The Permanent Fund Board Has Grown!

I’ve always felt that one of the best parts about my work with the Permanent Fund is the great people I have been privileged to work with over the years. The early childhood professionals who work with our young children, the dedicated program and policy people in State government, community leaders and our other funding partners—everyone plays such a crucial role in what we’re striving to do for Vermont’s children.

Measuring a growing babySo it always gives me great pleasure when we get to bring some new faces and names into this collaborative effort—namely, new members to the Permanent Fund board. At our first board meeting of 2014 on January 10, we will officially welcome the following people to our board: Buzz Schmidt, founder of GuideStar International; Stuart Comstock-Gay, president and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation; and, Jennifer Archibald Williams, joint venture partner with Norwich Partners.

We are thrilled to welcome Buzz, Stuart and Jenny to our board. They bring a wealth of philanthropic experience and knowledge and will be instrumental in our quest to work with the State and our other funding partners to strengthen Vermont’s early education and care system and help create positive outcomes for all Vermont children.

I’d like to use this blog post to tell you more about each one of them.

Buzz Schmidt, founder, GuideStar International

As founder of GuideStar International (as well as the GuideStar USA and UK organizations), Buzz is a familiar force in the nonprofit sector. The GuideStar organizations are considered leading information sources on the health and impact of charities and nonprofit organizations. He is board chair of the FB Heron Foundation and GuideStar International. Buzz previously served as board chair of the Nonprofit Quarterly and as visiting scholar at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. In 2012, The Nonprofit Times named him one of “The Best and Brightest – 25 Leading Charitable Sector Actors” in the past 25 years. He was previously named one of six visionary leaders of philanthropy by Time Magazine. His firm, Building Wherewithal LLC, provides consulting and research services to help citizens establish systems and capital for building stronger, healthier communities. Buzz graduated from Princeton and Stanford’s graduate schools of business and education.

Stuart Comstock-Gay, president/CEO, Vermont Community Foundation

Stuart has been president and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) since 2009. VCF, established in 1986, is a family of funds and foundations that support organizations and issues throughout the state. Stuart previously served as director of the Democracy Program at Demos and executive director at the National Voting Rights Institute in Boston. He has been active on civic engagement issues and foundation work throughout his career. He spent 14 years with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), including 10 years as executive director of the organization’s Maryland affiliate. Stuart serves on the board of the Mission Investors Exchange and as an advisory board member for the Center for Effective Philanthropy. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Bucknell University and his master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Jenny Archibald Williams, joint venture partner, Norwich Partners

Jenny’s organization, Norwich Partners, is a developer of and investor in commercial real estate (primarily hotels) in New England and Florida. She is executive director of the Children’s Fund of the Upper Valley, which works to combat childhood obesity and build self-esteem through sports and outdoor activities. Jenny brings more than a decade of fundraising experience in higher education, having worked previously at Dartmouth College for 11 years. Her current and past volunteer roles include: board member of overseers of the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College; chair of the advisory board of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundations (Upper Valley Region); trustee of the Montshire Museum of Science; trustee of the Children’s Literacy Foundation; and, trustee of WISE of the Upper Valley, a non-profit organization that provides advocacy, crisis services, and community education to those affected by domestic and sexual violence and stalking. Jenny graduated from Dartmouth College and holds a master’s degree in public administration from NYU.

The three of them—Buzz, Stuart and Jenny—join the other wonderful Permanent Fund board members: Tom MacLeay, board chair and former CEO of National Life Group; Cornelius ‘Con’ Hogan, former secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services; Tom Johnson, president of the Johnson Family Foundation; Cheryl Mitchell, UVM research professor and former deputy secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services; David Rahr, founding president emeritus of the Vermont Community Foundation; and, Carl Ferenbach, board emeritus/co-founder of the Permanent Fund and managing director/co-founder of Berkshire Partners LLC.

I’m excited about the year ahead and look forward to working with this great group of people.


photo via flickr:

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