Vital Communities

aka Vital Communities, Inc.   |   White River Junction, VT   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Vital Communities

EIN: 03-0355283


Vital Communities engages Upper Valley people, organizations, and communities to create equitable solutions to our region’s challenges. To fulfill this mission, we will: • Identify, include, engage, and connect diverse groups in our community so that our goals and approach are informed by people of all ages, genders, races, cultures, faiths, abilities, educational backgrounds, professions, documentation status, income levels, sexual orientations, and geographic locations throughout the Upper Valley; • Recognize and challenge systemic racism and all forms of discrimination in our organization and community; • Incorporate justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in all our efforts.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Sarah Jackson

Main address

195 North Main Street

White River Junction, VT 05001 USA

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Subject area info

Early childhood education

Climate change

Leadership development

Civic participation


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Population served info

Children and youth



Economically disadvantaged people


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NTEE code info

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

Citizen Participation (W24)

Agricultural Programs (K20)

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?


We support Upper Valley communities to collaboratively manage the effects of climate change through proactive adjustments in ecological, social, and economic systems by:
● Convening the Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup focused on local climate resilience
● Hosting Upper Valley Adaptation Forums on community-based climate change solutions
● Training local Climate Change Leadership Academy (2CLA) leaders
● Supporting the VT/NH Energy Education Program's Youth Climate Leadership Academy

Population(s) Served

We support Upper Valley community partners to increase the affordability and availability of high-quality childcare by:
● Convening the Early Care & Education (ECE) Initiative, which brings together employers, employees, ECE
providers, parents, philanthropists, and advocates in workgroups to address (1) Facilities and Program Models,
(2) Workforce Recruitment and Retention, and (3) Advocacy at the state and local levels

Population(s) Served

We support Upper Valley communities in developing a resilient, self-reliant, and environmentally
sustainable regional economy that serves all by:
● Hosting The Local Crowd Upper Valley, a community-based crowdfunding platform for local entrepreneurs
● Supporting the Local First business network with online listings and seasonal campaigns
● Hosting meetings of the Upper Valley Economy Network
● Convening the Economy Advisory Committee of local business and economic stakeholders
● Fostering town-to-town collaborations like the 4-Town Coalition Community Development effort

Population(s) Served

We support Upper Valley communities to realize the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 by:
● Coordinating and supporting Weatherize and Solarize campaigns by town energy committees and contractors
● Advancing local energy initiatives through the New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions Workgroup
● Convening the Upper Valley Energy Advocacy Council to address energy costs for low-income residents
● Providing Strategic Planning Consulting and Support for community energy groups
● Supporting ~40 Town Energy Committees with surveys, showcases, and roundtables
● Engaging in grassroots efforts to equitably alleviate the Energy Burden for mobile home residents
● Using Working Lands & Solar Leases to increase farm viability, land access, and clean energy generation

Population(s) Served

We support Upper Valley farms and working lands to protect their natural resources, bolster
regional self-sufficiency and food security, and help drive our economy by:
● Working with the Upper Valley Hunger Council for a hunger-free region
● Managing Upper Valley Everyone Eats, which supports local restaurants while feeding Vermonters in need
● Supporting Farm to School programming that helps schools source local food and grow school gardens
● Sharing artful Climate Farmer Stories that promote local farmers’ positive role in climate resilience
● Collaborating with the NH Agricultural Viability Alliance to offer farm and food business guidance
● Convening the Upper Valley Resilience Network to increase community food security and access

Population(s) Served

We support Upper Valley planners, developers, employers, municipal leaders, property owners, and community groups so that they can work together to create more places to live by:
● Hosting public Housing Breakfasts and Roundtables that address housing solutions and promote action plans
● Supporting the White River Valley Consortium in creating housing solutions for a 14-town area
● Convening the New Hampshire Housing Coalition to increase affordable workforce housing
● Organizing a multi-sector Housing Advisory Committee to advise on Vital Communities’ housing efforts
● Counting New Homes annually in the Upper Valley and using the report to inform solutions
● Facilitating the Upper Valley Housing Fund, a $10 million project of the Corporate Council
● Connecting Local Housing Groups with resources and networks to advance home creation
● Engaging Upper Valley communities to examine and reform zoning and land use regulations

Population(s) Served

We support Upper Valley community members who want to understand
our region and its emerging challenges so that they can be inclusive and effective leaders by:
● Managing our year-long training program, Leadership Upper Valley, and its alumni network
● Coordinating the Upper Valley Equity Exchange of nonprofits working on diversity, equity, and inclusion
● Convening the Corporate Council to take action on issues impacting employers and employees
● Convening a Municipal Leaders Group from Hanover, Lebanon, Hartford, and Norwich
● Managing 35 public email Community Discussion Lists for community-focused news and exchanges

Population(s) Served

We support Upper Valley communities to provide place-based education and experiences that foster ecological understanding and connection by:
● Managing the Upper Valley Teaching Place Collaborative of K-12 schools and teachers
● Convening the Upper Valley Farm to School Network to connect food and farms with schools
● Awarding mini-grants for place-based learning and farm to school projects
● Coaching schools implementing Farm to School action plans
● Hosting forums and professional development for educators
● Managing Valley Quest, a local library of self-directed, place-based learning expeditions
● Welcoming newcomers through hosting the Upper Valley Chapter of Vermont Welcome Wagon Project
● Collaborating with area Chambers on Upper Valley Adventure Trails’ thematic tour itineraries

Population(s) Served

We support Upper Valley communities efforts to create a safe, reliable, and multimodal transportation system that is affordable, increases community resilience, and minimizes climate impact by:
● Convening the Upper Valley Transportation Management Association of workplaces, towns, and providers
● Convening the statewide, climate-focused Vermont Transportation Efficiency Network
● Piloting an E-bike Subsidy Project for low- and moderate-income residents to obtain e-bikes
● Facilitating Employer-based E-Bike Library or Bikeshare Programs
● Hosting the Upper Valley E-Bike Lending Library, offering free tests of various e-bike models
● Promoting Walk, Bike, Ride Campaigns
● Addressing Transportation and Mobility Equity through projects that incorporate the perspectives of those who are underserved by existing services

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Partnership for Innovation Award, Upper Valley Affordable Workforce Housing Fund 2023

New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility

Core Partnership 2023

Vermont Community Foundation

Environmental Program of the Year 2006

Marie Pirie Award for Valley Quest

Small Business Innovator of the Year 2010

Hanover Chamber of Commerce

Food Vision Prize 2022

Henry P. Kendall Foundation

Affiliations & memberships

New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility 2023

Upper Valley Business Alliance (VT & NH) 2023

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility 2023

Cohase (VT & NH) Chamber of Commerce 2023

Greater Claremont (NH) Chamber of Commerce 2023

Hartford (VT) Chamber of Commerce 2023

Vermont Community Development Association 2022

Springfield (VT) Chamber of Commerce 2023

Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition 2023

New Hampshire Housing Association 2023

Vermont Housing Finance Authority 2023

Association for Commuter Transportation 2023

New Hampshire Transit Association 2022

Diversity Workforce Coalition 2023

Vermont Housing and Transportation Coalition 2022

Rotary Club of Hanover (NH) 2023

Social Impact Commons 2023

Upper Valley Transportation Management Association 2023

White River Land Collaborative 2023

Upper Valley Energy Advocacy Council 2023

Town Energy Committees (40 in VT and NH) 2023

The Local Crowd Upper Valley 2023

Upper Valley Economy Network 2023

4-Town Coalition 2023

Leadership Upper Valley 2023

Upper Valley Equity Exchange 2023

Corporate Council 2023

Municipal Leaders Group (Hanover, Lebanon, Hartford, Norwich) 2023

Upper Valley Hunger Council 2023

Upper Valley Everyone Eats 2023

Upper Valley Farm to School Network 2023

Valley Quest 2023

Upper Valley Welcome Project 2023

White River Valley Consortium 2023

New Hampshire Housing Coalition 2023

Upper Valley Housing Fund 2023

Vermont Transportation Efficiency Network 2023

E-Bike Subsidy Project 2023

Upper Valley E-Bike Lending Library 2023

Early Care & Education Initiative 2023

Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup 2023

Climate Change Leadership Academy (2CLA) 2023

New Hampshire Charitable Foundation 2023

Southeastern Vermont Community Action 2023

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Vital Communities
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30
Financial documents
2022 Vital Communities Audited Financial Statements FY2022
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.84 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 21% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Vital Communities

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Vital Communities

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Vital Communities

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Vital Communities’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $81,725 $10,718 $41,041 $361,439 $134,276
As % of expenses 7.5% 0.8% 3.3% 14.5% 5.8%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $76,125 $5,431 $36,032 $356,346 $128,817
As % of expenses 6.9% 0.4% 2.9% 14.3% 5.5%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,320,069 $1,161,860 $1,434,852 $2,954,150 $2,876,292
Total revenue, % change over prior year 22.9% -12.0% 23.5% 105.9% -2.6%
Program services revenue 10.8% 13.7% 9.3% 53.5% 33.1%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.1% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1%
Government grants 11.0% 13.7% 10.3% 7.4% 4.8%
All other grants and contributions 78.1% 72.4% 80.0% 38.9% 62.1%
Other revenue 0.1% 0.0% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $1,090,950 $1,346,128 $1,242,258 $2,493,996 $2,332,562
Total expenses, % change over prior year 21.7% 23.4% -7.7% 100.8% -6.5%
Personnel 67.8% 65.5% 70.6% 37.3% 50.7%
Professional fees 13.3% 11.7% 12.7% 6.9% 7.7%
Occupancy 3.1% 2.9% 3.4% 1.9% 2.3%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 1.4% 3.4% 1.2% 0.5% 2.8%
All other expenses 14.4% 16.5% 12.2% 53.5% 36.6%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $1,096,550 $1,351,415 $1,247,267 $2,499,089 $2,338,021
One month of savings $90,913 $112,177 $103,522 $207,833 $194,380
Debt principal payment $1,955 $0 $0 $135,000 $0
Fixed asset additions $9,312 $6,414 $0 $0 $22,081
Total full costs (estimated) $1,198,730 $1,470,006 $1,350,789 $2,841,922 $2,554,482

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 9.2 6.3 9.0 5.8 7.3
Months of cash and investments 9.2 6.7 9.4 6.2 7.7
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 5.5 4.5 5.2 4.3 5.2
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $837,591 $710,362 $933,059 $1,200,541 $1,425,061
Investments $0 $41,367 $42,174 $85,715 $77,087
Receivables $162,709 $93,258 $159,597 $259,372 $709,733
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $65,122 $71,535 $71,535 $37,141 $49,259
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 76.4% 76.9% 83.9% 75.9% 48.1%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 9.7% 14.3% 18.5% 10.4% 7.6%
Unrestricted net assets $513,493 $518,924 $554,956 $911,302 $1,040,119
Temporarily restricted net assets $424,678 $232,146 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $60,000 $60,000 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $484,678 $292,146 $443,049 $578,254 $1,118,916
Total net assets $998,171 $811,070 $998,005 $1,489,556 $2,159,035

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Sarah Jackson

Sarah Jackson joined Vital Communities as Executive Director in 2020. A native of New Hampshire, Jackson grew up in Laconia and Merrimack. She holds a masters degree from Princeton and began her career with NGOs in Kenya and Egypt. Sarah has more than 25 years’ international development experience – directing diverse program portfolios focused on academic exchanges, education, training, entrepreneurship, civil society, gender, agriculture, and climate change. Sarah moved to Vermont in 2017 to work for the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) and has complemented her international career with volunteer work dealing with some of the challenges and opportunities of the Upper Valley. She is a member of the Randolph (VT) Economic Development Council, served the Randolph Region Re-Energized Program, and completed Vital Communities’ Leadership Upper Valley program in 2020.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Vital Communities

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Vital Communities

Board of directors
as of 06/22/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Amy Lappin

Lebanon Public Libraries

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/24/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/24/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
There are no contractors recorded for this organization.

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser