Tenth Meeting of VINN (Vermont International Nonprofit Network)

Thursday August 19, 2004, Green Across the Pacific, Shoreham, 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Members Attending

Ames Non-Profit Consulting – Peter Ames
Animals Asia - Andi Mowrer
ECOLOGIA – Randy Kritkausky, Carolyn Schmidt
Green Across the Pacific – Peter Lynch
Institute for Sustainable Communities – Justin Johnson
Salzburg Seminar – Meg Harris

Marcela Pino, Grounds for Health (Burlington)
Judith Sutphen, Consultant (Moretown)

Absent with notification
Beth Comolli, Consultant
Global Health Councili - Erin Gooch
Population Media Center –Bill Ryerson
Project Harmony – Barbara Miller
Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, Middlebury College – Charlotte Tate
Vermont Teacher Diversity Scholarship Program – Phyl Newbeck

Thank you to Peter Lynch of Green Across the Pacific for hosting this meeting.

1. Networking / Introductions

Ames Non-Profit Consulting - Peter Ames - Peter most recently spent several months in Greece, consulting for the Natural History and Environmental Museum. He attended a seminar at Johns Hopkins on the continuing development and political difficulties of the Balkan region and Central Europe, and his keeping his attention focused on this part of the world.

Animals Asia – Andi Mowrer, US Director – Jill Roberts, the executive director of Animals Asia (based in Hong Kong) was interviewed on NPR's "Living on Earth" program. Animals Asia is moving forward with plans for an international symposium on bear farming, to be held in China. Chinese government officials, bear farmers, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, and international ts the issue.

ECOLOGIA –Carolyn Schmidt, Randy Kritkausky– ECOLOGIA is preparing to host two environmental exchange groups (from Russia and from Lithuania) in the Middlebury area in September. In another project, ECOLOGIA has been working to create a meaningful greenhouse gas accounting standard, to be used around the world to measure emissions. A major conference in Buenos Aires will determine how strong the final measure will be.

Grounds for Health – Marcela Pino, Program Assistant. – Grounds for Health works in Mexico and Central America, providing cervical cancer screening and referrals for women working in the coffee-growing communities of Oaxaca and Vera Cruz. Grounds for Health started as a response to health problems of women workers - the very high rate of cervical cancer deaths - by the Vermont coffee purchasers who trade with the region. Grounds for Health brings their program into communities only when the community itself has shown the capacity and willingness to continue the program after the Grounds for Health medical volunteers have left.

Green Across the Pacific – Peter Lynch, Executive Director – GATP has just completed this summer's high school exchange program in Southern China. Their Chinese partners are moving ahead with incorporating the 'larger picture' of environmental impacts into their teaching of the natural sciences. GATP continues to explore institutional ties with Castleton State College.

Institute for Sustainable Communities - Justin Johnson, Communications Manager The annual Sustainable Communities conference was held this year in Burlington, and drewalmost 500 participants from 48 countries, and 35 US states. A major theme which emerged was the need for work on sustainability to come both from the "top" and the "bottom". Towns which are doing a particularly good job of implementing sustainability (for example, creating pedestrian access) with support from officials and from grassroots citizens' efforts are Seattle, Racine, Honolulu and Bogota. ISC is now working on a US-based sustainability project, seeking topics which could be usefully tackled from a New England regional perspective (such as air quality, and watershed protection).

Salzburg Seminar –Meg Harris, Special Projects Coordinator. The next Seminar is on "Aid, Trade and Development: Policy Tools of the 21st Century." Salzburg Seminar is also finalizing their program for 2005.

Judith Sutphen, Consultant, Moretown Judith is the immediate past president of the Vermont Commission on Women. She is involved with strengthening ties between the US and Guatemala, and working to advance women's issues throughout Vermont. She is particularly interested in development of NGO capacity, and involving more diverse organizations in policy decisions at the state level.

2. WORKING COMMITTEE on Publicity and Outreach: Justin Johnson, Erin Gooch and Randy Kritkausky.
The committee recommends:

  1. A two-pronged approach - publicizing VINN as a group, and publicizing individual organizations' activities
  2. Each VINN member needs to answer the question, "Why are we here - in Vermont?" and "How does being in Vermont inform and sustain our work?" Each VINN member has a fascinating and unique story to tell.
  3. How many VINN members are still headed by their original founders? Those organizations should get statements from their founders, about their original goals and why they are doing international work from Vermont.
  4. There are actually two "lenses" for viewing Vermont. One lens is the perspective of the VINN members. The other lens is the perspective of foreign visitors or colleagues. VINN members should strive for quotations and documentation to show how their foreign colleagues respond to Vermont as a unique part of the United States.
  5. From the replies, the committee will pull together a plan for a series of articles, for Vermont Life. Yankee Magazine, local newspapers, Vermont Business associations, and VANPO should also be involved.
  6. TIMELINE: Each VINN organization should choose one person to do their initial write-up, with their answers to questions 2 and 3 above, and send it to Justin Johnson jjohnson@iscvt.org by Friday September 22nd.

3. The WORKING COMMITTEE on Event Planning,is chaired by Meg Harris; members are Peter Lynch, Andi Mowrer, Carolyn Schmidt.
Discussion of the committee's recommendations led to these conclusions:

  1. Aim for a minimal audience of 200, including people who are not currently part of the VINN network.
  2. A Sunday in January , 4 - 6 pm, is a good time slot.
  3. The Event would start with a speaker and have a panel discussion immediately following. This event would be no-cost or low-cost.
  4. Dinner following would enable the most interested audience participants to talk with the speakers in an informal setting.
  5. Once speakers, date and location have been chosen, we would divide up responsibility among VINN members to publicize the event locally, and invite their friends and neighbors.

Next Meeting: Thursday November 18, Robert A. Jones 59 House, Rohatyn Center, Middlebury College. 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

AGENDA for November Meeting

  1. Networking /Introductions
  2. Actions of the Working Committee on Publicity and Outreach - Justin Johnson (ISC) Chairing, Erin Gooch (Global Health Council) , Randy Kritkausky (ECOLOGIA)
  3. Actions of the Event Planning Committee – Meg Harris (Salzburg Seminar) Chairing, Andi Mowrer (Animals Asia), Peter Lynch (Green Across the Pacific), Carolyn Schmidt (ECOLOGIA)
  4. Other issues, on request and as time permits
  5. Schedule next meeting time/place