BENNINGTON — The latest donation to the local homeless shelter goes beyond cash.

Last week, VSECU (Vermont State Employees Credit Union) announced that it donated $10,000 to the Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless. The money will be put towards programs the Coalition runs that help people find and keep permanent housing.

"Not only did they give us the $10,000, they are also going to help us with volunteers for upcoming events," said Coalition Executive Director Chris Oldham.

VSECU has a branch office on North Street and hosts the Lightning Jar, a shared office space launched last year that caters to small businesses and lone entrepreneurs. Oldham said he uses the space and thus learned about the VGives program, run by VSECU.

"They have a giving program for organizations that work with food, shelter, and heat," Oldham said, adding that the Coalition works with all three, making it a good fit.

Oldham said that in addition to helping with the Coalition's various fundraising events, VSECU will also provide volunteers who will teach people how to manage home finances and save money. They will also assist people in establishing, or re-establishing, credit.

Oldham said the Coalition is working towards further developing programs that give people the skills to get into permanent homes and remain there.


"In our efforts to empower possibilities for Vermonters, we are committed to areas of essential need, including shelter, food and financial literacy – needs that BCCH works tirelessly to provide," said Rob Miller, CEO of VSECU, in a release. "BCCH's work is so important, particularly in the Bennington community, and we are very happy to support its mission to end homelessness with this donation."

Oldham said the Lightning Jar helped bring this donation about.

"We also owe a debt of gratitude to the co-working, collaborative space known as the Lightning Jar powered by VSECU," he said. "We are very grateful for the relationships made and the benefits of being a member. We strongly believe that the future of the Coalition depends on such collaboration and innovation."

— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115