Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Marks 25th Year

BRATTLEBORO — In 1990, a group of Green Mountain entrepreneurs founded Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility in hopes of supporting employees, communities and the environment, as well as their financial bottom line.
A quarter-century later, the nonprofit organization is marking its 25th anniversary by again expanding its reach to southern regions of the state often mistaken for Massachusetts.

VBSR, based in Burlington with a satellite office in Montpelier, drew more than 100 people to its annual meeting at Brattleboro’s downtown River Garden, where members celebrated past accomplishments and cast an eye toward the future.

“What began as a grassroots movement has grown into one of the largest business groups in Vermont,” said Russ Elek, the nonprofit’s communication and membership manager. “It has always been part of our mission to be a statewide organization, and we feel like Brattleboro and Bennington and other southern areas understand what we are about.”

VBSR, with more than 750 members, employs about 15 percent of the state’s workforce that, in turn, generates more than $4 billion in annual revenue. The organization aims to help businesses support workers, as well as to influence public policy on such issues as sustainable economic and energy development, health care reform, social justice and a strong Vermont brand and quality of life.

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