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The original item was published from 11/19/2020 4:32:00 PM to 12/20/2020 12:00:04 AM.

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City of Winooski News Updates

Posted on: November 19, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Working Communities Challenge Awards $1.9 Million In Grants To Four Vermont Communities

Working Challenge

Barre, Vt. – Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren and Vermont Governor Phil Scott today announced that the Springfield Area, Greater Barre, Lamoille County, and Winooski are the recipients of $300,000 grants as part of the Boston Fed’s Working Communities Challenge. The program includes more than $700,000 in additional planning and action grants for Vermont communities, and aims to strengthen the economies of rural towns and smaller cities. The competition officially launched in Vermont in 2019 with state, private sector, and not-for-profit support. Each of the four communities will receive the grants over three years to support programs designed to bolster economic equality and workforce development across these regions of the state. 

“Congratulations to each of these communities for putting together proposals designed to address significant needs in their unique regions,” Rosengren said. “This is just the start of a lot of hard work on behalf of the residents in these communities. I look forward to working with these teams and following their progress over the coming years.”

  • Springfield seeks to increase workforce participation to combat generational poverty and help residents support themselves and their families. 
  • Greater Barre looks to lower the rate of single female head of households in poverty by 15% in 10 years.
  • Lamoille County plans to tackle systemic barriers to employment and improve workforce transitions in order to lower the county’s unemployment rate by 2024 and create a more diversified economy. 
  • Winooski aims to establish systems to lift underrepresented voices and involve the area’s diverse population in decision-making and community dialogue.

“I want to congratulate the four winners we’re announcing today and thank the Boston Fed for working with us on this initiative,” said Governor Scott. “This pandemic has shown us why it’s important to strengthen our small communities and ensure we have more diversity in our economy so we’re not so reliant on any one sector or any one region. Grants like this will help achieve these goals so we can come out of this pandemic stronger and more resilient.”

To learn more about the communities and the initiatives these grants will support please check out a series of videos that feature their work.

About the Working Communities Challenge - The Working Communities Challenge advances local collaborative efforts that build strong, healthy economies and communities in Vermont’s rural towns, regions, and smaller cities. Launched in 2019, the initiative supports diverse, local teams as they tackle complex challenges facing their communities. This unique three-year grant competition focuses on economic opportunity for communities and residents with low incomes. Its supported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the State of Vermont, national and local philanthropy, and private sector employers.

The Working Cities Challenge is funded by of the state of Vermont and a collaboration that includes the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NeighborWorks America, The Avangrid Foundation, The Northern Border Regional Commission, The William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation, The National Life Foundation, The Vermont Community Foundation, The TD Charitable Foundation, Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont, Pomerleau Real Estate, People's United Bank, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Vermont Electric Power Company, Inc., Northfield Savings Bank, Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU), Housing Vermont, and Windham Foundation. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston does not provide funding for the initiative.

For more on the Working Communities Challenge, visit

Click here to download this press release

Winooski Details

Winooski received a three-year, $300,000 grant to implement an initiative which will focus on engaging the full diversity of the Winooski community in critical decision-making. Winooski is the most diverse municipality in northern New England and the only majority-minority school district in Vermont. The initiative aims to establish systems that lift underrepresented voices and accurately reflect the area’s demographics. Census data demonstrates that 31% of Winooski residents live below the poverty threshold. Many of these at-risk individuals are new Americans and face very real language, cultural, and trust barriers to participating in community dialogue. Without intervention, more than one-fifth of the low-income community will have no voice in the decision-making processes that directly impact them.

The grant will allow Winooski to:

  • Establish an Equity Commission geared towards making sure diverse voices are included in community decision-making processes.
  • Expand the existing Community Cultural Liaison roles to build and strengthen partnerships between the city, school district, businesses, and community organizations.
  • Hire a city Equity Director who would lead these changes and anti-racism work.
  • Enhance the city’s commitment to inclusion. 
  • Ensure that the strategic advantages diversity brings are accompanied by a future in which all voices are heard in decision-making and represented in the seats of power. 
  • Be a model for the future communities of Vermont.

Partners include:

View Winooski's Working Communities Challenge page:

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