and the ratios of second-homes to hotels to condominiums.

“Anything that we as a chamber had, went down the river with Irene. We need to rebuild that information. It’s something you need to stay on top of. The freshness of that data is very important.”

The chamber and the Wilmington Fund board worked together on filling out the grant application.

The board wanted to put $10,000 towards completing the parking lot behind the Sotheby’s International Realty and Pickwells Barn buildings, which was redone in the summer. Lighting for the lot is mostly what is left in terms of work to be done, which will be funded by this grant.

Its location has Riverwalk Trail going right through it. In the future, the Valley Trail, which starts in Dover, is slated to eventually meet the Riverwalk Trail.

The remaining $10,000, which comes from the state, is going to go towards data collection and producing a comprehensive report from that information.

The data will be helpful for gaining insight into marketing plans for businesses in the Deerfield Valley. It will be for potential businesses looking for a spot in the area, too.

A video will also be produced, “to highlight attributes of owning businesses in the valley and attracting new businesses,” Grinold said.

The ceremony was held at the State House in Montpelier. Senator Hartwell attended the event, who has been crucial to helping Vermont rebuild its economy after Irene. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott was there as well.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.

A Special Thank You to Sophie Ackert

26 Oct

A Fashionable Approach To Fundraising

By Nancy K. Crevier

Sophie Ackert, dressed in an outfit donated by Pac Sun, thanks supporters of her fashion show to benefit the town of Wilmington, Vt., still recovering from the August 2011 Tropical Storm Irene. —Katie Kent photosEnlarge image

Sophie Ackert, dressed in an outfit donated by Pac Sun, thanks supporters of her fashion show to benefit the town of Wilmington, Vt., still recovering from the August 2011 Tropical Storm Irene. —Katie Kent photos

Twelve-year-old Newtown resident Sophie Ackert put together her love of fashion and the love of her vacation hometown and came up with a highly successful fundraiser, held Sunday, September 9, at the Fraser Woods Montessori School on South Main Street.The fashion show was Sophie’s community project as she prepares for her Bat Mitzvah in October at B’Nai Israel Synagogue in Southbury, and the more than $3,000 dollars raised at the event — three times her goal — as well as four large boxes of clothing, will all benefit the community of Wilmington, Vt., where her parents, Eve and Dave Ackert, own a vacation home.

A year after Tropical Storm Irene swept through New England, Wilmington continues to recover from the devastating floods that knocked businesses and homes there off of foundations and battered other buildings. The loss of 40 businesses has contributed to the loss of jobs for nearly 200 residents of that town, said Eve Ackert.

Maya Neuhoff walks the runway at Fraser Woods School in an outfit assembled from Pac Sun donations.Enlarge image

Maya Neuhoff walks the runway at Fraser Woods School in an outfit assembled from Pac Sun donations.

The late August 2011 storm left Wilmington with contaminated soil, water, and air for many weeks, Ms Ackert said, and prevented the family from returning there until late December. Fortunately, their vacation home is situated on a hill and sustained no damage. But the ruins of the town that they have loved for the seven years they have been visiting were heartbreaking, she said.”I love Vermont,” Sophie said. “My memories of being there are so awesome. It’s so open, and my house there is really different from ours here,” she said. To see the ravaged town and favorite shops in such disrepair, and to see residents still waiting for help in repairing homes and businesses was hard, said Sophie. “They weren’t wealthy people to begin with,” she said.

The family wanted to help and discovered the Wilmington Fund, which is assisting in the rebuilding of businesses there. “Vermont needs the tourism, and counts on these small businesses,” Ms Ackert said, “and the Wilmington Fund is helping them to get loans and grants.”

The desire to aid Wilmington coincided with Sophie’s charge to come up with a Mitzvah project. She had had in mind hosting a fashion show to support charity ever since she started thinking about the project.

Sophie Ackert, far right, gathers with friends, from left, Michaela Stowell, Julia DiMartino, and Samantha Stanton to select outfits to model at the fashion benefit show she hosted Sunday, September 9, as her Bat Mitzvah project.Enlarge image

Sophie Ackert, far right, gathers with friends, from left, Michaela Stowell, Julia DiMartino, and Samantha Stanton to select outfits to model at the fashion benefit show she hosted Sunday, September 9, as her Bat Mitzvah project.

“I want to go into the fashion business,” Sophie said. “I’ve been sketching dresses for years and love it, and then I started sewing some of my own things at the South Norwalk Fashion School summer camps the past two summers,” she said.”She has always been a clotheshorse,” agreed her mother, who said that initially she did not support Sophie’s plan, believing it to be too complicated to undertake. But Sophie persisted and got her parents on board. Even so, said Ms Ackert, she did not anticipate that the project would get as large as it did.

Between 65 and 75 people attended the September 9 show to view and purchase clothing donated by dozens of top brand retailers.

“My dad helped me a lot to get going,” Sophie said. “He got a list of e-mails for top executives in merchandising from a list I made for him of brands I like, and I sent out lots of e-mails to different people at each company,” she said. She was thrilled to receive responses from nearly 90 percent of the companies she approached, and thinks that at least one-third of the companies were able to assist her with donations of clothing.

“I asked for sizes for 11- to 14-year-olds, because I knew that I and my friends would be modeling,” Sophie said. Bass and Tommy Hilfiger also sent men’s clothing, after ascertaining with Sophie that those items would work for her show. “I figured my dad and maybe some of his friends could model those, so it worked out,” she said.

It was the beginning of August when Sophie began soliciting donations. By mid-August the merchandise started arriving at the Ackert home, and by the time September arrived, a 200-square-foot space in their attic was packed with clothing for the fashion show and sale, as well as silent auction and drawing items, jewelry, and gift cards. It was not just national merchandisers supporting Sophie’s efforts, though.

“Almost every area business was willing to help out, with money or food or with things for the auction,” Sophie said. The buffet brunch served Sunday was also thanks to food and beverage donations from area businesses, such as Panera Bread, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Whole Foods, Ms Ackert said.

Entry to the fashion show and brunch was $15. Any clothing that Sophie and her friends had not selected to model for the fashion show were set up on tables for purchase. “One table had things for $10, and another one had clothes for $20,” Sophie said, bargain prices for the top-end merchandise. The silent auction items, such as a basket of Willa Skincare products ($150 value), a Hurley backpack filled with Hurley brand clothing ($300), a Michael Kors bag ($300), and select outfits ($75–$250) created great interest.

A slide show of information and photographs of the Tropical Storm Irene devastation provided by Craig Brandon, author of Goodnight Irene, as well as photographs of the Wilmington damage by Dave Ackert, was shown as guests enjoyed the breakfast buffet and settled in for the show. Thanks to the efforts of Fraser Woods custodians, a fashion runway was assembled in the school’s common room, allowing the models to properly show off the trendy outfits they had created.

Clothing that did not sell will be donated to Twice Blessed, a nonprofit consignment shop in Wilmington, when the Ackerts visit in late September. The consignment shop will try to match people in need with clothing, Ms Ackert said, at no cost to the resident. All of the money raised at Twice Blessed goes back into the community in some form, she added, which meshes nicely with Sophie’s Mitzvah.

Gift cards for food items and some of the cash will go to the Deerfield Valley Food Pantry, as well.

The generosity of companies that included Lee Jeans, Nike, Nautica, Pac Sun, Michael Kors, EMS, Anthropologie, Macy’s, Jensen Automotive, LL Bean, and many more was amazing, Sophie said. “To have executives of these huge companies e-mail me back and thank me for what I was doing was crazy,” She said.

“I never thought I would make as much as I did; I never even thought I would make the $1,000,” Sophie said. “It was fun, but more stressful than I anticipated, and a lot more fulfilling than I expected,” she said. “I’m really glad I went through with this project. Raising this much money for it was great. I feel really good that we found a place to give the clothes and that they will go to people who need them, or the money will go back into the community. It was awesome.”