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The Preservation Trust of Vermont is pleased to announce a new CSE grant round to assist with the creation or improvement of Community Supported Enterprises in Vermont’s six northern counties. The program is made possible by a generous grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission. Applications are now available by request.

What are Community Supported Enterprises and why are they important?
CSEs come in a variety of forms, including restaurants, general stores, cafes, and pubs, and reflect the needs and desires of an individual community. The Peacham Café sells coffee and baked goods, but also has a refrigerator and freezer stocked with local products. The Putney General Store carries a large variety of typical grocery items but also sells coffee, prepared foods and freshly made sandwiches. In both cases, the buildings and equipment are owned by community-based organizations.

Through a combination of fundraising and grants communities are able to purchase the desired real estate and equipment with little to no debt. Since a community has already raised the funds and own the building prior to the opening of the CSE, they are able to lease the space at an affordable rate to the right operator for the job. This also allows the income from the lease to go towards maintenance expenses rather than paying down a mortgage. The turnkey operation provided by a CSE ensures a minimal upfront investment by the operator, allowing them to focus on providing the necessary services to the community at a reasonable rate rather than paying off the debt associated with starting a new business. This low initial investment contributes to the sustainability and health of the CSE.

Community supported enterprises are key contributors to Vermont’s unique landscape. CSEs reflect a community’s commitment to its long-term economic vitality, sense of place, and quality of life. They are an important part of an individual community’s brand as well as a significant contributor to the Vermont brand. CSEs also serve as a vehicle to share Vermont’s locally grown and processed food products as well as traditional groceries and goods to help meet the needs of the entire community.

What is an eligible project?
For the purposes of this grant program, a CSE is a general store, café, restaurant or pub, owned by an eligible local entity (i.e. municipality or non-profit), and operated by a local proprietor. Eligible activities include the purchase of equipment and/or construction. The grant program will not pay for the acquisition of real estate.

What communities are eligible to apply?
Projects located within NBRC’s VT service area are eligible to apply for funding. NBRC eligible counties include: Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, and Orleans counties.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Non-profit entities. The term ‘nonprofit entity’ means any organization described in section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from taxation under 501(a) of that Code that has been formed for the purpose of economic development.
  • Vermont State government
  • Local governments (village, town, city and county);
  • Other political subdivisions of States (regional planning commissions, authorities of the state)
  • Indian Tribes; § 200.54 Indian tribe (or “federally recognized Indian tribe”). Indian tribe means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act ( 43 U.S.C. Chapter 33), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)). See annually published Bureau of Indian Affairs list of Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services.

If you are interested in applying and have not connected with PTV, please call Jenna Lapachinski (802) 552-0659 to discuss the project.

When are applications due?
Applications are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, April 12, 2019.

When will funding be awarded?
Funding decisions will be made in late-April and sub-grantee agreements will be signed in early May. Work on the project cannot begin until after the sub-grantee agreements have been signed.

Requesting an Application
If you are interested in applying, please email Jenna Lapachinski at to request an application. Applications and all related application materials will be submitted via Dropbox. Jenna will share a Dropbox link when she sends the application.

Please contact Jenna Lapachinski (802) 552-0659 or with any questions.

Peacham Cafe, Peacham, VT

Community Supported Agriculture has become a familiar part of Vermont’s economic landscape. Today, there are similar models emerging in other business fields– “Community Supported Enterprises.” This concept responds to the idea that many businesses, especially in Vermont’s most rural areas, play an irreplaceable part in community life that isn’t captured in the daily sales transactions. Customers and community members are willing to honor that role through creative financial support that can take many forms. — Helen Labun Jordan, Vermont Agricultural Development Coordinator, Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

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