Declaration of Inclusion Initiative Reaches Milestone

Declaration of Inclusion Initiative Reaches Milestone

The Declaration of Inclusion initiative is an ongoing effort to raise consciousness about the importance of diversity, equity, and justice and the positive effect that diversity can have on our economy. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce is a proud partner of the initiative, aiding in the grassroots efforts to engage community leaders to reinforce the message that Vermont is a safe and welcoming place for all.

As of November 17, 2022, 80 towns and cities have adopted a Declaration of Inclusion. The Vermont Declaration of Inclusion initiative has now met the milestone of over 50% of Vermont residents residing in a municipality that has pledged itself to welcome and treat all members of marginalized communities who visit, reside, or do business there, fairly and equitably.

With a top threat to the Vermont economy being the severe workforce shortage, this initiative is vital to creating an economically secure future for the state. By amplifying that Vermont welcomes all people, the state can attract workers with diverse skills and traditions to live, work, and raise families here.

In 2021, Governor Phil Scott issued a Proclamation of Inclusion, establishing the second week of May as Inclusion Week. Looking ahead, the goal is to have 100 towns and municipalities adopt a Declaration of Inclusion before Inclusion Week in 2023.

Additional information, resources, and a complete list of municipalities that have adopted the Declaration are available at

Vermont Chamber Announces New Board Members

Vermont Chamber Announces New Board Members

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce welcomed three new Directors to the Board: Chris Karr of The Karr Restaurant Group, Killington, Steve Gagner of 14th Star Brewing, St. Albans, and Steve Boyer of Sonnax, Bellows Falls.

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is dedicated to economic progress and the Vermont business community. Their collective expertise ensures that the work of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce is rooted in the diverse perspectives of those with lived business experience.

The Chair of the Vermont Chamber Board Peter McDougall, President of Paul, Frank + Collins P.C., said, “As a state-wide Chamber of Commerce, it is important that the Vermont Chamber’s leadership is made up of individuals who reflect our membership-at-large and the diversity of businesses and business leaders throughout Vermont. It is wonderful to add three outstanding Vermont business leaders from different parts of the state to the Vermont Chamber Board of Directors.”

The Vermont Chamber’s current Board of Directors consists of 40% women, 55% men, 5% gender nonbinary or gender nonconforming individuals, 15% BIPOC individuals, 20% immigrant, refugee, asylee, and/or foreign-born citizens, and 10% LGBTQIA+ individuals. Board members work in varied industries across 7 of Vermont’s 14 counties.

Chair of the Vermont Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force Willie Docto, Co-Owner of Moose Meadow Lodge, said, “The DEI Task Force has worked to ensure that the recruitment of new Board Members is an inclusive process. We continue to increase diversity in the Board to represent a wide cross-section of business leaders from throughout Vermont.”

Vermont Chamber of Commerce President Betsy Bishop said, “At the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, our work to strengthen the Vermont economy depends on a diverse set of voices.  We are grateful that our Board of Directors is invested in ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as we are motivated to ensure all Vermont businesses are represented by our organization’s leadership.”