Finalists named for $50,000 VSECU member-directed giving program

Five Vermont nonprofits selected out of nearly 50 candidates to receive We Care 2 funds

MONTPELIER, VT (January 26, 2021)

VSECU, a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for all Vermonters, has selected the five nonprofits to receive funding through its annual member-directed giving program, We Care 2.

The 2021 We Care 2 program received 48 applications from nonprofits across the state that are making a positive and direct impact on issues of food, shelter, heat, financial education, or the environment, with priority consideration given to programs or organizations specifically focused on COVID-19 relief efforts.

Out of these candidates, the VSECU Giving Committee has selected Clarina Howard Nichols Center, Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services (GBICS), North Central Vermont Recovery Center (NCVRC), ReSOURCE, and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Vermont as this year’s We Care 2 finalists.

These five charitable organizations will be included on the 2021 VSECU Annual Elections ballot for VSECU members to vote in support of their favorite finalist. $50,000 in We Care 2 funds will be distributed based on the percentage of votes received by each nonprofit. Results will be announced at VSECU’s Annual Meeting on March 17.

“We received so many outstanding and deserving applications from organizations making a direct, positive impact on their communities during this time of unprecedented need,” said Simeon Chapin, community impact officer at VSECU. “We are proud to support nonprofits helping Vermonters and to give our member-owners the opportunity to make an impact with their vote.”

“We are so honored to have been selected as a VSECU We Care 2 finalist,” said Becky Gonyea, executive director of the Clarina Howard Nichols Center. “The funds, which will help to support the operation of our emergency shelter, are especially critical during this time of financial uncertainty that has been created by the pandemic. But more important than the funds, is the recognition of the importance of our work with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  Thank you for shining a light on an often-hidden issue in our community and state.”

“We feel truly grateful and honored to have been chosen as a finalist for We Care 2 out of many remarkable organizations doing important work throughout Vermont,” said Daniel Franklin, executive director at NCVRC. “Our selection speaks volumes not just about our organization as a leader in the recovery community and in the effort to help individuals and families affected by substance use, but also about the pivotal moment we are in when tens of thousands of Vermonters are struggling with substance use disorders and face even greater barriers, challenges, and threats to their recovery because of the pandemic.”

“Partnering with VSECU to launch Random Acts of Carpentry would allow us to fill a desperately needed gap,” said Jessica Estabrook, executive director at ReSOURCE. “The need in our community is great; with COVID, the economic stress and isolation, combined with Vermont’s aging infrastructure, leaves many neighbors and fellow community members more vulnerable than ever with a lack of both resources and connections to existing programs to stay safe and comfortable in their homes.”

“Support from VSECU means we can help a refugee family stay in their home, put food on the table, provide medication for a sick adult, or a computer for a child so they can attend school online,” said Amila Merdzanovic, director of USRIC Vermont. “We are thankful for the opportunity the We Care 2 program provides to lift up and celebrate the refugee and immigrant families in our communities that have struggled so much in the face of truly unprecedented adversity.”

To learn more about We Care 2 and the 2021 finalists, visit


VSECU, a division of New England Federal Credit Union, is a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody who lives or works in Vermont, offering a full range of affordable financial products and services to its member-owners. VSECU is committed to improving the lives of Vermonters by empowering possibilities for greater social, environmental, and financial prosperity. For more information about VSECU, call 802/800 371-5162 or visit 


Simeon Chapin, Head of Social Impact


Carrie Stahler, Government & Public Affairs Officer, VT Foodbank / 802-793-4923 

More News