Nearly 200 Vermonters joined Senator Patrick Leahy and the Vermont Council on Rural Development for an online celebration of local leadership where VCRD announced the launch of the Vermont Community Leadership Network and the publication of the new Community Leadership Guide.

“Strong, capable, and well-supported local leaders are a critical component of Vermont’s future success,” noted VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello. “Both the Network and the Leadership Guide are targeted directly to those Vermonters trying to get big things done in their communities. Our mission is to give them some of the key tools to unleash their success, and to build a network to facilitate their collaboration and mutual support. At a time like this, as Vermont faces very serious challenges, local leadership is more important than ever.”

Building on over two decades of deep facilitative work in well over 100 of Vermont’s small towns and 2018 and 2019 Statewide Community Leadership Summits, the Vermont Council on Rural Development has launched the Vermont Community Leadership Network to connect and support local leaders working toward recovery, resilience and renewal. The network will help local leaders share skills, practices, connections and mutual support to empower members who are building local projects, programs, organizations and systems that serve their communities and Vermont’s urgent and long-term needs. There is no cost to membership. Vermonters can learn more about the network and sign-up to join by going here –

As part of the launch, VCRD announced an opening series of Leadership Network online workshops. Anyone interested can attend free of charge. The Fall 2020 series will be held bi-weekly on Tuesdays from 10-11:30am. The workshop schedule includes:

  • Sept. 15 – Skills: Hosting and facilitating effective meetings in a time of Covid
  • Sept. 29 – Projects: Improving access to child care, afterschool and summer time care in your community
  • Oct. 13 – Skills: Addressing Equity and Inclusion in your work and community
  • Oct. 27 – Projects: Building and supporting local food solutions
  • Nov. 10 – Skills: Growing participation through effective outreach

In addition to launching the network, VCRD has compiled a Community Leadership Guide to support local leadership and project development. The guide includes sections that provide tools and strategies for local leadership as well as a series of chapters that walk community leaders through approaches to advance particular types of community projects and the technical and financial resources available to help. An electronic copy of the report or a request for a printed one can be found at:

A recording of today’s event can be viewed by clicking here –

The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit organization charged by the federal farm bill to act as a neutral convener at both the local and policy level supporting the progress of Vermont communities.