Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies
The BDCC is a Regional Development Corporation (RDC), one of 12 across Vermont, providing regional economic development services. SeVEDS was formed nearly a decade ago in recognition of a gap between the region’s economic development needs, and the baseline capacity afforded by the RDC structure. SeVEDS provides the region’s strategic planning and expertise, delivering funding and program development the likes of which are not typical of other regions in Vermont, much less other rural areas nationally. A complete annual overview is available online within the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) & Southeastern Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) Annual Reports. This year’s Summary for Town Reports provides a brief overview of recent activities. A deeper dive into program activities is also available on program pages, blogs and press releases at brattleborodevelopment.com.
BDCC and SeVEDS are duly organized entities with individual boards and budgets. The SeVEDS board represents communities from across the region. SeVEDS works at the grassroots level to help guide the region in developing long term economic and community development strategies. SeVEDS has no staff, instead contracting with the BDCC to implement those strategies.
BDCC staff engage with towns on behalf of SeVEDS, meeting with dozens of Selectboards and town committees throughout the year to share information on programs and services. BDCC staff solicit SeVEDS funding from every Windham Region Municipality each year at the rate of $3 per capita. Last year, 74% of Windham County Residents supported SeVEDS through municipal funding requests.
It is important to understand that the very nature of the funding secured by leveraging municipal investment imposes upon this organization the highest level of accountability. There are few organizations regionally that can successfully secure and administer funding to the level of compliance and expertise BDCC has developed. This means, in practical terms, that BDCC and SeVEDS each undergo an annual audit in preparation for the required IRS 990 submission. In the last several years, the level of federal funding we have leveraged requires an additional, Single Audit. In the United States, the Single Audit, Subpart F of the OMB Uniform Guidance, is a rigorous, organization-wide audit or examination of an entity that expends certain levels of federal funds, federal grants, or federal awards. These recipients commonly include states, cities, universities, and non-profit organizations. The purpose of a Single Audit is to ensure a recipient of federal funds is in compliance with the federal program’s requirements for how the money can be used.
BDCC and SeVEDS are very aware of the importance of transparency in our operations. As a non-profit our mission comes first. We must always conduct ourselves in an ethical and transparent manner to ensure ongoing confidence in the organization and our ability to effectively deliver on our mission. Communications is one way in which we aim to ensure transparency. The capacity we have built has made possible many innovative initiatives; from the regional strategic plan to career pathways work in the high schools. The diverse range of work that we engage in, and the extraordinary partnerships that we build to accomplish that work, are indeed complex. But that is what it takes to make a difference in a rural economy, because there are no simple solutions or single answers to reversing decades of economic decline. That our work can be difficult to understand should not be mistaken for a lack of transparency.
We place tremendous importance on communicating directly with the Towns and people that we serve. This past year Brattleboro Community Television (BCTV) awarded BDCC “Community Partner of the Year” for being the most active non-profit using their network to communicate. Over the past two years SeVEDS presentations have been made to over 25 town meetings by BDCC staff. Over the last 2 years, BDCC staff attended over 100 select board meetings, many of which are televised and available for viewing from the comfort of residents’ homes or in public libraries. You can find a link to a “highlights reel” of some of last year’s Selectboard visits, which BCTV helped us to create in order to reach a broader audience, given the very low attendance and viewership for town public meetings.
We can always do more to help more people understand and engage with our work, and we will continue to try harder to educate more people about the work that we do. We always welcome your questions. Please feel free to contact BDCC Executive Director, Adam Grinold at 257-7731 ext 224.