Vogel: Philanthropy

Nov 10, 2014

Vermonters are caring people. We rank 9th in the country in helping our neighbors as volunteers.

During the holiday season, many of us also make financial donations to our favorite charities. According to Guidestar, which tracks the activities of thousands of nonprofits on its free website, half of the charitable organizations it surveyed receive the majority of their donations from October through December.

Toby Talbot / AP

In the 1800’s, Vermont was known as the birthplace of the modern machine shop. Nowadays, not many people would put Vermont and manufacturing in the same sentence. We talk about the landscape for the manufacturing industry here in Vermont with Lisa Gosselin, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development.

Mike Gifford / Flickr

Publicly held companies have a financial responsibility to their shareholders: they have to make money. But benefit corporations can be responsible to the environment, their employees, and their communities. Businesses that have become benefit corporations say they are taking it into their own hands to make the world a better place.

We’ll talk to Tom Payne of King Arthur Flour and Ashley Orgain of Seventh Generation, two Vermont companies who have gone through the certification process to become benefit companies.

Mudgett: Dickering

May 14, 2014
New York Historical Society

I don’t usually like reality TV, but I’m intrigued by the way a new reality show on the History Channel portrays regional culture. It follows a group of northern New England men who live to buy, sell, swap or trade - and the name of the show is Down East Dickering.

Mad Men does a wonderful job of capturing the heyday of commercial advertising – the banner years of liquor and cigarette ads, of tags like Clairol’s “Does she or doesn’t she?” which led the number of American women coloring their hair to grow from seven to forty percent in fifteen years. That, in turn, led to memorable TV campaigns for fast food, telecommunications, cars.

Dealing with climate change requires sacrificing short-term economic benefit in favor of long-term environmental health.

That’s a tough sell, but environmentalists have long hailed the European Union for its willingness to make that trade-off, requiring increasing use of renewable energy, for example, and setting strict emissions standards for its 28 member nations. Europeans, it’s said, take the long view – in marked contrast to America’s apparent devotion to immediate economic gratification, regardless of long-term environmental costs.

Twenty years ago, the Neighborhood Development Corporation of Jamaica Plain built forty affordable homes in Boston. While under construction, more than 1000 people asked for applications. Because we were selling these homes as limited equity cooperatives, NDC held a number of meetings in the neighborhood to educate potential applicants about how limited equity cooperatives work and what would be expected of owners. What surprised everyone was that requiring people to attend a one hour meeting resulted in more than half the families dropping out.

I write in my sleep. It’s hardly restful. Since I mostly remember what I write, I’m never quite sure if I’m really asleep.

AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

President Obama traveled to Connecticut Wednesday to call for a raise in the federal minimum wage. The president wants to raise the wage by nearly $3 an hour.

Obama spoke to an arena packed with students at Central Connecticut State University. He was joined by Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and the governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut - four states that have already increased their minimum wages beyond the federal baseline.

The president said he understands that some people will make more money than others.