Monday, November 26, 2012

Friends of VPR Recognized for Philanthropy & Community Support

November is most thought of as a month of thanksgiving.

It was fitting then, that on November 15, hundreds of people gathered to give thanks to the 2012 recipients of the Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year Awards.

The annual awards recognize those in the community who stand up for important causes and serve as generous benefactors to nonprofit organizations in the region and are sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northern New England (AFP-NNE) Conference.

When the call for award nominations went out, members of the VPR staff immediately thought of Bill and Jane Stetson of Norwich, and People’s United Bank, both of whom have made a significant impact in Vermont (and beyond) and are longtime supporters of VPR as well.

On the day of the awards ceremony, more than 200 people assembled at a special luncheon held at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort in Stowe. Those in attendance included individuals who had written letters of support for the Stetsons nomination, Dr. William and Susan Boyle, Toni LaMonica, David and Nancy Grant, as well as Jack Byrne. Also on hand to accept the corporate award and represent People’s United Bank were CEO Michael Seaver, Director of Marketing Kathy Schirling, Marilyn Hardacre, and Jill Jaret-Rossi.

The award winners were also cheered on by VPR staff as well as members of the VPR Board of Directors in attendance including, Marsha Fonteyn, Doug Griswold and his spouse Lori Rowe, and Board Chair Perez Ehrich.

Serving as emcees of the event were Deb and Wayne Granquist, winners of the 2011 Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year Award. Deb recently stepped down from the VPR Board of Directors after a successful tenure, serving as chair of several committees and a chair of the full board. She and Wayne have been generous supporters of VPR for many years.

From l. to r., VPR President & CEO Robin Turnau, Deb Granquist, Bill Stetson,
Wayne Granquist, and Jane Stetson.
As the Stetsons were called to the podium to accept their award, a list of accolades was read about the many causes and organizations they have helped. Both are longtime and staunch supporters of VPR. Bill has been involved with VPR almost since the year of its inception in 1977 and today serves as a member of its Board of Directors. In recognition of their dedication and support, VPR named its Norwich studio in honor of the Stetsons in 2011.

In the early days of VPR, Bill even hosted (albeit briefly) his own show. Bill was always up for whatever challenge came up, including answering phones in VPR’s original studio in Windsor, hosting Switchboard, and appearing as a guest on Peter Fox Smith’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.

From VPR’s first campaign for a new headquarters in Colchester, to offering generous challenges during membership drives, and leading the charge in building an endowment for VPR through its Creating A Sound Future campaign, Bill and Jane’s financial support has been instrumental in making VPR the strong institution that it is today.

From l. to r., Christine Baskett, President of the AFP-NNE, Tere Gade, Chair of the AFP-NNE Awards Committee, Wayne & Deb Grandquist, People's United Bank CEO Mike Seaver.
(Photo courtesy of Steve Mease.)
CEO Mike Seaver came forward to accept the award for People’s United Bank. He spoke highly of the dedicated employees who are involved in the community through volunteer efforts as well as offering financial support to important causes.

A part of the Vermont landscape since1904, People’s United Bank’s philanthropy has had a significant impact on our state. In the past three years alone, they have contributed more than $2,750,000 to Vermont non-profits and approved nearly $50 million in equity investments in Vermont affordable housing projects, representing more than 900 units of housing.

People’s has been a long-time and generous supporter of VPR, providing funding as an underwriter for programming like the global economic news program, Marketplace. Thanks in part to this support VPR is able to deliver on its mission of public service, providing its listeners with a vital connection to their community and the world. In fact, no company provides more support to public media in Vermont than People’s United Bank.

Also recognized at the event for Outstanding Foundation of the Year, was the Stiller Family Foundation. Based in Charlotte, the Foundation was noted for its work to support education and community development through organizations including Champlain College, the King Street Center, Burlington City Arts and Rebuilding Waterbury. The Stillers have also been generous supporters of VPR.

In this season of thanks, VPR wishes to extend its appreciation for the incredible support we receive from the Stetsons and People’s United Bank. We are reminded every day that what we do is only possible because so many in the community believe in our mission, value the service we provide, and support us with their time, talent, and treasure.

Click here for the full details of the event and all of the award winners.

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