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Middlebury, VT — The Orton Family Foundation announced today four key appointments that will position the Foundation to move forward with its ground-breaking “heart and soul” approach to helping establish livable, sustainable communities.
John Barstow was named Communications Director and Betsy Rosenbluth was appointed Northeast Director of Projects. Barstow and Rosenbluth will work at the Foundation’s new headquarters in Middlebury, VT. “With Betsy and John’s deep knowledge and varied experiences, the Foundation will even more effectively assist communities in defining their futures,” said the Foundation’s CEO, Bill Roper.
In addition, The Foundation’s Board of Trustees welcomed two new members: Mary Hooper, second-term mayor of Montpelier, VT, and Sarah Michael, third-term County Commissioner in Blaine County, ID. “Mary and Sarah’s years of hands-on experience in community development and engaging a diversity of citizens around shared and sometimes conflicting values helps ensure our work is realistic and relevant,” said Lyman Orton, the Foundation’s board chair.
Betsy Rosenbluth has twenty years of community development experience, including resource development, citizen engagement, capacity building, and project management. She has most recently worked as a private consultant implementing Burlington’s Sustainable City Initiative - a multi-stakeholder community planning effort in Vermont’s largest city. Betsy has been a partner in numerous education initiatives involving sustainability, working to establish an international “environmental learning cities” exchange and helping to draft and pass Vermont’s first Farm to School bill. Prior to that, Betsy worked for over ten years in the Burlington Community Economic Development Office on waterfront development. She co-directed the creation of The Echo Center, which transformed a Navy Reserve Training Center into a lake science center and aquarium.
John Barstow brings thirty years of experience in the publishing world to the Foundation. He began his career as a reporter for a small town daily newspaper. Over the following twelve years he worked for several national magazines, including Blair & Ketchum’s Country Journal, Horticulture, and Harrowsmith Country Life, where he was editor. He then turned to book publishing, acquiring and editing nonfiction works at the Atlantic Monthly Press and at W. W. Norton & Co., both in New York City. Most recently John was editor in chief of Chelsea Green Publishing, an independent press committed to publishing books on the politics and practice of sustainable living. He is chair of his town’s Planning Commission and serves on the Economic Development Initiative committee.
Mary Hooper’s work as Montpelier’s mayor has focused on maintaining the balance of a great quality of life associated with a pedestrian friendly downtown, thriving businesses, intact residential neighborhoods surrounded by parks and open space. Prior to her election Mary led a citizen initiative that resulted in the creation of the Montpelier Downtown Community Association, which works to enhance the vitality of the community’s downtown. Other work has included service as the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry and as the executive director of the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Washington County Hunger Council, Vice President of the Vermont College of the Fine Arts, and is a member of the Montpelier Energy Team.
Sarah Michael is seasoned in the politics and mechanics of local land use planning. Under Sarah’s leadership, Blaine County, ID, home to the Sun Valley Ski Resort, imposed a development moratorium in order to consider how to better manage growth in this mountain resort community. In partnership with the Orton Family Foundation and local groups, the county undertook an extensive public visioning process on what Blaine County should look like in 2025. Sarah brings to the Orton Family Foundation a broad public policy background and experience in private and non-profit advocacy. She began her career in public policy in California as a consultant to the state legislature’s transportation committee and was then hired by the California Energy Commission to oversee conservation and alternative energy programs, before moving back to Idaho in 1992.
The Orton Family Foundation seeks to help small cities and towns identify and articulate their heart and soul—the collective attributes that make communities unique—and build on these attributes in planning toward desired futures. The Foundation serves cities and towns under 50,000 in population in the Northeast and Rocky Mountain regions, and has an office in Denver, Colorado. Lyman Orton, owner of the Vermont Country Store, created the Foundation in 1995.
For more information contact:
John Barstow, Director of Communications
The Orton Family Foundation
802/388-8612, ext. 202