Vermonter of the Month: Luke Stafford

This is a monthly series in which the Attorney General will feature a Vermonter doing exemplary work in their community. Have someone you think should be featured? Email

Luke Stafford owns Mondo Mediaworks, Inc., a digital marketing agency specializing in content development for the web. He earned a BA in Journalism at Saint Michael’s College. After landing in Brattleboro with his wife, an artist, he worked in the marketing department at Mount Snow until 2009. He then founded Mondo, and in the eight years since it has grown into a 17-person shop. The company’s Values Statement is to build its surrounding community through economic development. It is proudly a certified B Corporation (“B-Corp”), which are for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Luke also sits on the board of Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS).

How did you learn about becoming a B-corp, and why was it a fit for Mondo?

I’d been hearing about B-Corps for years, mainly from exposure to certified Vermont brands like King Arthur and Ben and Jerry’s. Because they are such large, product-based companies, I never thought seriously about our small marketing agency being eligible. One day I was explaining Mondo’s mission and values to our accountant, who operates an impact-driven business herself, and she recommended I speak to a local person who is knowledgeable on the certification process. Around the same time, a few of Mondo’s employees were learning about B-Corps. All of a sudden, it seemed doable.

Joining the B Corp movement is a fit for Mondo because, like a lot of companies, we’re run by people. And most people — or, I could argue, all people —  want to contribute  to something bigger than monetary profit in their jobs.

What prompted you to make economic growth in Brattleboro and Vermont as a whole part of Mondo’s mission?

Since I started Mondo in 2010, there was a broad values statement to “give back to the community.” We donated to local organizations and supported local events, but it didn’t go much further than that. Then, in 2015, I got my first glimpse at the data coming out of the Vermont Futures Project, which clearly projected that the Vermont economy would be in big trouble if we didn’t solve some serious problems around workforce and population. I resolved that I couldn’t sit idly by and let the projections become reality.

What impact have you had, with Mondo and independently, on your community?

Last year we paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries to Mondolians who live, shop and play in the Brattleboro area. Most of those jobs didn’t exist a few years earlier. Of course, we can’t attribute a thriving Main St. or a restaurant opening solely to new Mondo jobs, but it feels great to see new Mondolians investing in the community, whether it’s buying a house or just going to the movies in Brattleboro’s historic theatre. As for myself, I have the privilege of sitting on the boards of my local elementary school and Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies, where I advocate for programs and policies that make Vermont the best place to live for young families.

What inspires your work, both at Mondo and in the community?

You’re going to start thinking that I’m an overly obsessed fanboy, but really, it’s Vermont. Not just the lifestyle, but the landscape, the people, the… everything. I knew I was going to be a Vermonter immediately after my first snowboarding trip to Stratton when I was 14, and I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else. Specifically, my inspiration comes from my weekend hobbies: snowboarding, logging and processing firewood from our property, maple syrup making. Lately, my best ideas are surfacing during  pop-up camper trips with my family to Vermont State Parks. The four of us are working to join the “251 Club,” whereby we visit all 251 towns in the state. We’re only about 10% of the way through, but it’s been a great way to explore the state and make memories with our 2 daughters. Check with me in 10 years to see if we’ve hit all 251.

What have you learned from this community work?

Democracy is alive and well in Vermont. I was blown away when I attended my first Town Meeting Day. It’s a very beautiful thing that everyone in this state truly has a voice. But it’s also the frustrating thing, right? Because for everyone who wants to see change, there is someone who likes things the way they are, thank you very much. When I moved to Brattleboro 13 years ago, I got involved with a committee to build a skatepark in town, thinking we’d be able to accomplish the goal within a few years. But some townspeople did not want a skatepark in the downtown area. Their voices were heard loud and clear, which I very much respect. But it means that getting things done can take a long time. In the end, though, I trust the process.

What advice do you have for others looking to impact their community?

I understand that big time commitments to boards or volunteerism is not always possible. But I would argue that little gestures, added up, have a much bigger impact. Picking up a piece of litter on the street makes for a cleaner downtown. And that clean, inviting sidewalk may be the small detail that reminds residents, “Hey, this really is a great town. I love it here.” That person will speak highly of the town to others, and the message continues to spread. Our everyday actions, and how we choose to speak about our communities, have huge consequences.

What advice do you have for businesses considering a B-corp certification?

First, it’s not easy to be certified. At least it wasn’t for us as a young company. But it spurred us to make a lot of “grown up company” decisions about our policies and standards. It took us about 9 months and we hired a consultant/project manager to get everything we needed in place. Today, we have an employee who maintains our B-Corp status as part of her job, which involves everything from monitoring our electricity usage to organizing our volunteer days. But it’s 100% worth it. Some of our best job applicants come through the B-Corp job board, and it’s a helpful distinction during the recruiting process. We regularly attend B-Corp-sponsored events, where we’ve met other B-Corps and shared ideas about sustainable ways to grow our companies. But the biggest piece of advice I could give is that your values at the company come first; if it aligns with B-Corp requirements, awesome. But stay true to your values, always.

Avoid Scams & Identity Theft this Tax Season

April showers bring May flowers…and tax season.

Tax season is stressful enough without being worried about getting scammed. Yet threatening scammers pretending to be from the IRS make up almost half of the 5,000+ scam call reports that the Consumer Assistance Program received last year!

Attorney General T.J. Donovan and Tax Comissioner Kaj Samsom recently held a joint event to warn consumers and raise awareness about tax and identity theft scams. They informed the public that the IRS will never call you directly if you owe money.

Many Vermonters are also concerned about tax identity theft.

The first way to prevent this type of theft is to protect your Social Security number. Never give out sensitive personal information to an unknown entity. Make sure your passwords are secure and not easily guessed. If your Social Security number has been stolen, file your tax returns early so that no one else with stolen information has time to file a return on your behalf.

You can also register to monitor your information, so you know if there’s an issue such as a fraudulent tax return.  You can visit:

If a fraudulent tax return is indeed filed—your return is rejected because it is a duplicate file, or you are instructed to do so—complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. The IRS requests that you fill out this form online then mail it according to instructions.

You may also contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit of the IRS at 1-800-908-4490. The Attorney General’s office urges Vermonters to:

  • Beware of unsolicited calls or emails
  • Don’t give out personal information
  • Be alert to scare tactics: Scammers demand immediate action or threaten arrest or court action. Don’t talk to them: hang up!
  • Don’t open attachments: hit delete!

Vermonter of the Month: Bonnie Evans

This is a monthly series in which the Attorney General will feature a Vermonter doing exemplary work in their community. Have someone you think should be featured? Email

Bonnie Evans, a native of St. Albans, has been quietly but tirelessly supporting her community in ways big and small. We are thrilled to honor her as Vermonter of the Month, and her friends and neighbors were eager to express their support. CAP spoke with several folks in Franklin County that described Bonnie as thoughtful and reliable, who warms the area – literally and figuratively – with her beautiful quilts!

Bonnie was born and raised in St. Albans. She has lived in Swanton since she and her husband Mike, her high school sweetheart, built a house there 40 years ago. They have two terrific daughters and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Bonnie graduated from college in New York with an Associates degree in dental hygiene. Before she retired six years ago, she worked at the same dental practice for nearly 43 years, taking care of three generations of Vermonters.

Bonnie primarily supports her community through quilting! She volunteers at Northwestern Medical Center (NMC), donates quilts to myriad local organizations, and is part of the Franklin County Quilters Guild. Read more about Bonnie below.

Which community effort makes you the proudest?

My biggest contribution personally and the one I am most proud of is the work I do making about 100 quilts per year for the Northwestern Medical Center (NMC). I make quilts for Palliative Care patients and their families, Breast Cancer Comfort Quilts for patients undergoing surgery, as well as quilts to be given out to little ones coming through the Emergency Department.  You would only need to read a few of the thank you notes I get that would melt your heart…at least it sure does mine.

How did you get started with this effort?

It was ten years ago that I was approached by one of the nurses whose family member had won one of the quilts I had donated to a local charity raffle; and she asked if I had any interest in making quilts for the hospital. It blossomed from about 12 quilts the first year to 101 last year.  The Palliative Care/Comfort Care program at NMC is phenomenal and I only play a small part with the quilts that the patients and their families receive. I am only a small part of the great things in this community and our hospital.

What other members of the community do you support with your quilts?

Several years ago I got a group of friends together, and we made Veterans Quilts for the local Veterans, and even sent some to the White River Junction VA Hospital.  My husband is a Vietnam Veteran.  I most recently made a quilt that my husband and I presented in a ceremony honoring William Busier from Essex, a WWII POW who just turned 100 years old.  It has been my goal to get as many quilts to those veterans as I can.

I have over the years made quilts for the Fletcher Allen Children’s Clinic (now UVM), the Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish Foundation, our local veterinarian’s “Needy Pet Fund,” Chester’s Promise Horse Rescue, local schools for playground equipment, and just last week made a quilt for the St. Albans Rotary Expo fundraiser.

We heard a rumor that you do additional volunteer work!

Right now I volunteer at the Northwestern Medical Center one day a week, helping patients navigate our new wonderful surroundings.  I am also the Hospitality Chair for the Hospital Auxiliary and coordinate our meetings throughout the year.

I have also been actively involved with the Franklin County Quilters Guild (a local non-profit) for 20 years. I think I was president 4 times and have held every office!! Our guild supports many local charities throughout the year and I am involved in pretty much all facets of that. As a group we provide quilts to Home Health, Laurie’s House, local disaster victims (to mention a few) and support our local food shelves. Quilters are a very generous group of people.

What advice do you have for others looking to impact their community?

I think if you don’t get involved in something in your community, you never know what you can achieve. I get such satisfaction from volunteering and making and donating these quilts, I can’t imagine not doing it. I often wonder how I had time to work!

Credit reports and debt collection – What are your rights?

From jobs and housing, to loans and utilities, taking control of your credit is more important than ever. And, with the looming threat of identity theft, knowing how to monitor your credit is essential to protecting yourself from fraud. For National Consumer Protection Week, here is some information on your credit and collection rights under Vermont law, as well as tips and resources for monitoring your credit.

Know Your Credit File

Knowing what is in your credit report is important, not only for getting a loan, but also for protecting yourself from fraud. Identity thieves can use your personal information to take out credit cards and loans they will never pay back, and ruin your credit. You can monitor your credit a number of ways. Some of them are free, some carry costs. It’s up to you to determine the best choice for you. Here are some options:

  • Free annual credit reports – As a Vermont consumer, you are entitled to TWO free credit reports from EACH of the credit bureaus every year. You can get these online, or write to the credit bureau to request your report. If you have been denied credit, you are entitled to a free credit report as well.
  • Credit monitoring services – These services are generally NOT free, unless offered as a result of a data breach. When choosing a service, look for features that work for you, and research user reviews and ratings.
  • Credit cards and banks – Some credit cards and banks offer credit monitoring as part of their services for your account. Searching for a new card or bank? Ask them if they offer this service, and at what (if any) cost.

Collections? Know your rights!

You have the right to be treated fairly by debt collectors. Under federal or state law, generally a debt collector CANNOT:

  • Threaten you with harm or legal action they cannot actually pursue
  • Call you in a harassing manner, or after 9pm at night
  • Call you at work if you have asked them not to
  • Tell other people about your debt (other than a spouse)

You have other rights as well. If you have having difficulty with a debt collector, we can help! Contact us at 800-649-2424 or file a complaint online.

Sales calls, charity calls and scams

The phone rings, you pick it up and the caller launches into a well-rehearsed pitch. How do you know if this call is worth hanging on for? What happens if you agree to something over the phone and later change your mind? Under Vermont law, you have options!

Phone calls

The Sales Pitch: First, you have a right not to receive sales calls if you don’t want them. You can register your number with the National Do Not Call Registry to block future sales calls. This doesn’t prevent charity calls, surveys or scams, but it does prohibit other sales calls. Already registered? You only need to do it once, so if you are still getting actual sales calls, hang up and report the calls.

Did you agree to purchase something over the phone? For telephone and home solicitations in Vermont, consumers generally have the right to cancel for a full refund within three business days. If you need help with a phone or in-home sale, contact us!

The Charity Call: Many charities hire paid fundraising companies to help them solicit donations. In Vermont, any charity using a paid fundraiser must register with our office, and report how much of the donations received go to the fundraiser. You can find this information on our website under “Charities”, or give us a call at 800-649-2424.

Watch Out for Scams!: Phone scams affect thousands of Vermonters each year, and some victims lose a lot of money. Scammers are good at what they do, and target everyone. If you get a call and someone asks you to verify personal information, give a credit, debit card number or banking information over the phone, or wants you to wire money or send a gift card, it’s likely a scam! Hang up, and contact us before you give out any information or send money.

If you have questions about a phone call, or need help with a consumer issue, contact us today!