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MIDDLEBURY, VT—Vermont Speaker of the House, Shap Smith recently appointed Bill Roper, President and CEO of the Orton Family Foundation, to Vermont’s Housing and Conservation Board. Roper fills John Ewing’s seat and joins Middlebury resident Ken Perine, as well as the Secretaries of Agriculture, Human Services and Natural Resources. Roper follows in the footsteps of other Addison County residents, including Charlie Kireker and Deb Brighton.
The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board is an independent, state-supported funding agency providing grants, loans and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, municipalities and state agencies for the development of perpetually affordable housing and for the conservation of important agricultural land, recreational land, natural areas and historic properties in the state.
Following five years on Smart Growth Vermont’s (SGV) board and the merger of SGV into the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC), Roper was elected to join VNRC’s board at its September annual meeting. He previously sat on VNRC’s board in the 1990s, including as Chair from 1993-1995. For more than four decades, VNRC has worked with thousands of Vermonters to help restore and protect the state’s waters and strengthen its communities.
An employee of the Orton Family Foundation since 1998, Roper has led the Foundation since 2006, originating its groundbreaking five-year, $10 million Heart & Soul Community Planning initiative. Located in Middlebury and with offices in Denver, CO, the Foundation seeks to help small cities and towns discover and describe their heart and soul—the collective attributes that make communities unique—and build on those attributes in planning toward a vibrant, enduring future.