What Makes Manchester Stand Out? Its Exceptional Nonprofits

Tucked in the Southwestern corner of the state, Manchester is a small but mighty town. Surrounded by natural beauty and populated with businesses of various types and sizes and some 4400 citizens, one might wonder what makes this small town so special. Its residents - certainly. Its resources - absolutely. But even more impressive - its wide array of invaluable nonprofit organizations.

Vermont's nonprofit community is vibrant. 5,300 501c3 organizations including public charities, private foundations, social capital groups and congregations make up our state's "independent sector". 560 registered nonprofits call Bennington County home. The nonprofit sector is responsible for nearly 20% of Vermont's gross state product, an impressive display of "mission in action".

Nonprofits drive issues, provide services, employ people and measurably improve our quality of life. 100% of Vermont 's residents and visitors benefit from the vital work that nonprofits deliver - town by town, region by region, field by field. The arts, health and human services, education, environmental causes, philanthropy - these are just some of the baskets that fill the nonprofit cache.

To strengthen regional awareness about the benefit that our nonprofits provide, Common Good Vermont, the statewide nonprofit resource organization, is hosting an event, Let's Talk Shop!, on April 24 at the new Manchester Community Library. By connecting area nonprofits and businesses and facilitating a conversation about our collective work, Common Good VT hopes to shine a light on the energy and vitality that nonprofits brings to our towns and regions. Manchester embodies community leadership and inaugurates this event series. Woodstock, Brattleboro, Montpelier, St. Johnsbury, St. Albans and Rutland will follow throughout 2014.

Learn more about and connect with your hardworking area nonprofits - volunteer your time, share your resources and benefit from what they bring to your region. Take advantage of what nonprofits offer because we are better, together!

Liz Ruffa for Common Good Vermont. For more information, contact liz@commongoodvt.org.