Posted by Carrie Fenn on Feb 26, 2020
Meg Smith, Director of the Vermont Women's Fund, was our guest speaker this morning.

February 26, 2020
Charlotte Shelburne Hinesburg Rotary Trinity Episcopal Church

Meg Smith from Vermont Women’s Fund is our speaker today. Keith reminded us of the Core Principles of Rotary:

As a Rotarian, I will:

  • Act with integrity and high ethical standards in my personal and professional life

  • Deal fairly with others and treat them and their occupations with respect

  • Use my professional skills through Rotary to: mentor young people, help those

    with special needs, and improve people’s quality of life in my community and in

    the world

  • Avoid behaviour that reflects adversely on Rotary or other Rotarians.

  • Help maintain a harassment-free environment in Rotary meetings, events, and

    activities, report any suspected harassment, and help ensure non-retaliation to those individuals that report harassment

    Keith is recently returned with other Rotarians from Tela. It was an amazing trip! Margo was the ear assistant
    Susan and Cheyenne had a great dental clinic. They had 4 dentists- 2 local Honduran dentists joined them which helped quite a bit. They performed over 200 extractions. A retired hygienist did cleanings.

    Margo’s husband Caleb handled triage and did a great job keeping everyone organized. Keith fitted 90 hearing aids- 7 people had never heard speech before, 4 of which were kids.

    The Williston Richmond Rotary ski race is March 27- Susan, Chris, Keith and Carrie are maybe’s. Our club will provide a $100 sponsorship.
    Burlington Sunrise Spelling bee is March 25. $500 entry fee- Susan will do it, but the Board will take it up in their February meeting as to whether or not we will provide the $500 sponsorship for the entry.

    The Club is still looking for a RILA coordinator.

Board meeting 2/27 at 7:30 am.

Race Vermont race series has started- snowshoe race at Palmer’s 2/29. Chris and Keith will man the booth.

Upcoming speakers:
March 4 Michael Kennedy, Vermont Bar Association
March 11 Victoria Loner, CEO One Care Vermont accountability care Andrea Green Mahoney, Building Strong Families
Linda Boudin, AARP

March 14 is Pies for Breakfast. Please contribute a minimum of three pies. 8-11. Jim Donovan is putting a poster together and will send it out to club members so people can post wherever they want.

Ric Flood ran into Linda and George Schiavonne. George is doing well- up and around and walking in the mall for exercise. His treatments are every morning so he is unable to attend Rotary meetings but we all wish him well.
Happy Fines:
Diana reminded us to vote early.
Trafton is missing the next four meetings to ski in Colorado.
Bob Sanders thanked the Honduran crew for their good work
Joan had an amazing trip with her daughter to South Africa
Margo is thankful for a great trip to Honduras
Susan thankful to H2H and for Linda and George
John Hammer thankful for Global Entry and for Meg Smith

Meg Smith Director of Vermont Women’s Fund is our speaker.

Vermont Women’s Fund is a component of the Vermont Community Foundation which serves Vermonters all over the state. VCF helps people put money in organizations they believe in.
VWF was started 25 years when the founders realized there was a lack of services for women. Women and girls in the state need special programs to help them enter the workforce. The fund raised a million dollars in the first couple of years, another million 5 years later, and started distributing monies in 1988.

Their funding includes wellness programs and social service programs. VWF takes risks on programs that traditional funders do not, such as pilot programs. VWF funded Rosie’s Girls pilot, which became a very successful program and is now a national program operating in 12 states. Rosie’s Girls runs camps to teach girls the trades.

As the fund developed it matured and has focused in on economic development for women and girls, funding programs that offer tools and pathways for viable careers, with a focus on programs that help women become economically self sufficient. 20 years

ago there was still the paradigm that men took care of women. That attitude has changed somewhat but not entirely. VWF champions women’s economic independence.

Today, VWF’s endowment is 2.9 million. The fund takes 5% and puts that money into grant making in two categories- half goes into small grants of 5 to 10K, funding a dozen or so non profit programs such as transitional housing, domestic abuse shelters, neediest cases and educational programs like coding programs. Half goes to a statewide initiative called “Change the Story” which is designed to fast track gender equity in Vermont.

Vermont has a big gap of not knowing where women stand in the economy. In 2016 4 reports came out showing that 42% of women working full time cannot meet their basic needs. Of woman-headed households, 37% live in poverty. VWF put the data and research together to make the case for economic development of women and girls and gave the report to the legislators where it collected dust. In 2017 the Women’s March and the #Metoo movement brought women’s issues to the forefront and legislators dusted the report off.

In Vermont, women own more businesses than men, but make only 19 cents on the dollar to male owned businesses. VWF funds programs that teach women how to run businesses. VWF is not gender exclusive- Vermont won’t see change unless everyone is involved. Men are coming to the table to help to change the story in Vermont.

Vermont has the fastest aging population in the US. There’s a big gap in the trades and we need women to help fill the gap.
In Vermont, women earn 16 cents to the dollar, creating a huge equity gap. VWF is helping to draft legislation to fix the income gap.

A copy of “Represent” will be going to Peirson library. See you next week!

Respectfully submitted, Carrie Fenn