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Read about what our project has accomplished, and how other organizations in Vermont have used digital tools to succeed.

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Planning and Implementing a Wi-Fi zone for your Town
Click Here to Dowload a PDF version of this document Through both the Vermont Digital Economy Project (VDEP) and its predecessor, e-Vermont, we have worked to implement free Wi-Fi zones and hotspots in 33 Vermont towns. The guide below, created by... more
Creating and Managing a Municipal Website
Click Here to Download a PDF Version of This Guide This article was written with insight from Tess Gauthier, Project Coordinator from the Snelling Center for Government and based on a presentation given at the Vermont Connected Summit. One of the... more
6 Steps to Evaluate and Optimize Your Organization's Use of Digital Tools
Click Here to Download a PDF Version of This Guide Digital tools have the potential to revolutionize the operation of any organization, while at the same time befuddling even the most tech-savvy people. As the Nonprofit Adviser for the Vermont... more
How Organizations Can Use Online Tools To Collaborate
Almost all of the digital tools that we have discussed in previous articles have focused on how to reach to reach a wider audience. But it is also important to consider two-way communication methods, so that people collaborating on a project, or... more
The Right Training for the Right Job
This article was written by Tanja Hinterstoisser (Champlain College) and Daniel Connolly (University of Denver), who presented on this topic at our Vermont Connected Summit. Technology is one of the greatest drivers of societal change—impacting... more
Connected Nonprofits
This article was written by Kate Jellema, Marlboro College Graduate & Professional Studies, who facilitated a discussion at our Vermont Connected Summit on how nonprofits can keep pace with technology. The good news: 55% of people who engage... more
Vermontivate! On Line For The Real World
This article was written by Kathryn Blume, Co-Founder of "Vermontivate!" and a panelist on our morning session called "Nonprofit Problem Solvers." The big question that started the whole thing off was: How do we get Vermont as a whole community... more
6 Steps to Evaluate and Optimize Your Nonprofit's Use of Digital Tools
Digital tools have the potential to revolutionize the operation of any organization, while at the same time befuddling even the most tech-savvy people. As the Nonprofit Adviser for the Vermont Digital Economy Project, I have had the pleasure of... more
Internet Intern Program Highlights Growing Need for Digital Skills Education
The following article was submitted by Martha Reid, Vermont State Librarian. Marty will be moderating the morning panel on “Digital Literacy for a Thriving Economy” in the “Digital Divide” track of our Vermont Connected Summit on Tuesday, September... more
Using The Internet To Connect With Vermont Neighbors
One of the many ways that the Vermont Digital Economy Project has worked to foster resilience and create community engagement in the past 18 months was by enabling Front Porch Forum to expand to each and every Vermont community. The following... more
How One Vermont Teacher Educates Girls (and Boys) for a Digital World
  Betsy Calhoun, a business applications teacher at Lake Region Union High School in Orleans, Vermont, will take part in our “K-12 Goes Digital” panel at the Vermont Connected Summit. It was tough getting ahold of teachers to take part in our... more
The Value of Human Centered Design in Vermont
Participants at the Vermont Food Systems Hackathon used concepts from Human Centered Design to develop their ideas. One of the things that makes our summit unique is that by organizing our sessions into four tracks (Educating for a Digital World,... more
Diverse Groups Will Use #VTStrong In Social Media To Encourage Vermonters To Volunteer
On Thursday, August 14th, VCRD’s Vermont Digital Economy Project facilitated a discussion with an impressive group of representatives from several nonprofit organizations that are part of Vermont Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD),... more
Heart of Vermont Productions Helps Strengthen Flood-Damaged Communities
Pictured left to right: Rob O’Neil, Co-Founder of Heart of Vermont Productions, Sharon Combes-Farr, Vermont Digital Economy Project Director, and Scott O’Neil, Co-Founder of Heart of Vermont Productions. (Photo by David J. Tepper.) Last August, at... more
Does Your Nonprofit Need a CRM to Manage Its Contacts?
As an organization grows, sometimes using excel spreadsheets to keep track of donors, volunteers, and other contacts is not enough, and more powerful and complex tools for managing contacts become both necessary and convenient. These types of tools... more
Meet Our Keynote Speaker: Julie Lenzer Kirk
We are extremely pleased that our Keynote Speaker is Julie Lenzer Kirk. At our summit, she’ll speak to us about “Infusing Innovation & an Entrepreneurial Mindset to Fuel Economic Growth.” “At EDA, we know the importance of a connectedness to... more
Google Ad Grants: Free Advertising For Nonprofits
One free tool that we have discussed before that can be very helpful for a nonprofit, no matter what its size, is Google for Nonprofits. In previous articles we’ve written about how nonprofits enrolled in the program can have free email using a... more
Wi-Fi Coverage Continues to Grow
Although we have been crossing the state to launch numerous Wi-Fi zones over the past few weeks, each town we’re in is so distinctive that every launch is a special experience. Last Thursday, we launched a Wi-Fi zone in Bennington. Bennington stood... more
How One Vermont Supervisory Union is Integrating Digital Tools
  The Vermont Digital Economy Project has been very active in promoting digital skills-building through its Internet Intern program at 24 Vermont libraries and by making digital workforce training available to hundreds of Vermonters. Despite its... more
Barre To Launch New Wi-Fi Zone To Kick Off The “Barre Heritage Festival”
BARRE, VT - On July 23rd, from 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm, Barre, Vermont, will celebrate its public downtown Wi-Fi zone, which is free for residents and visitors alike. The zone was funded, developed, and implemented by the Vermont Digital Economy Project... more
Bennington To Launch New Wi-Fi Zone at "Midnight Madness"
BENNINGTON, VT - On July 17th, from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm, Bennington, Vermont, will celebrate its public downtown Wi-Fi zone, which is free for residents and visitors alike. The zone was funded, developed, and implemented by the Vermont Digital... more
Announcing the Summit, "Vermont Connected: Envisioning the Future of Vermont’s Digital Economy"
Find the Most Up To Date Information on the Summit by Clicking Here. As the Vermont Digital Economy Project winds to a close, we are happy to announce that its end will only be the beginning of an ongoing conversation around technology, digital... more
How Towns Can Manage the New Open Meeting Law Changes
This article is written by Tess Gauthier, Project Manager at the Snelling Center for Government The Snelling Center for Government has created and redeveloped a total of 18 municipal websites through the Vermont Digital Economy Project. Recent... more
Vermonters Raise their Voices in Support of Net Neutrality at Senator Leahy’s Hearing
For the past few months, the media has been awash with stories about net neutrality. Recently, these stories became particularly salient for Vermonters, when Senator Patrick Leahy, who chairs the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, brought a... more
How Nonprofits Can Use Video
By connecting compelling visuals to a story, a good video can inspire, inform, agitate, or promote an organization or cause. Just a few years ago, creating an inspiring video was out of reach for most small nonprofits, but advances in technology and... more
Free Digital Workforce Training Now Available through Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library!
Librarian Robert Coleburn at the Computer Center of the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington. Last year, we launched the cutting-edge Microsoft IT Academy Program ® (ITA) for any person who applies to CCV as a regular or continuing education student... more
Celebrating a Year of Wi-Fi Zone Launches
Almost exactly one year ago, in June 2013, the Vermont Digital Economy Project launched its first Wi-Fi zone in South Royalton, VT. Now, in June 2014, we have a lot to show for the past year’s work. On Thursday, June 19, we launched our Wi-Fi zone... more
How Can Your Social Media Presence Help Or Hurt You In a Job Search?
Earlier this month, the Vermont Digital Economy Project organized a training for the Adult Outreach team at the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC). VSAC provides services to all adult Vermonters through the Educational Opportunity Center... more
Create Your Nonprofit Continuity Plan in 5 Simple Steps
You may have seen my previous article about Pat Corcoran, the founder of IBM’s Business Continuity & Resiliency Services Group and one of the world’s premier experts in business continuity. After completing the hands-on disaster preparedness... more
Waterbury To Launch New Wi-Fi Zone
WATERBURY, VT - On June 26th, at 7 pm, Waterbury, Vermont, will celebrate its new, free public downtown Wi-Fi zone, which was funded, developed, and implemented by the Vermont Digital Economy Project with additional funding from the Vermont... more
Learning to Show Love Through Computers
This post was written by Tracy Staples, the program's Internet Intern at the Brown Public Library in Northfield, VT. I began working as an Internet Intern this past January after hearing that the program sorely needed an intern at the Brown Public... more
IBM Disaster Prep Experts Assist Vermont Food Shelves
  Last Thursday, IBM consultants delivered a disaster preparedness for nonprofits workshop to food shelf managers from across Vermont to ensure that organizations caring for some of the state's most vulnerable people have strategies in place before... more
Cambridge To Launch New Wi-Fi Zone At “An Evening On Main Street”
CAMBRIDGE, VT - On June 19th, from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm, Cambridge, Vermont, will celebrate the new, free public downtown Wi-Fi zone, which was funded, developed, and implemented by the Vermont Digital Economy Project with local support from the... more
CCV Offers Microsoft IT Academy Digital Training Statewide
Microsoft Corporation is one of VCRD's partners in the Vermont Digital Economy Project. Through a generous in-kind donation of three discounted three-year licenses of their extensive catalog of online courses called the Microsoft IT Academy Program... more
How a Community Garden Went From Online to On-the-Ground
Small organizations are at the heart of most communities, and they are often born directly in response to a community’s need. This relationship only deepens once these organizations are established. They depend on their community to help raise... more
5 Tips for Creating a Successful Municipal Website
This article was written with the help of Tess Gauthier, Project Manager at the Snelling Center for Government As part of the Vermont Digital Economy Project, our partners at the Snelling Center for Government have now successfully implemented new... more
Why It’s Important to Learn How to Teach Digital Skills
One of the most important services we are delivering is digital skills training. We’re doing that through both our Internet Intern program, a paid internship program that is now active in 24 Vermont libraries, and through our iConnect workshop, a... more
What the End of Support for Windows XP Means for an Organization
After twelve years of support and plenty of advanced notice, on April 8th of this year, Microsoft officially ended its service support for the Windows XP operating system. As a result, organizations that continue to use XP will be increasingly... more
What Rural Vermont Downtowns Can Do With Super-Fast Internet Bandwidth
I recently attended the 20th Annual Historic Preservation & Downtown Conference deep in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. This year’s conference had the theme of “Preservation and Community” and was held at the lovely renovated Town Hall building in... more
Vermont Grown Travel App Open For Business
ViewBoost Co-Founders Doug and Roger Allbee at the launch of the app on May 7th at the Vermont Visitor Center in Williston.ViewBoost Kiosks at Vermont Visitor Centers contain the same information as will be found in the iPhone app. A kiosk has... more
Feeding More Vermonters Through Online Coordination
Vermont fruit and vegetable farmers produce hundreds of tons of edible, farm-fresh food, but often, not all of their production is sold. These leftover products are sometimes wasted, but through gleaning, they can be put to good use. Marcella... more
More Wi-Fi Projects Take Shape Thanks to Collaboration with the VTA
  One of the most exciting services that we are delivering through the Vermont Digital Economy Project is the installation of Wi-Fi zones and hotspots in communities throughout the state. Our goal is to positively impact 25 towns with this... more
How An Online Game Helps Students Learn about Lake Champlain
Games have always been a great tool for teachers to engage students and make learning fun. For example, they have been used effectively to help students understand such diverse topics as historical events and environmental issues. I fondly remember... more
IBM Experts Help Vermont 211 Structure New Website
  Part of the matching funds for our grant was graciously donated by IBM, which, through its Impact Grants program, allows expert consultants to conduct in-depth analysis and workshops with nonprofits on a number of important topics. In the past,... more
Richmond Vt's New Town Website Warns Townspeople of Severe Flooding
This article was written by Tess Gauthier, Project Coordinator at the Snelling Center for Government In the last newsletter, I provided an update of the Snelling Center for Government’s work on 15 municipal websites as part of the Vermont Digital... more
Why It Takes a Community to Build a Wi-Fi Zone
  The most important part of creating a new downtown Wi-Fi zone is not the technology involved. Justin McCoart of Up and Running Computer Services, Kim Martin, Vice President of Cambridge Artists and Entrepreneurs, and Trustee of Village of... more
What Can We Learn from the UK’s Push for Digital Skill-Building?
The graphic above is used in the UK’s small business digital skills survey Vermont’s Digital Skills Roundtable was formed last year to discuss our readiness to fully utilize the power of the Internet not just at the basic level, but also at the... more
Scheduling Posts: A Time Management Tip for Using Facebook
“There’s only so much time in a day!” That’s a common response from my nonprofit clients when I advise them that their community organization should be posting on Facebook 3 to 5 times every week. And, to be honest, many of them are ready to... more
New Websites for 15 Vermont Towns
This article was written by Tess Gauthier, Project Coordinator at the Snelling Center for Government The Snelling Center for Government (SCG) is building local government capacity and better engaging citizens in local affairs throughout Vermont.... more
Should Vermont Towns Use Facebook? Two Towns' Approaches
Our project has highlighted the role and power of social media, especially Facebook, in assisting both nonprofit organizations and small businesses in expanding audience, getting donations, and increasing sales revenue. It has also touted the role... more
How Can Technology Affect Sustainability Practices?
This past Saturday at the ACORN Sustainable Living Expo, I presented with Michael Wood-Lewis, co-founder of Front Porch Forum, on the question of how technology interacts with community to create sustainability. The discussion was rich with concepts... more
Rutland Area Food and Farm Link & VtSBDC Connect To Help Small Farms Increase their Web Marketing
by Nancy Shuttleworth, VtSBDC E-Commerce Business Advisor Rutland Area Food and Farm Link (RAFFL) is an enormous resource for Rutland County. The nonprofit organization offers workshops, answers farmers’ questions, and publishes a yearly Locally... more
How to Reach Your Facebook Fans
Many organizations assume that when they post something to their organization’s Facebook page, everyone who has liked the page will see it. This is not the case. Just as your Facebook friends don’t see everything you post, neither do the fans of... more
iConnect Workshops: Helping Internet Beginners Get Connected
by Eric Sakai, Community College of Vermont A couple of years ago, my then-85-year-old mother called me from California in a panic to tell me, “They took away my inbox!” Email was the one internet resource she had more or less figured out on her... more
Vermont Puts Spotlight on Need to Advance Digital Skills for Vermonters
Christine Friese, Vermont’s Assistant State Librarian, and Tess Gauthier of the Snelling Center for Government are members of the newly formed statewide Vermont Digital Skills Roundtable. Last December the Vermont Department of Libraries and the... more
How Our Wi-Fi Zones Are Being Used
Since we started this project, we have been working hard to implement Wi-Fi zones and Hotspots in towns across the state. We now have 17 active Zones and Hotspots (some of which are still in progress), using a total of 33 pieces of equipment, so we... more
Bridport Creamery Is Open for Business
by Nancy Shuttleworth, VtSBDC E-commerce Business Advisor Online tools may not be at the start of every new business, but once a business is up and running, the importance of having an online presence becomes clear. After two years of planning and... more
How Vermont’s Emergency Managers Leverage Media for Emergency Outreach
Vermont's emergency managers have embraced social media and digital communications to keep Vermonters as informed as possible and recently added messages on Front Porch Forum to their outreach strategy. That's why we asked Mark Bosma, the Vermont... more
Vermont’s Cultural Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning
This Piano came from the famed Weston Playhouse in Weston, Vermont. It is Vermont’s oldest professional theater (est. 1935) and is a living testament to a community’s belief in the arts. On a snowy Valentine’s Day afternoon, more than a dozen... more
How One Library Is Building a Usable and Inclusive New Website
  Amy Grasmick, director of the Kimball Public Library, uses card-sorting to help create the navigation for the library’s new website. There is a term that developers refer to when building websites called usability. The basic premise involves... more
Manchester’s Education Task Force Goes Digital
Last year, VCRD completed a 6-month Community Visit in the southern Vermont town of Manchester. This process helped Manchester residents whittle 22 issues and ideas about how to focus community efforts to build a better Manchester by 2020 into... more
The VCRD Website Got an Update!
Maybe you’ve noticed, but our website just got an overhaul. The old VCRD home page vs the new VCRD home page Throughout the Vermont Digital Economy Project, we have been working with nonprofits and small Vermont businesses to help them to take... more
Who Does an Internet Intern Help?
This article was written by Christine Friese, Assistant State Librarian The Computers at Rutland Free Library get a lot of use, from people seeking Lauren's help to a troop of Boy Scouts! Lauren DuQuette is a digital literacy super hero. Most of... more
More Internet Access For Vermonters Across the State
Call it the polar vortex, an arctic blast, or just call it winter. Whatever its name, the recent spate of cold weather has been making a lot of headlines, and it’s made it tough to work on our Wi-Fi zone installations. When the temperatures are in... more
Long Road Leads To Opening Day Success for Vermont Start-up Business
This article was written by Patrick Ripley, Director of e-Commerce at the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) After many patient months preparing, Blu-Bin, Vermont’s 3D Printing Shop, opened its doors late last year with an... more
How We Can Help Farmers, at NOFA and Beyond
Digital tools have become essential to farmers. From Amanda Andrews at Tamarack Hollow Farm, who used Kickstarter.com to raising the necessary funds to move her farm off of a flood plain and is using Instagram to promote the farm, to Eric... more
Why Everyone Should Take Advantage of Free Online Digital Training
Free digital skills training has been available in the Rutland area for the past several months, made possible by a generous donation from Microsoft to the Vermont Digital Economy Project. Two additional Vermont training sites are going to be up-... more
New Webinar Series for Small Businesses on Google Adwords and Google Tools
The Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) would like to announce a series of free webinars aimed at helping Vermont small business owners to better leverage online tools to help their businesses. VtSBDC will provide an introduction to... more
How Farm and Forest Businesses Can Intersect with Technology
Author's Note: Since creating this flyer, Bruce Hennessey, of Maple Wind Farm, who is pictured in the flyer, has suffered the tragedy of one of his farm's barns burning to the ground. There is a fundraising event happening to raise money for his... more
What An Online Presence Can Do To Help Food Shelves Reach Vermonters In Need
The Woodstock Community Food Shelf board of directors: back row, left to right: Sally Gottlieb, Joan Williamson, Norm Youknot and Laura Kent; front row: Cassie Horner, Sheila Murray and Bev Regan. Food shelves provide support for a community and... more
Why Community Calendars are Important, and How Front Porch Forum Created One
Every community in Vermont now has access to its own online calendar, thanks to Front Porch Forum and the Vermont Council on Rural Development's Vermont Digital Econony Project. This just-released innovation comes from years of listening, planning... more
Using Digital Tools in Farm & Forest Businesses
Stepping up the use of digital tools can be a game-changer for small agricultural and forest products businesses. The integration of farm and forest mobile applications has been shown to save both time and money, while improving productivity by... more
How One Library Patron Found New Ways to Communicate With Her Family
This article was written by Domenic Laurenzi, an Internet Intern who works at  the Dailey Memorial Library in Derby and the Goodrich Library in Newport. He is currently pursuing his associate degree in Applied Business Practices at CCV. When I... more
Battenkill Campground Rebounds After Irene
This article was written by Nancy Shuttleworth, E-Commerce Advisor at VtSBDC The Battenkill River is known as one of the best trout streams in the East, and visitors from far and near come to fish, swim, and camp with the river as their front yard... more
Nonprofits Use Mobile Credit Card App to Boost Donations
Director Georgia Brehm and Assistant Director Linda Tucker from the Black River Academy Museum use Square and a tablet to take mobile donations. As fewer people carry cash or even use check books, many nonprofits are scrambling to find new ways to... more
Happy Holidays and a Prosperous 2014 from the Vermont Digital Economy Project!
I can’t believe that my first blog article as director of the Vermont Digital Economy Project was nine months ago, and that the project is fast approaching its one-year mark. In this relatively short time, the team has made great strides in... more
Sign Up for VT Alert, Vermont’s Emergency Notification System
Alerts like this one, can be emailed, texted, and sent by other methods. Just sign-up at www.vtalert.gov. The Digital Economy Project was created to support the use of digital tools for disaster resilience. We're always happy to see the State of... more
How the Vermont Digital Economy Project Has Made an Impact in One Vermont Town
On a chilly Thursday evening in late November, members of the new downtown development group called Wilmington Works, town officials, state representatives, and Wilmington business owners gathered at the town offices to celebrate the achievements... more
Nonprofits in the White River Valley Get Website Upgrades
Juli Reiderer, Park House Exectutive Director, looks at her organization's new website An empowered organization is a successful organization. For a nonprofit to be successful, it must have control over its message. For most organizations, a... more
Vermont Clothing Company Stays Resilient with New Website
This article was written by Patrick Ripley, Director of e-Commerce at the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC)   Rochester was one of many southern Vermont communities slammed by Hurricane Irene in late summer 2011. “The town of... more
Use Your Facebook Page to Solicit Donations and Subscriptions Online
Here at the Vermont Council on Rural Development, we are in the process of asking for donations to fund our great ongoing work, including support for programs like our Community Visits Program and our Working Landscape Initiative. As we looked at... more
IBM Donates Expert Disaster Preparedness Consulting to Vermont Nonprofits
Earlier this month, two IBM specialists in business continuity and resiliency services conducted two Disaster Preparedness for Nonprofit Workshops in Vermont. The workshops were donated to the Vermont Digital Economy Project through IBM’s Service... more
Sustainable Logging Business Improves Its Operations With Digital Tools
This article was written by Patrick Ripley, Director of e-Commerce at VtSBDC Unlike many Vermont business owners, when Bethel logger Carl Russell emerged from the rains of hurricane Irene in late summer 2011, most of his inventory was left intact.... more
Town of Mendon Launches New Website with Help from Snelling Center
Citizens in the town of Mendon discuss what information they would like to see on a Municipal Website. Thanks to the Vermont Digital Economy Project and its partner, the Snelling Center, the Town of Mendon has a brand new municipal website, custom-... more
Building Inclusion Through Digital Literacy
This year, we were excited to be a part of Tech Jam, a technology-focused job fair that also serves to showcase how well Vermont is succeeding at creating and adopting to new technologies, from being the home of companies such as Dealer.com and... more
Discussing Technology and Open Data at the Woodstock Digital Media Festival
On November 1st, the Vermont Digital Economy Project will be facilitating a discussion at the Woodstock Digital Media Festival on open data, a subject that will be introduced during a presentation by Eddie Tejeda. Eddie is a 2012 Code for America... more
Guilford Community Visit Creates Discussion Among Residents
It was humbling to be part of the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s visiting team for the Guilford Community Visit on October 15th. The Town of Guilford is a community just south of Brattleboro, along Vermont’s southeastern border with... more
Internet Interns Fulfill A Need
This article was written by Donald de Voil, Internet Interns Coordinator at CCV In today's world, it can be impossible to apply for a job, fill out a government form, or complete other essential tasks, without some internet literacy. Sadly, too... more
Vermont Libraries Learn Social Media Strategies
This article was written by Christine Friese, Assistant State Librarian, Vermont Department of Libraries Recently, Library directors, trustees and staff from 10 public libraries, representatives from the Vermont State Library, and members of the... more
Costello Commentary: Advancing the Vermont Forest Economy
In August, VCRD was honored to serve as a partner with the Windham Foundation to facilitate their thirty-fifth Grafton Conference. On the 50th year anniversary of the foundation, they wisely chose to bring together key industry and policy leaders... more
Art + Kids + Critters + Contests = Social Media Success
When discussing social media with nonprofits, the number one question I am asked is: “How can I get more people to like my organization’s Facebook Page?” There are a few basic first steps, including inviting your friends, using the build audience... more
Cities & Towns Learn How Digital Tools Create Community Resilience, In Good Times and Bad
Killington Resort was near its peak foliage color when it hosted more than 400 people at the Vermont League of Cities & Towns Town Fair 2013 on October 3rd On October 3rd, I had the great pleasure of moderating an educational panel at the... more
#VTStrong: Vermont Developing Detailed Plan to Use Social Media to Leverage Volunteers
Twenty Vermont emergency managers and their extended partners participated in a day-long session managed by consultants from IBM Interactive. On September 23rd, the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) in Waterbury... more
Bethel Emergency Management Volunteers Leverage Neighbors and Technology
A goal of our grant is to assist towns, business and nonprofits in using technology to be more prepared in the case of another disaster. This effort includes encouraging communities to learn to communicate with their residents through social media... more
Wilmington Business Groups Get Post-Irene Boost
This article is written by Patrick Ripley, VtSBDC Director of e-Commerce Wilmington was one of many southern Vermont communities hit hardest by Hurricane Irene in the late summer of 2011. Its tight-knit business community has stuck together, and... more
Pride in Vermont is Alive and Well!
Last week, VCRD hosted a “State Rural Policy Innovation Roundtable” reviewing key rural development action led by states and how this work can contribute to national rural policy. We had folks from California, Wyoming, Oregon, Vermont, Illinois,... more
Vermont Small Business Development Center Has Published the Disaster Recovery Guide for Business
The Vermont Small Business Development Center is a key partner in the Vermont Digital Economy Project. We are happy to announce their new guide, created after Irene to help businesses move forward in post-disaster situations. While the guides are... more
How A Town Can Maintain The Cost Of Internet For A Wi-Fi Zone
An access point providing Wi-Fi to Rochester Vermont's zone. In each town that I work with to install a Wi-FI zone, the experience is a little different, which is one of the things that makes the culture of Vermont unique. Every town has its own... more
VCRD Brings Front Porch Forum to Every Vermont Town
Lost dog found in Waitsfield, plow service recommended in Pownal, school board minutes shared in Newport, car break-in reported in Colchester, baby stroller given away in Tinmouth... and the list goes on. Everyday Vermonters use FrontPorchForum.... more
Engaging Citizens To Help Build Municipal Websites
This article was written by Tess Gauthier, Project Coordinator at the Snelling Center Tess Gauthier, of the Snelling Center for Government, gets input from community members in Wilmington about how the town's website can better meet the needs of... more
“Social Media Surgeons” Work in Woodstock
On a Tuesday night, in the upstairs rooms of the Thompson Senior Center in Woodstock, Vermont, 17 members of nonprofit organizations from Woodstock, Killington, Plymouth, Chester, and other nearby towns gathered to meet with five “social media... more
How and Why the Tech Community is Giving Back to Vermont Nonprofits
Social Media Surgeon and volunteer Alison Emerson helps John Atwood of the Bridgewater Historical Society at the Woodstock Social Media Surgery Vermont’s 2011 floods demonstrated the potential for digital tools to support community resilience and... more
“Northeast Kingdom Today and Tomorrow:” What does Progress look like?
Over the last few months VCRD has been working with the Northeast Vermont Development Corporation to convene a dialogue in the Northeast Kingdom on “Managing Change for the Best Future of the NEK.”  We facilitated the “NEK Today and Tomorrow... more
Free Digital Workforce Training Now Available at CCV Rutland!
Mike Keogh, Rutland CCV’s Academic Coordinator and Workforce Liaison, will personally work with area students and continuing education registrants who sign-up for free Microsoft IT Academy training at the college. Two months ago, we announced the... more
More chances for creating downtown Wi-Fi zones, through the VTA’s Business Broadband Improvement District Designation
Our goal, through the Vermont Digital Economy Project, is to help Vermonters use and understand digital tools better. We know that the more technologically capable Vermonters are, the more resilient they will be in the event of another disaster. In... more
Digital Tools Bring Increased Access to Quality Healthcare for Rural Vermonters
Last week, I participated in a Broadband Access Roundtable Discussion for Vermont’s healthcare providers co-hosted by the USDA - Rural Development and the Vermont Telecommunication Authority (VTA). The half-day event was attended by almost two dozen... more
With iPads and GIS, High School Students Map Needed Roadwork in Sharon
Paul Haskell, Chair of the Sharon Selectboard was a part of a group discussion on how to use digital mapping and crowd-sourcing tools to solve community problems convened by the Vermont Digital Economy Project. Stay tuned for additional stories of... more
The Value of a Facebook Like
In a recent post, Pat Ripley of VtSBDC laid out some of the reasons why it is important to have a Facebook presence. In addition to the ability it affords businesses of reaching more customers and nonprofits of reaching more interested people, it... more
Local Nonprofits Encouraged to Use More Online Tools to Build Stronger Organization
For Immediate Release Press Contact: Rob Fish, Nonprofit Adviser, Vermont Digital Economy Project (802) 488-5143 or rob@vtrural.org LOCAL NONPROFITS ENCOURAGED TO USE MORE ONLINE TOOLS TO BUILD STRONGER ORGANIZATIONSVermont Digital Economy Project... more
Using Social Media to Leverage Volunteers after Disasters
Our visits to Vermont’s flood-impacted communities reveal several compelling stories of how towns used social media to help recover from Tropical Storm Irene. Part of this social media effort was to assist with the dissemination of vital information... more
Internet Internship: How the program helped change one intern's life
By Mary McClements, Coordinator of Academic Services-Career Training Programs at CCV Blake dropped out of school when he was sixteen and, for several years, tried to make a living on minimum wage which he just wasn’t able to do. He tried to start... more
Helping to Improve the Visibility of Food Shelves in Vermont
Vermont’s strength is a direct result of the strength of the community organizations that step up in time of need, or provide ongoing assistance to members of the community in need. While these organizations are often small and cover only a few... more
Free Certificate Programs for Digital Skills Coming to CCV Rutland, Thanks to Microsoft
Offering highly accessible digital workforce education is a key part of the Vermont Digital Economy Project.  Project partner Microsoft is delivering the cutting-edge Microsoft IT Academy Program ® (ITA) to provide free online digital workforce... more
Front Porch Forum Will Be Expanded to Every Vermont Town that Wants It
Recent road construction in Huntington in July, 2013 - photo taken by John LoCicero All of this rain has reminded me how important it is that our Vermont Digital Economy Project will bring Front Porch Forum to every town in Vermont that wants one.... more
Social Media Presence is Expected Part of Any Organization’s Online Strategy Today
This article is written by Patrick Ripley, Director of e-Commerce for VtSBDC Social media has become as much a part of daily life for Vermont small business owners and nonprofit organizations as a symbol of storefront signage, careful accounting... more
Recent Storms Give Vermont Chance to Test New Emergency Notification System
The driveway to my house, in Ludlow near the Plymouth town border, became a river during Tropical Storm Irene. I have to admit that all of the rain we’ve gotten lately has made me very nervous. As a Tropical Storm Irene victim, I am paying... more
Does your Nonprofit Need Social Media Surgery?
Is your organization in need of a social media makeover? Nonprofit Advisor and Social Media “Surgeon” Rob Fish discussed social media strategy with “patient” Jahnine Spaulding, Outreach Coordinator of Vermont Operation: Military Kids (VT OMK) at a... more
Civility and Invitation
I was recently invited to participate in a panel on Civility for the National Endowment on the Humanities and the Vermont Bar Association, and it made me think of the challenges we see in rural towns in a different light. When the Vermont Council... more
Flood-Impacted Community Libraries Should Apply for Their Very Own Internet Intern!
This article was written by Christine Friese, Assistant State Librarian. To apply for an Internet Intern for your Library, fill out the form here. Access to high speed broadband and free computers has long been a known barrier to digital literacy... more
Free Individual Digital Advising to Help Farm & Forest Ventures Improve Operations
Photo courtesy of Earthwise Farm And Forest The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) has its roots in the 1992 Farm Bill.  The organization has also taken strong leadership in the creation of Vermont’s Working Landscape Partnership, a non-... more
What a Wi-Fi Zone Means to One Vermont Town
Neal Fox, Bethel Business Association Chairman, speaks at Bethel Wi-Fi zone opening In a bright renovated Town Hall in Bethel Vermont, with sunlight flowing into the room from large windows lining two walls, locals gathered for an evening of... more
How Wi-Fi Brings Townspeople Together
There are many aspects of working for the Digital Economy Project that are appealing: not only does the project have the resources to offer services and aid to communities across Vermont, but in the process of delivering these services, those of us... more
How a Woodstock Nonprofit Saved $1300 a Year Thanks to Digital Tools
The Ottauquechee Community Partnership (OCPVT) is a locally funded non-profit organization with a focus on connecting young people to the community, bringing community resources to schools and building positive relationships through youth-adult... more
Vermont Digital Economy Project Brings Free Wi-Fi to Downtown Bethel
BETHEL, VT - The town of Bethel, Vermont, will be celebrating the arrival of a free and public downtown Wi-Fi zone called “The Bethel Connection” at a launch event on Thursday, June 20th starting at 5pm, with speeches at 6pm at the Bethel Town Hall... more
Vermont Digital Economy Project Delivers Free Downtown Wi-Fi and Much More to Flood-Impacted Communities
Paul Costello, Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, Speaks at Royalton’s Downtown Wi-Fi Launch. Also Onstage (left to right): Tricia Coates (Congressman Welch’s Office), Ted Brady (Senator Leahy’s Office), Ryan Egger (... more
Woodstock Area Nonprofits Join Together
At the Vermont Digital Economy Project, we know that a connected community is a resilient community. While we’ve been focusing on using digital tools to build networks within a community, it’s just as important for local nonprofits to recognize the... more
Reaching to a Wider Community to create Municipal Websites
The Snelling Center for Government is partnering with their Vermont Leadership Network (VLN) to harness skills and knowledge in Vermont communities to aid in the development of the municipal website project. VLN consists of graduates of the... more
Royalton To Launch Free Wi-Fi Funded by the Vermont Digital Economy Project
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SOUTH ROYALTON, VT - After weeks of preparation, decision-making and community involvement, the town of Royalton will kick off its brand new free public Wi-Fi zone on the Royalton green on Thursday, June 13, at 3pm, in... more
Building Digital Inclusion into a Hackathon
This past weekend was the National Day of Civic Hacking. While for many of us, hacking brings up ominous images of security systems being overridden and important data being stolen, a hackathon is quite the opposite. During a hackathon, a number... more
Tech Community Helps Build Three Nonprofit Websites
Can a new rural rescue squad website promote public safety? How much more effective could a jobs bank be if the task of posting jobs were cut in half? How many additional people would a food shelf serve if they had a web presence? Thanks to the... more
Success with Social Media: The Bethel Historical Society
Heidi M. Nikolaidis, of the Bethel Historical Society, received help from Rob Fish on the society's Facebook Page. Here's what she learned: A few weeks ago we first heard about the grant from the Vermont Digital Economy Project. We filled out... more
Waterbury Pub Owners Leverage Social Media to Grow Their Business
More than 20 years ago, Vermonters Jeffrey and Maryanne Larkin opened Arvad’s Grill & Pub in Waterbury. From the very beginning, they put high emphasis on featuring local products and serving their local community. “We strive to use local... more
Old and New Businesses May Help Each Other in Bethel
Digital tools can create an important advantage in running a business these days, and we're working in Bethel on a number of projects to help make these tools more reachable, including installing a free downtown Wi-Fi zone. But older means of... more
Okemo Chamber Models Digital Tools: Mobile Apps, Workshops, Social Media, and More
The Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) is busy scheduling small business workshops in several flood-impacted towns. Grant-funded workshops are already on the calendar for Waterbury, Wilmington, Bethel, Halifax, and Ludlow, with... more
Maintaining the Past into the Future: Helping Historical Societies
Members of the Bethel Historical Society I remember as a young boy growing up and being fascinated by the local history of my home town. I wanted to understand how and why certain things came to be the way they are now. Why were there abandoned... more
Internet Interns: Balancing life: theirs and others
By Mary McClements, Coordinator of Academic Services-Career Training Programs at CCV ‘Balance’ is a great buzz word these days, in my opinion, especially because I don’t have it often enough. We hear this message on the news, and we see it in... more
Two Important Developments: Working Lands and Farm Bill
As a neutral policy and community development convener, VCRD is rarely directly connected to legislative matters but we are excited today about two important developments! ******* First, as the dust settles on the 2013 Vermont legislative session... more
An App for Vermont Farmers, Created by Heather Darby
Our search for relevant workshop content for Vermont’s farm and forest sector led us straight to someone who may, at first, seem an unlikely Vermont digital economy pioneer. Heather Darby, Ph.D., has been teaching nutrient management at the... more
Mobile Technology: Its Benefits for Individuals and Organizations, and its Drawbacks
At the Vermont Digital Economy Project, we're passionate about using new technologies to improve disaster resilience and spur economic growth in Vermont. Mobile technology, from the ease of accessing the Internet on a smart phone to using text... more
Building Resilience Through Radio at Royalton Community Radio
After a week and a half of meetings with over twenty nonprofits ranging from historical societies to downtown revitalization organizations, churches, rotary clubs, human services, agriculture education, and arts and disaster preparedness groups, I... more
The Effective Use of Internet Tools During Disasters
Our hearts go out to everyone who was injured or affected in the unthinkable attack on the Boston Marathon last week. Each of us here at the Digital Economy Project had friends or loved ones at the Marathon or in Boston. While shocked and... more
Digital Economy Services Come to Life
As we discussed in an earlier post, the Vermont Digital Economy Project has been getting its feet wet and meeting with towns to understand their needs and perspectives. However, as we continue to meet with flood-impacted towns (including Woodstock... more
Microsoft Digital Literacy
Our partners at Microsoft have developed a Digital Literacy program that helps to bridge the digital divide. We’re working with them to integrate their curriculum with efforts already in place in the Vermont State Libraries. What comes out of this... more
Making Digital Workshops Relevant for the Agricultural Sector and Nonprofits
An important service offered by our project is the Vermont Small Business Development Center’s digital workshops. They’re designed to teach small businesses how to leverage such hot digital tools as Cloud Computing, Mobile Marketing, Social Media... more
Closing the Digital Divide: The iConnect Workshop
Guest post by Eric Sakai, Dean of Academic Technology at the Community College of Vermont Basic computer skills have become a part of everyday life. More and more vital services, information, and communications have moved online–and while this... more
Keeping The Youth in Vermont
I’ve been struck by census data on rural communities that shows that some rural towns across the country are rapidly urbanizing and others are losing population, especially young people. Vermont is ranked as one of the two oldest states in the... more
Vermont Digital Economy Project Begins Assisting Flood-Impacted Communities
April 8, 2013 (MONTPELIER, VT) – The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) announced today the first round of communities to receive intensive services from its Digital Economy Project this year. The Vermont Digital Economy Project is designed... more
The Benefits of Public Internet Access
One of the most requested items in our application was the "downtown Wi-Fi Zones and Hotspots". As a member of the Millennial Generation, the benefits of having a free and public wireless zone are intrinsic to my mode of operating. A public internet... more
Reflections on Our First Team Visits to Flood-Impacted Towns
Every time I commute to the Vermont Council of Rural Development office in Montpelier, I head north out of my home town of Ludlow along Route 100 and pass through Plymouth, Bridgewater, Killington, Pittsfield, Stockbridge, Bethel, and Royalton to... more
Internet Interns: How to Help Bridge the Digital Divide
guest post by Christine Friese, Assistant State Librarian Vermont Department of Libraries is pleased to be partnering again with VCRD and others in the Vermont Digital Economy Project. The Department will work with participating libraries in the... more
“Traditional” vs. “Future” Vermont: Is there really a divide?
I was interviewed by a local TV program recently on the work of VCRD. The host thought it was interesting that our organization was working this year to support farm and forest business development, which he saw as supporting “traditional Vermont... more
What's New at VCRD: Community Visits
Vermonters across the state know that local action makes our communities vibrant. But local action often needs support from regional, state and even federal levels to achieve goals for prosperity. To respond to this need in Vermont, the Vermont... more
Citizenville: how new technologies can empower local governments
Over the next 18 months, VCRD’s Digital Economy Project will be working to help Vermont communities, businesses and nonprofits become more resilient to natural and manmade disasters. The project will also explore ways to systematically use... more
The Applications Are In!
*The classification for "Flood Impacted" towns was determined by FEMA and is information that they compiled and released in a report to the State of Vermont. We’ve had a busy few weeks at the Vermont Digital Economy Project! Not only were Sharon,... more
Welcome to the Vermont Digital Economy Project!
I am excited to join the Vermont Council on Rural Development as the Director of the Vermont Digital Economy Project. The Vermont Digital Economy Project is funded by a disaster recovery grant from the Economic Development Administration and from... more
Town Clerk Expands Online Services for Fairfield
Fairfield, Vermont is synonymous with maple sugaring and dairy farming, and was the birth place of the 21st president of the United States, Chester Arthur. This Franklin County town of 1900 residents does not live in the past, however. Their library... more