A little can mean a lot

Editor of the Reformer:

The Vermont Foodbank receives more than half of its contributions at the end of the year. And while we always welcome large contributions, because we’re serving individuals and families who are hungry and hurting today, even the smallest year-end contribution goes a long way.

According to the DMA Nonprofit Federation, the vast majority of charitable gifts are not the million dollar gifts we hear about in the news. Donors may give in response to specific appeals, or may prefer to do something throughout the year, making a small gift on a regular schedule, such as a monthly giving program. Giving that way, usually by credit card or checking account deduction, also makes the whole process easier and more automatic.

Of course, one reason to spread out our gifts over the year is that most of us are not millionaires. That’s why a regular giving program, such as being a monthly donor, can help both the donor and the charity budget more easily. But even when small donations are received on a more random schedule, today’s efficient charities know how to maximize the gifts’ effectiveness.

Here at the Vermont Foodbank we use 92 cents of every dollar donated to ensure that no one in Vermont goes hungry. Last year, the Vermont Foodbank provided 8.2 million pounds of food to as many as 86,000 Vermonters in need of food assistance. We could not have done with work without the support of 10 percent of Vermont households who are donors to the Vermont Foodbank.

Small gifts, of any amount, when multiplied by the millions upon millions of Americans who support our nation’s charities, add up to a great deal that really does make a big difference. In fact, $316 billion of difference just last year.

So when you read about a millionaire’s gift, just know that in your own way, by making a year-end contribution to your favorite charities, you’re helping just as much, if not more.

Christine Foster,

Chief Development Officer,

Vermont Foodbank, Dec. 20

PSB must act fast on VY

Editor of the Reformer:

For the sake of the residents of Vernon, I strongly encourage the Vermont Public Service Board to allow Vermont Yankee and the state of Vermont to come to an equitable agreement, and issue a clean Certificate of Public Good at the end of this year guaranteeing Vermont Yankee’s continued operation until late 2014. An unburdened CPG will provide much-needed and much-warranted economic and environmental certainty and will give all stakeholders the unobstructed opportunity to plan for the future.

As an elected representative of Vernon -- a town now facing the loss of its largest employer and taxpayer, significant budget cuts, and mounting questions about its financial footing -- I hope the Public Service Board will at least grant us this gift of clarity as we continue the difficult task of planning for life without Vermont Yankee.

Vernon and its residents deserve to know whether Vermont Yankee will continue to operate through next year. A prompt decision by the PSB will allow us to clearly anticipate and navigate the road through 2014 and beyond, and help to ease the financial blow to our school system, our police departments and other local services resulting from the loss of this crucial revenue source.

It is equally important for the Public Service Board to pursue a course that is both fair and equitable and looks to mitigate any further harm. Assigning a tangle of conditions or refusing outright to grant the CPG will only add insult to injury for the people of Vernon -- and a contentious ruling will only hinder our efforts to recover from the loss of Vermont Yankee.

For nearly four decades, the town of Vernon, as the host community for this important economic and energy generator, has been integral to Vermont’s strength and sustainability, contributing billions of dollars in tax revenues, billions more in economic benefits, and supporting thousands of jobs statewide.

It is crucial that the PSB act expeditiously and fairly in issuing a decision, and provide some semblance of certainty as we continue through this difficult transition period. The residents of Vernon, indeed all Vermonters, deserve the security of knowing what the future holds.

Patricia O’Donnell,


Vernon Selectboard, Dec. 18

VY: Looking
toward the future

Editor of the Reformer:

I hope the state is being smart and using everything in its power to make sure Entergy does the right thing for Vermont and our neighbors across the river in New Hampshire and a few miles down the road in Massachusetts and starts the site survey of Vermont Yankee now, so we know what kinds of contaminants we are dealing with so they can start the cleanup now while the workers with knowledge about this plant are here. Also the spent fuel which is ready needs to be moved out of its most vulnerable place, the spent fuel pool, into less vulnerable storage into the dry casks.

If you agree, please write to your state and federal legislators, the governor, the attorney general, newspapers, and the Department of Public Service and anyone else you can think of who could make a difference in this decision. I know this is a crazy and busy time of year for people and the weather is not making it better, but please, let’s not sit quietly by and leave our children and grandchildren to deal with it in 60 years. My poor kid will be 75 if they mothball the plant for 60 years; not exactly a spring chicken.

Lorie Cartwright,

Brattleboro, Dec. 18

Teachers sought

Editor of the Reformer:

We seek the help of your readers in identifying outstanding school leaders. School principals are the glue that keeps it all together when there is a crisis, when an incident of bullying or harassment occurs, when a parent is upset, when the budget needs adjusting, or, most importantly, when kids are not learning.

We need your readers’ help in identifying high quality school principals who have made a difference for their students and schools by shaping a vision of academic success for all students, by creating a climate hospitable for education, by cultivating leadership in others, by improving instruction and by managing people, data and processes to foster school improvement.

Yearly, at our August Leadership Academy, we award Principal of the Year awards to deserving elementary, middle and high school principals, as both a way to recognize them and as a way to inspire others to emulate their actions.

Nominations will be accepted until March 7, but why wait? Nomination forms and criteria for selection are on our website: vpaonline.org or by calling 802-229-0547.

Ken Page,

executive director,

Vermont Principals’ Association, Dec. 20