Annual Membership Meeting

2019 Annual Meeting


The Alliance’s fifth Annual Membership Meeting, held on May 29th at the Zenbarn in Waterbury, brought together 80 early childhood professionals and providers, parents, business leaders, and funders from around the state.

Alliance members and strategic partners reflected on the Alliance’s advocacy during the 2019 Legislative session and held the annual Steering Committee elections. A panel of representatives from lead organizations shared their perspectives on the Alliance’s work using the Collective Impact framework. This year’s Meeting also included discussions to help our membership begin to look at diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work. We rounded out the day with delicious food and casual socializing to help deepen our working relationships. See some photos and detailed highlights from the day, below. 


Before the Meeting got underway, optional workshops were held including a new member orientation, a discussion on the Collective Impact framework, and a recap on how the issues from the Alliance’s Legislative Agenda fared in the 2019 session.

Matt Levin, Alliance Executive Director, kicked off the Meeting with introductions of Steering Committee members and staff, and Kim Keiser joined to offer a touching tribute to Kelly Ault as she ended her 12-year tenure with the Alliance. Kelly was presented with a bouquet and gifts, and participants were asked to share their remembrances, thanks, and best wishes with her throughout the day. Charlie Gliserman, who is replacing Kelly as the Public Engagement Director, was introduced.

Sarah Kenney, with Let’s Grow Kids and a member of the Alliance Steering Committee, introduced Representative Theresa Wood, who served as a strong champion for early childhood in the Legislature this year. Her comments reflected, in particular, on her work to support the child care bill after learning “how big an issue this is in Vermont – not only for young families, but employers, schools, child care workers.” She had an unprecedented 70 co-sponsors on the child care bill, and she shared that this was only possible because of the years of work by Alliance members to bring this issue to the forefront.

The business portion of the Meeting included electing Steering Committee members and approving the minutes from the 2018 Annual Membership Meeting. See the updated roster and download the Meeting minutes, including a draft version of this year’s, from the Alliance website.

This was followed by a panel discussion during which representatives from Lead Organizations were invited to reflect together with the audience on the effectiveness of our work as a coalition within a Collective Impact framework.

The final hour of the Meeting focused on how to bring the diversity, equity, and inclusion lenses into our work more effectively.  Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila, an adjunct professor at the University of Vermont and a leader on anti-racism, joined us to share her thoughts on diversity, equity, and inclusion in early childhood. (See a video of her talk on the Alliance’s Facebook page.)

Following Dr. Avila’s inspiring comments, Meeting participants formed small groups to answer a series of questions that focused on ways to make the Alliance’s Legislative Agenda-setting process more equitable and inclusive.

Steering Committee Chair Faye Mack closed the Meeting with a few final remarks, and participants were invited to join a networking and social hour. While enjoying food and beverages prepared by Zenbarn, participants chatted about their work, made new connections, and strengthened existing relationships with each other. It was an inspiring and energizing end to the day.

The Alliance staff and Steering Committee’s Equity Subcommittee will review notes from the small group discussions to continue our deepening work on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We look forward to working on these and other issues with our members over the summer and fall as we begin preparations for the 2020 Legislative session.



1:30 – 2:00 pm    Workshops – Choose One

  • New Alliance Member Orientation, Faye Mack, Hunger Free Vermont: Learn more about the mission, governance, and functions of the Alliance and how you can be an active member of our advocacy team.
  • Engaging in Collective Impact (CI)Beth Truzansky, Building Bright Futures: Learn more about the components of CI, including common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication, mutually reinforcing activities, and backbone support.
  • 2019 Legislative Agenda Wrap Up, Matt Levin, Alliance: Get an overview of what happened (or is still happening) in the State House on the legislative issues on the Alliance’s 2019 Legislative Agenda.

2:00 – 2:15 pm    REGISTRATION CHECK IN


2:15 – 2:30 pm    Welcome and Introductions, Vermont House Representative Theresa Wood (Washington-Chittenden)

2:30 – 2:55 pm    Alliance Governance and Steering Committee Elections (current membership required to vote)

2:55 – 3:40 pm    Exploration of 2019 Issue Advocacy and Collective Impact

A moderated panel representives from lead organizations will reflect on their advocacy partnership with the Alliance on the 2019 Legislative Agenda, as framed by Collective Impact. Advocates will share their experience in engaging in the issues.

  • Child Care Financial Assistance – Sarah Kenney, Let’s Grow Kids
  • Early Education Workforce Development – Sonja Raymond, Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program – Ashley Moore, Main Street Alliance of Vermont
  • Children’s Integrated Services Funding – Pam McCarthy, Vermont Family Network
  • Housing/Homelessness Programming – Erhard Mahnke, Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition
  • Reach Up Funding – Michelle Fay, Voices for Vermont’s Children
  • Parent Child Center Network Funding – Claire Kendall, Vermont Parent Child Center Network 
  • Farm to School & Early Childhood Programming – Cynthia Greene, Shelburne Farms


3:45 – 4:10 pm    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Our Work: Michelle Fay, Voices for Vermont’s Children 

Participate in small group discussions on how the Alliance Legislative Agenda setting process can be strengthened by using a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens, what considerations the Steering Committee should integrate into the selection discussions, and what resources would support Alliance members in applying this lens to their work.

4:10 – 4:30 pm    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Comments from Special Guest Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nursing, UVM             


4:30 – 5:30 pm    Social Hour with complimentary food and cash bar