Mayor’s Office

Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces City's We All Belong Program Receives $250,000 Grant and Encourages Burlington-Area Organizations to Get Involved

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 8, 2013
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962

Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces City’s We All Belong Program Receives $250,000 Grant and Encourages Burlington-Area Organizations to Get Involved

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced that the City’s We All Belong (WAB) program, which works with City departments, schools, and non-profit agencies to create more inclusive workplaces and better serve Burlington’s diversifying community, has received a $250,000 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).  The grant will support both the continuation and expansion of the WAB program, allowing 10 additional agencies and organizations to join the cultural competency training program and will grow from 12 to 26 the number of AmeriCorps volunteers who serve at returning and new organizations.

“Creating a City, workplaces, and institutions where people of all backgrounds are welcomed and fully valued is a critical challenge for Burlington as it becomes more diverse,” said Weinberger.  “The We All Belong program offers a great opportunity for organizations to work toward meeting this difficult challenge, and I am excited that, as a result of the CNCS grant, the program will expand over the next year.  I encourage Burlington-area non-profit organizations to take advantage of this important opportunity.”

The City’s Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) launched the We All Belong Program in 2008 with a prior CNCS grant to create more equitable systems reflective of our changing community.  Last year, the WAB AmeriCorps program placed 12 AmeriCorps members serving in participating agencies and trained 100 leaders from 15 participating agencies.

This year, CEDO will select 10 new organizations to join the year-long training program, in an effort to create more inclusive workplaces and more effectively serve our community.  CEDO partners with CQ Strategies, a Vermont based consulting team, to deliver the cultural competency training.

We All Belong participating agencies have made broad and lasting improvements, including:

  • Improved community relations;
  • More effective cross-cultural communications;
  • Strengthened relationships among staff;
  • Heightened employee morale;
  • Implementation of practices designed to recruit and retain diverse staff;
  • Creation of clearer strategies to achieve mission and goals;
  • Crafting of a diversity strategic plan;
  • Improved inclusivity of customer service standards; and
  • Growth of a more diverse and engaged Board of Directors.

Participating agencies have included ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Fletcher Free Library, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties, Greater Burlington YMCA, Local Motion, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, United Way of Chittenden County, the City of Burlington Human Resources Department, and the City of Burlington Mayor’s Office.

The We All Belong Program will select 10 new agencies and provide the following support:

  • Strategic Planning, Assessment and Skills Training for each organization’s Cultural Competency Committee;
  • A series of half-day retreats and small group coaching sessions to develop awareness, skills, and strategy to achieve equity goals and to facilitate a rich learning network among the participating agencies; and
  • An AmeriCorps member to serve for one year in each agency – AmeriCorps members help agencies reach their equity goals by running programs and conducting outreach to underserved populations.

The new agencies will be selected through a competitive process, with applications due by August 28, 2013 and participants announced in September.  Application requests may be made to CEDO at cedofd@burlingtonvt.gov or 802.865.7144.

AmeriCorps is a national service program for people of all ages.  AmeriCorps members serve in a We All Belong participating agency for between nine and 12 months.  AmeriCorps members receive on-the-job experience, training, a living stipend of up to $12,300, and an education award of $5,550.

We All Belong will select individuals for the 26 full- and part-time positions and currently is accepting applications to serve from September 2013 until August 2014.  WAB is seeking dedicated social justice advocates and community organizers; individuals with excellent personal awareness and communication skills who can cross cultures and work with organization staff who tend be dominated by western, white, middle-class culture.  For more information about the positions, please visit http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/CEDO/AmeriCorps/AmeriCorps-State-Members.  Applicants may apply by sending a cover letter and resume to A.C.W.A.B.P@gmail.com

“The time I served with the We All Belong AmeriCorps program opened my eyes and mind to new ways of thinking and behaving, and gave me a new set of skills and strategies to better serve my community,” said one AmeriCorps alum.  “The experience made me feel much more energized and excited about becoming an involved leader in the many communities that live in our beautiful City of Burlington and State of Vermont.”

For more information about the City’s We All Belong program, please visit http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/CEDO/AmeriCorps/Diversity---Inclusion/.

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Press Release Date: 
08/08/2013
City Department: 
Mayor's Office