History

Lyman OrtonWith an entrepreneurial spirit and funding derived from the profits of The Vermont Country Store, Lyman Orton and Noel Fritzinger established the Orton Family Foundation in 1995 as a resource for small cities and towns grappling with change and searching for solutions.

An active resident of Weston, Vermont and a proud seventh generation Vermonter, Lyman saw that many communities around the state were unprepared for growth and lacking the information and tools needed to steer the change toward a vibrant, sustainable future.

The Foundation began by developing a GIS-based 3D visualization and decision-support tool, CommunityViz®, which has helped hundreds of communities across the US imagine new possibilities for growth and change.

The Foundation now emphasizes the Community Heart & Soul® process,  a planning methodology that uses broad citizen engagement to build economically resilient and socially vibrant communities based on towns’ unique local character.