After Yankee: Do Non-Profits Have a Plan?

After Yankee: Do Non-Profits Have a Plan?

With the closure of Entergy Vermont Yankee comes a surprising side effect; non-profits will eventually lose much-needed donations.

For some non-profits, the recession really hurt them.

Some still haven't bounced back.

For dozens located in southern Vermont, it could eventually get even worse.

The decision was made far from the Green Mountain State.

On August 27th, Entergy corporate announced Vermont's sole nuclear power plant would close at the end of 2014, despite the fact that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted a re-licensing for the plant in March 2011.

"No one expected this," Plant Spokesman Rob Williams said.

With about 600 employees right now, Williams says that number will be "greatly reduced" while work at the facility winds down during decommissioning.

For a region that includes Vernon, Brattleboro, and beyond, there will be a big loss in a different way.

Entergy Vermont Yankee gives about $500,000 in grants and sponsorships every year.

The list of recipients is a long one, about 80 groups, businesses and charities last year alone.

Lucie Fortier knows VY and its employees well.

Fortier runs the Brattleboro Area Drop-in, the state's second largest food shelf. Vermont Yankee employees recently helped re-furbish the food shelf and homeless shelter. But that's not all.

"Basically VY's donation has been a line item in our budget," Fortier said. She says Entergy Vermont Yankee gives them around $30,000 a year.

"I think when we look at our budget in the next few months for 2014, 2015, we are really going to probably say let's look at it without $30,000 dollars," Fortier said.

But Rob Williams says the money won't disappear all at once.

"It may not be at the level of this year and last year but certainly we're going to continue to be here in Vernon and continue to support organizations," Williams said.

Vermont Yankee has also made upgrades to the Harris Hill Ski Jump in Brattleboro, Vermont's only 90-meter ski jump.

It hosts International Ski Federation sanctioned events.

Brattleboro Senior Meals has also received money. The Executive Director says the amount has decreased over the years, she estimates it was around $750 dollars in 2013.

But about 5 years ago, VY's donation was closer to $1500. Leaders declined to talk to me on camera.

"We realize it's a difficult road ahead," Williams said.

Perhaps the biggest impact of Vermont Yankee's closure will affect the United Way of Windham County.

"Receiving money from Entergy allowed us to do a lot of work in this community," Executive Director Carmen Derby said.

Last year, VY employees contributed close to $80,000 dollars.

"That's a lot of money to make-up," Derby said. This year, she's expecting around $52,000.

But because that gift comes from employee payroll deductions, next year's amount is anyone's guess.

Derby, like Fortier still doesn't have a specific plan in place just yet.

"We do have a reserve fund that we have had in place in case we have had a shift in income for any reason," Derby said.

"We don't have a whole lot of new industry to replace the money we're getting from VY, so yes, everybody is going to be after that same dollar," Fortier said.

She says 100 clients use the food shelf on a given day, and she's already working with bare bones staff.

"I've cut our food shelf from 5 days a week to 3 days a week, if we have to, we'll have to cut food shelf another day," Fortier said.

Fortier says she will file a grant application to Vermont Yankee this year.

"We're going to do our best to make sure that transition is smooth," Williams said.

She also has a grant writer exploring other options; both she and Derby will wait and see, making do with what they can, for now.

"I think Windham Co. has a lot of work to do and I'm hoping that the right people are in place to get that done," Derby said.

For the short term, both the United Way and Brattleboro Area Drop-In will rely even more on their volunteers.

We should re-iterate, Entergy Vermont Yankee says as long as it's doing business in the decommissioning process, the non-profits can expect some support.

For a full list of Entergy Vermont Yankee's 2013 recipients, go to page 2.

Entergy Micro and Open Grants to:

Hilltop Montessori

Town of Northfield, MA

Strolling of the Heifers

Guilford Volunteer Fire Department

Brattleboro Youth Services

Springfield Family Center (VT)

Vermont Principals Association

By the People Brattleboro Goes Fourth

Brattleboro Senior Meals

Winston L. Prouty Center

Windham County Sherrifs Department

Brattleboro Union High School

Town of Vernon, VT

Green Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America

Brattleboro Museum and Art Center

Parks Place Community Resource Center

Deerfield Valley Food Pantry

Brattleboro Walk In Clinic

Colonial Theatre, Keene, NH

Girls on the Run of Vermont

Brattleboro Area Drop In Center

Windham County Heat Fund

Home Healthcare Hospice and Community Services

Brattleboro School Endowment

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital

Last Night Brattleboro

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western New Hampshire

Brattleboro Small Fry Baseball

Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro

STEM afterschool programs for Brattleboro Area Middle School

Green Street School

Windham County Humane Society

Employee Volunteer Efforts:

Vernon Elementary School Mentoring Program

VY Charity Golf Tournament

Giving Tree (Christmas) w/Photo

Blood Drive

Harris Hill Ski Jump

Project Feed the Thousands - picture

Our Place Drop In Center, Bellows Falls, VT

Bowl for Kid’s Sake

Morningside Shelter

Habitat for Humanity House

Sponsorships:

Frontier Regional High School Robotics Club

Timberlane Regional High School

Keene Hospice

Brattleboro Winter Carnival

Harris Hill Ski Jump

Townshend Volunteer Fire Department

Brattleboro Hockey Education Trust

VT Science and Math Fair

Leland and Gray High School

Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary

Brattleboro Town School District

Brattleboro Area Affordable Housing

Franklin Volunteer Fire Department

Greenfield Girls Softball League

Grace Cottage Hospital Auxiliary

Vermont Esteem Network

Friends of Chesterfield School

Ducks Unlimited

Susan T. Sciuto Memorial Scholarship Fund

VY Achievement Awards

Academy School, Brattleboro VT

Terril Allen Watson Memorial Scholarship Fund

Brattleboro Development Credit Corp

VY Charitable Golf Tournament

Vernon Annual Picnic

Keene Swamp Bats

Brattleboro Dance Festival

Brattleboro Women’s Invitational Golf Tournament

Make a Wish Foundation of Vermont

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Gala Sponsor

BMH Touch a Truck, event sponsor

Friends of Music at Guilford

Chesterfield Lions Club

Home for the Holidays Craft Fair, Vernon VT

Scholarships:

13 college bound seniors from five high school/three states received $500 toward their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) higher education.

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