The Vermont 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 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (FRBB), the initiative supports diverse, local teams of leaders as they tackle complex challenges facing their communities. With a focus on economic opportunity for communities and residents with low incomes, this unique three-year program is supported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the State of Vermont, national and local philanthropy, and private sector employers.

To build a stronger economy, we need housing. To fill a workforce, we need new Vermonters. To build community vitality, we need an easy way for people to get from one side of town to another. The Working Communities Challenge creates cross-sector leadership, and empowered voices of lived experience, as foundational aspects of ways in which the program was designed. With these as cornerstones of the program, eight communities and regions in Vermont were awarded implementation grants through a competitive application process as they tackle some of the biggest, most complex problems facing this and future generations of workers and their families.


The Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Role:

In 2020, the FRBB contracted with the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) to serve as a neutral facilitator to support the eight communities and regions in Vermont over the next 3 years. VCRD provides ongoing advice and consultations to each of the eight teams on strategies for local team building, communications, outreach and engagement, and project implementation in housing, transportation, childcare, the benefits cliff, racial equity, resource navigation, workforce development and other interconnected systems. See a snapshot of the work of the 8 teams we are working and visit the FRBB website for a more in-depth look.

To learn more, contact Jessica Savage, VCRD Director of Community Collaboration, at [email protected]

Working Communities Challenge Stories

Working Communities Challenge Reports

Working Communities Challenge News