Interview with a Nonprofit Winner: GMALL | Jobs In DE

Interview with a Nonprofit Winner: GMALL

By: Margaret Hansen

Nan Bambara was the first quarter job seeker winner of JobsInVT.com's Live Work Give contest, where Vermont job seekers and employers are randomly selected every quarter to choose their favorite Vermont nonprofit charity, who will, in turn, receive a $500 donation from JobsInVT.com.

Nan has chosen Green Mountain Academy of Lifelong Learning (GMALL) as the recipient for a $500 donation from JobsInVT.com. Congratulations to Nan and GMALL. I recently caught up with GMALL's Executive Director Gloria Palmer for an interview about her organization and what it brings to the community.

"I am thrilled to pick GMALL to receive a $500 donation from JobsInVT's Live Work Give 10 year anniversary campaign. GMALL is one of our community resources that allows us to never stop learning. Their program offerings are interesting, intellectual and varied - and best of all, available to everyone."

- Nan Bambara

What is your organization's mission?

Gloria Palmer, GMALL: Our mission is to enrich the intellectual and cultural life of the community by providing accessible, diversified and high-quality educational programs to the public.

Do you have any upcoming events that you are particularly excited about?

GP: We have a great summer season coming up. There are about 35 lectures or courses, three of which are tied to the community event called "Hills Alive!" This is a month-long festival centered on the performing arts and several of the arts organizations, including Green Mountain Academy, are participating. We are also involved in an event called TEDx Manchester Village with 10 speakers giving brief talks on "The Future of Creativity."

Are your classes and lectures held in various locations or a set few?

GP: Our programs are held at various locations. Without a building of our own, we use space at the local schools, libraries, churches and homes.

Do you repeat classes over time or are they always new with each season?

GP: Generally each season offers new programs, however, we repeat the very popular discussion group called "Today's Headlines." The Pottery Workshops have been popular and well-attended and so we have continued to offer them as well. Every summer we hold the Four-Day Writing/Editing Workshop with Tessa Melvin. Often we invite back instructors who have been exceptional. One of our favorites is Professor Jane Carroll from Dartmouth College. She teaches art history with a focus on Northern European medieval art and she is very engaging with the class.

What do you think people love most about your program?

GP: Well, there's something for everyone. We cover a wide array of topics. Our classes are fun and some have a social component like the Bridge courses or cooking classes. We bring some very interesting speakers, experts in their fields, from colleges such as Williams, Dartmouth, Middlebury and beyond to the community.

How do you measure success?

GP: We survey our participants after a program. And we measure attendance and revenue over the years and look for areas of growth.

How many employees do you have?

GP: There are two of us: myself, as executive director and a part-time assistant.

How long have you been in operation?

GP: We are beginning our 12th year.

Do you have any big fundraisers coming up that you'd like to talk about in detail?

GP: One of our fundraising events this year is a Summer Ball inspired by Downton Abbey. This will take place on Friday, August 2 at the Lincoln family home, Hildene, in Manchester Village. There will be a buffet dinner, music and dancing. People can come dressed in period costume if they like. We are looking forward to this being a well-attended event.

How can people help your organization?

GP: People can donate by mailing a check to Green Mountain Academy at PO Box 1820, Manchester Center VT 05255. They can also donate online through our website, GreenMtnAcademy.org. We have volunteers who serve on committees to help plan events such as the Summer Ball inspired by Downton Abbey. We also encourage people to tell us what kind of programs you'd like to see us offer.

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Margaret Hansen has been writing professionally since receiving a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maine. She has worked for multiple organizations as a weekly newspaper reporter, a weekly newspaper editor, and in a variety of internal/external marketing communications roles. Her freelance career has focused on writing and editing for print, email and web publications in the employment industry, as well as manuscript editing and resume writing.