The Working Communities Challenge advances local collaborative efforts that build strong, healthy economies and communities in northern New England’s rural towns, regions, and smaller cities. With a focus on economic opportunity for communities and residents with low incomes, this unique three-year grant competition is supported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the State of Vermont, national and local philanthropy, and private sector employers.

The partnership in Vermont is informed by Boston Fed research that examined smaller cities in New England that had not fared well over the past half-century. Boston Fed economists asked themselves, “Why had these communities not been successful?” They began by looking at data, but quickly found that success was dependent on how well leaders were able to collaborate across the private business, public, and nonprofit sectors around a common, long-term vision for the community.

As a result, the Boston Fed launched a competition with New England states to support diverse, local collaborative leadership teams tackle complex challenges facing their communities. Included in the Challenge is funding to accelerate promising local work with a focus on sustainable development and increased economic opportunities for residents.

The Boston Fed and Vermont leaders are adapting the competition model, first started in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, to the unique needs of rural towns, regions, and smaller cities in northern New England.

Funders & Partners

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
USDA/Northern Border Regional Commission
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Northern Border Regional Commission Infrastructure
State of Vermont
William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation
Vermont Community Foundation
NeighborWorks America
Avangrid Foundation
National Life Foundation
TD Charitable Foundation
Green Mountain Power
Efficiency Vermont
Pomerleau Real Estate
People's United
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
Vermont Electric Power Company, Inc
Northfield Savings Bank
Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU)
Housing Vermont

Communities and their related towns:

Greater Barre Barre City, Montpelier, Berlin, Barre Town
Priority Community: Barre City
Greater Springfield 16 towns part of Greater Springfield
Priority Community: Springfield
Lamoille County Lamoille County
Priority Communities: Johnson, Stowe, Morristown
Northeast Kingdom Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia Counties
Priority Communities: Barton, Lyndon, Newport, St. Johnsbury
Northwest Vermont Grand Isle and Franklin Counties
Priority Communities: St. Albans City, Enosburgh
Southern Vermont 44 towns part of Windham and Bennington counties Priority Communities: Rockingham, Putney, Westminster
White River Valley Bethel, Braintree, Brookfield, Chelsea, Randolph and Rochester
Priority Communities: Randolph
Winooski City of Winooski