Toward A More Resilient Vermont

This fall, ISC will launch the Resilient Vermont Project, an 18-month effort to help our state to prepare for, respond to and bounce back from future natural disasters.

Toward A More Resilient Vermont

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, state agencies, community organizations and neighbors here in our home state of Vermont sprang into action to help those affected, rebuilding roads, bridges, businesses and homes as quickly as possible. It’s almost a year since the storm, and the state has made great progress toward full recovery.

The challenge now is to sustain this momentum and spirit of collaboration and camaraderie, and to develop a shared vision and a long-term strategy for a resilient Vermont. We’re proud to say that we are part of an effort to do just that.

This fall, we’ll be working with the State of Vermont and many key stakeholders to launch the Resilient Vermont Project.  This 18-month effort will help weave together the many excellent initiatives that are underway, and equip our state to prepare for, respond to and bounce back from the future natural disasters that we know will come.

Over the course of the project, we’ll be working with our fellow Vermonters to tackle some difficult questions, starting with developing a shared vision for resilience, and identifying some of the pathways toward achieving that vision. We’re looking forward to working in Vermont in some of the ways we have worked in other communities – like in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina – and helping our state turn the corner from near-term disaster recovery to long-term resilience.

We’ll be providing updates on the project here, and we look forward to sharing more as it progresses. In the meantime, read the press release below or download it as a pdf here.



Liz Schlegel, Communications Manager,



Institute for Sustainable Communities Launches ‘Resilient Vermont’

Partners with State to Help Vermont Move From Recovery to Resilience

July 10, 2102 – Montpelier, VT – Almost a year out from Tropical Storm Irene, Vermonters are coming to terms with the fact that extreme weather events are not a once-in-a-lifetime happening, and they wish to be better prepared for future challenges. In the face of a changing climate and increasing instances of severe weather, the Institute for Sustainable Communities is launching Resilient Vermont to enhance Vermont’s ability to build on the lessons learned from last year’s disasters and increase the state’s ability to adapt. The Montpelier-based nonprofit is partnering with the Shumlin Administration and a number of state agencies and local organizations on an 18-month project to identify the key strategies for helping Vermont become more resilient.

The Resilient Vermont project will produce several key resources: a comprehensive map of ongoing efforts to bolster resilience; a common definition of resilience for Vermont; and an action agenda including policy, infrastructure and governance improvements. Over the course of the project, ISC will plan several peer-learning workshops designed to showcase promising practices from around the United States and provide key technical information to local government and nonprofit leaders.

To ensure that this project has a long-term impact and builds on the excellent work already being done, ISC will partner with key stakeholders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. ISC has raised the funds needed to implement the project from private foundations, including the High Meadows Fund, the WaterWheel Foundation and Jane’s Trust.

Governor Peter Shumlin strongly supports the project. “Tropical Storm Irene was the most powerful storm of this century – but we know it will not be the last. The Resilient Vermont project will accelerate Vermont’s ability to respond to extreme weather events – and come back stronger. I am pleased to partner with ISC on this critical effort,” said the Governor, noting that he has directed Irene Recovery Officer Sue Minter and other members of his Administration to work with ISC on implementing Resilient Vermont.

For ISC President George Hamilton, the opportunity for ISC to bring its work home brings a new urgency. “All over the world, communities are tackling the very real challenges of climate disruption – and ISC has been working on that effort. We are very proud to have the opportunity to do this work here in Vermont, to help our state become truly sustainable. To do that, we must take full measure of the challenges we face, and work together to find ways to increase our resilience.”

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About the Institute for Sustainable Communities

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), founded in 1991 by former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, partners with communities around the world to develop the tools and skills needed to inspire active citizenship, protect the environment, and take on climate change. ISC has led 80 projects in 24 countries and is currently working in various regions of the United States, Serbia, China, and India to support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas reduction and help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change.

View the Letter from Governor Peter Shumlin


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