SEVCA Golf Tournament Raises Over $11,000 for Anti-Poverty Programs

SEVCA's Sponsors and Participants "Chip Away at Poverty"

It was a rainy start to what turned out to be a beautiful day for a golf tournament. On June 26th, Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) held its 14th Annual “Chipping Away at Poverty” Benefit Golf Tournament at the Brattleboro Country Club. The four Tournament Co-Sponsors were Black River Produce, Mutual of America, Cigna Healthcare, and Mountain View Apartments. Over $11,000 was raised to support SEVCA’s essential anti-poverty programs serving low income individuals and families in Windham and Windsor counties. Check out our Facebook page for highlights of the day.

Weatherization and Crisis Fuel Program vendors, regional businesses, local service providers, and other SEVCA friends and supporters sponsored and/or engaged in friendly competition to raise money for the agency, many returning from previous years. A Hole-In-One Contest sponsored by Brattleboro Ford-Subaru gave participants the chance to win a new Ford Edge and other valuable prizes. One player actually hit the pole a foot above the hole, but unfortunately, the ball didn’t go in. There was also a Putting Contest for a possible $5,000 cash prize. Although no one sank the 80-foot putt for the grand prize this year, Jim Gould won a smaller cash prize for getting closest to the cup. Players enjoyed participating in a 50/50 raffle and a ‘Vegas Hole’ competition in addition to the team and individual golfing competitions.

Tournament winners were: 1st Place Team – Raven Bay Associates; 2nd Place – Mutual of America; 3rd Place – Claypoint Associates; Men’s Closest to the Pin – Chad Illingsworth; Women’s Closest to the Pin: Leslie Hoyt; Women’s Longest Drive – Thalia Holmes; and Men’s Longest Drive – Jake Obar. The winner of the Vegas Hole Contest was Sean Bradley, who donated his winnings to SEVCA, and winner of the 50/50 Raffle was Jessica Leventry, who also donated a portion of her winnings back to SEVCA.

In addition to the co-sponsors listed above, SEVCA wishes to thank the following businesses, organizations and individuals for their sponsorships and other support: ‘Double Eagle’ Level Sponsor –Kinney-Pike Insurance; Putting Contest Sponsor: Mountain View Apartments; Golfer Gift Bag Sponsor: Mutual of America; Hole-in-One Sponsor – Brattleboro Ford-Subaru; Breakfast and Luncheon Sponsor—IPG Employee Benefits Specialists; Hole Sponsors– Allen Brothers Oil, Burtco, Inc., Clark’s Quality Foods, Durand Toyota Ford, GreenFiber, G.S. Precision Inc., Harriman’s Heating, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts P.A., Northeast Delta Dental, Simon Operation Services, and WW Building Supply; General Supporters –Don’s Heating LLC, Magee Office Products, Sam Streeter LLC, Westminster Auto Service, Farnum Insulators, PayData, Hugh Haggerty, Eugene Guy. In-Kind Contributors –Bellows Falls Country Club, Brattleboro Country Club, Hooper Golf Club, Pine Grove Springs Country Club, Tater Hill Golf Club, Cannon Solutions America, Putney Food Co-op, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, P.A., Sunset Tool Inc., Vermont Country Deli, United Natural Foods, Walmart. Special thanks go to Brattleboro Country Club and their staff for their assistance and generosity in hosting our tournament this year.

Calling all golfers! You won't want to miss this year's tournament on June 26!



BRATTLEBORO – On June 26th, Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) will hold its 14th Annual “Chipping Away at Poverty” Benefit Golf Tournament at the Brattleboro Country Club. Individual golfers and foursomes are invited to participate. Players will have the opportunity to win the Hole-in-One Grand Prize of a new Subaru, generously sponsored by Brattleboro Subaru. There is also a $5,000 cash prize for the winner of the Putting Contest, along with a variety of other valuable prizes.

            All proceeds will support SEVCA’s anti-poverty efforts in Southeastern Vermont. Last year, the tournament’s sponsors and golfers helped SEVCA make a tremendous difference in people’s lives by raising over $8,000 to assist struggling families & individuals throughout Windham & Windsor Counties during one of the organization’s busiest and most challenging years. SEVCA served over 13,150 individuals impacted by emergencies, financial hardships, unemployment, and other crises over the past year.

            The cost for participating in the tournament is $125 per golfer or $450 for a foursome. Anyone interested in registering or obtaining more information should click on the link below or contact Linda Brooks (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or (802) 722-4575 ext. 105). Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in helping to sponsor the event are also asked to contact Linda as soon as possible. Click here for Golfer Registration Info. Click here for Sponsorship Opportunities.

Get "Ready for Work" This Spring

Training Programs for Job Seekers in Brattleboro and Springfield

“Ready for Work,” a new program held at Community College of Vermont (CCV) in Brattleboro this past fall, is now being offered in both Brattleboro and Springfield, thus expanding access to training and support for unemployed, disadvantaged workers in Windsor County.

“Ready for Work” consists of a free, 8-week employment readiness course along with intensive, one-on-one support to help participants solidify skills such as resume writing and interviewing, overcome employment barriers, search for and apply to jobs, and transition successfully into the workforce. Classes begin March 18 at CCV’s location in the Howard Dean Center in Springfield, and March 19 at their location in the Brooks House in Brattleboro.

The program was developed through a partnership involving CCV, Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA), and the Windham Workforce Investment Board (WWIB) with funding from a Regional Workforce Partnership Grant from the Vermont Department of Labor. A grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to CCV also supports the program. “Ready for Work” was successfully piloted with 16 participants this past fall.

The course focuses on the core skills most requested by Vermont businesses, and upon completion, participants will be eligible to receive the Governor’s Career Ready Certificate and the National Career Readiness Certificate – both of which are recognized by many Vermont employers as indicators of proficiency and workforce readiness.

“The combination of classroom learning and individual support the program offers enables participants to obtain the core workplace skills and self-assurance they need to get and keep good jobs,” SEVCA’s Executive Director Steve Geller said. “The partnership between CCV, SEVCA and the WWIB is just what’s needed to support not only workers, but employers as well, who are always looking for reliable, job-ready employees.”

Enrollment for the program is now open, and space is limited. Interested applicants can CLICK HERE to fill out an online application. For more information about the Brattleboro program contact Karen Clark, 802-254-6389, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For information about the Springfield program, contact Debra Grant, 802-885-8360, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or contact Denise Mason at SEVCA, 800-464-9951, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rent-to-Own Centers Face Legislative Regulation to Protect Consumers

In the News….

Imagine paying an interest rate of 300% or higher on your bed, kitchen table, or TV. Sounds far-fetched, but that is exactly the kind of deal on offer at Rent-to-Own businesses. Due to a loophole in current law, their customers pay a huge premium on large ticket items that might not even be new, as many of the items rented have been repossessed from previous customers. Consumers aren’t shown the actual ultimate cost of the rent-to-own deal they are agreeing to, and fall prey to deceptive marketing practices. Most rent-to-own clientele are people with lower incomes—an estimated 72% of them earn less than $36,000/year. These consumers often don’t have the money to purchase products outright, and may not have good credit, so they have little option but to turn to rent-to-own dealers. And because of the high installment payments and quick repossessions if they fall behind, only about 25% of these customers ever end up actually owning the items they paid such an outrageously high price for.

SEVCA’s staff have seen the impact of rent-to-own deals on countless clients over the years. High installment payments are often a factor in creating a financial crisis for the household that impacts their ability to meet their basic food, housing, and fuel expenses. So SEVCA has joined with other advocates in support of bi-partisan legislation recently introduced in the state Senate to crack down on the industry’s deceptive and exploitative practices. The legislation would limit the effective interest rate charged on these installment purchases and require certain disclosures and consumer protections that it is hoped would make the industry operate on a much fairer, above-board basis. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, of which SEVCA is a member, is just one of the many organizations that have endorsed the legislation. (Click HERE to read their statement.)

See the following news article for more information, or call Family Services Director Pat Burke at (802) 722-4575 with questions.

Posted March, 2015

State Moves to Make Substantial Cuts to Fuel Assistance

Call to Action…

Facing a looming budget deficit of up to $130 million in FY2016, Governor Shumlin has proposed some major cuts to key human services programs. Sadly, one of the programs facing these cuts is one of those most essential to the safety and well-being of tens of thousands of Vermont residents with lower incomes—Fuel Assistance. Current proposals will slice $6 million off of LIHEAP assistance in 2016, but further cuts are slated to start even sooner, affecting fuel assistance recipients almost immediately.  A 4.7% cut to Seasonal and Crisis Fuel Assistance is expected for this year, and another 28.5% cut would go through next year.

SEVCA and other advocates estimate that cuts of this magnitude could mean a reduction in the amount of Seasonal Fuel Assistance provided—from an average household benefit of $783 to only $545; and about 350 fewer eligible Windham and Windsor county residents might go without critically-needed Crisis Fuel Assistance and thus without heat.

A recent report by Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment documents the huge energy burdens that lower income households endure. One in every five Vermont households is considered “fuel poor,” meaning they pay over 10% of their income on energy. The lowest income households (who make $14,000/year and under) pay an average of 27.7% of their income on fuel. Between 2000 and 2012, lower income households saw a 37.4% increase in fuel costs, as well as an increase in their overall energy burden. The result? Between 1999 and 2011, Vermont averaged 172 excess winter mortalities per year. In the words of the report authors, “…excess winter deaths, caused largely by fuel poverty, kill more Vermonters each year than car crashes.”

SEVCA urges anyone concerned about the proposed reduction in fuel assistance to call their state legislator and tell them to restore the Fuel Assistance budget to current levels because:

  • It is unacceptable to put lower income households at risk of going without heat. The fuel cost burden for many low income households is unmanageable, even with fuel assistance. The danger of people suffering health complications from the cold is a real one, and cuts to Fuel Assistance will make this increasingly likely.
  • Energy prices cannot be counted on to remain as low as they are currently and, as we’ve seen this year, winter temperatures are also unpredictable, which means that the proposed cuts could severely affect many more people than expected next winter.

You can find your state legislators at the following website:

Or, call the Vermont State House at (802) 828-2229.

Posted: March 2015

“Unless the investment in children is made, all of humanity’s most fundamental long-term problems will remain fundamental long-term problems.”

UNICEF "The State of the Children" (1995)