The Orton Family Foundation is honored to work in the North Fork Valley over the next two years on the Heart & Soul project to learn what matters most to you, the region's residents, about the future of your valley. I'd like to clarify the foundation's roots and purpose, particularly in reference to Benjamin Hogan's recent letter to the editor.
An independent not-for-profit organization, the Orton Family Foundation is funded entirely by Lyman Orton, proprietor of the Vermont Country Store, a family-owned mail order retailer based in Vermont. Lyman, a seventh generation Vermonter, is proud of his rural heritage and believes in the importance of individual responsibility and accountability. Through the foundation, Lyman has used profits from the Vermont Country Store to help small cities and towns keep their unique character in the face of change. He believes that the people who live and work in a town — not self-appointed or outside experts — hold the answers to its challenges and its most successful future. The foundation's role in the towns where we work is limited to advising on and helping bring about a successful public engagement process that results in broad local input — on a community driven vision for the future. Local partners and volunteers, including the chambers of commerce of Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford and Delta County Economic Development, Inc. drive the North Fork Valley Heart & Soul project. In other words, folks who live and work in the valley hold the reins. The foundation's staff and monetary resources are offered to assist those partners find ways to hear from all residents about their concerns and dreams for the valley so that together they can build toward a future they think is worthy of their children and grandchildren. More information about the foundation can be found at www.orton.org.
John Barstow Director of
Communications Orton Family
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