Philanthropic group hires three to spread the wealth

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Community Foundation has announced that Liz Gamache, Chelsea Bardot Lewis, and Kevin Wiberg will join the organization’s grants and community investments department, which is responsible for overseeing the programs that distribute grants and mission-related investments throughout the state.
The three join the Foundation at a time when the organization is focusing a significant part of its resources on helping Vermonters overcome the so-called “opportunity gap” — the structural challenges that exist across communities and affect the aspirations, achievement, and opportunities facing low-income families and youth.
Gamache joins the Foundation as vice president for grants and community investments. She will direct the Foundation’s approach to grantmaking, community engagement, and Vermont-based mission investing, and help put the Foundation’s charitable capital in all its forms to work in local communities.
Over the course of her career, Gamache has served in leadership and managerial roles in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, she was director of Efficiency Vermont at Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), where she led a nationally-recognized energy efficiency program that delivered statewide economic and environmental benefits by reducing the costs to individuals and businesses of using energy.
Gamache is also currently serving a third term as mayor of St. Albans, where she has helped lead a downtown revitalization effort.
Bardot Lewis and Wiberg will join as senior philanthropic advisors. In that role, they will work to ensure that the Foundation’s efforts to strengthen communities are successful at the local level while also supporting donors in their grantmaking.
Lewis most recently served as business development section chief for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, where she led a team that promoted economic development through support of Vermont’s farm, food and forest sector businesses. Among other duties, she administered the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, a program designed to offer technical and financial support to entrepreneurs at the forefront of Vermont’s working lands economy.
Wiberg has worked most recently for Housing Vermont as manager of HV Connections, an initiative to improve social and economic outcomes for residents, partnerships, and communities. He identified resident needs, developed community resources and best practice strategies, and built effective partnerships across agencies and sectors.
Wiberg’s background includes 14 years as the director of program development for Capstone Community Action in central Vermont and several years with the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies and UVM Extension in both research and outreach capacities.
Vermont Community Foundation President & CEO Dan Smith welcomed the talented group, saying “All three bring a wealth of experiences working with Vermont communities, which will be invaluable to us as we roll up our sleeves to address the challenging work ahead. We’re fortunate to have them on board to help us direct our work and align philanthropy to help all Vermont communities thrive.”
The trio will begin their work at the Foundation later this summer.

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