Financial Capital: Middlebury

Financial Capital of Middlebury, Vermont

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According to Green & Haines, financial capital is defined as “the financial resources available to invest in community capacity building, to underwrite business development, to support civic and social entrepreneurship, and to accumulate wealth for future community development.” (Green, Haines 2012). Middlebury’s financial capital is inherently intertwined with the College that bears the same name. In fact, it is said that “since 1800 Middlebury and its college have led closely intermeshed lives.” (Andres, Callahan 2005). This legacy has continued into the present. Today, Middlebury College is the largest employer in Middlebury and Addison County. The College created nearly $220 million in economic activity in 2011 and 437 jobs (Middlebury College 2014).

One community-based organization that greatly benefits from the financial power of the College is the local chapter of the United Way of Addison County, which received an annual gift of $320,115 in 2013 (Middlebury College 2014). While the College’s ability to donate to local nonprofits, volunteer, support community construction projects, jobs, and the economy is a significant and positive force in Middlebury’s financial profile, it has come with its own costs.

It is interesting that financial capital and its potency can lead to tense cultural relations. Middlebury is exemplified by its town grown relations which brings positive financial implications, but can also make the town’s citizens feel beholden to the money, power, and choices of the College and its leadership. Nonetheless, as the opening quote illustrates, this very relationship, with all its positives and negatives, is Middlebury and has been since the beginning.

As Vermont’s agricultural community, still the most prominent cultural thread in the Green Mountain State, continues to disappear and diminish financially, it will be interesting to observe Middlebury’s own transformation. The move towards industry and the recent construction of the $30 million Woodchuck Cider factory shows promise for Middlebury’s continued growth in business (Varricchio 2013). Regardless of the prosperity generated by the town, however, it will continue to be influenced by the stable financial ally it has in Middlebury College.financial-pic-2

 

References

  1. Green, G. P., & Haines, A. (2012). Asset Building & Community Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.
  2. Andres, G. M., & Callahan, A. (2005). A Walking History of Middlebury. Retrieved from http://midddigital.middlebury.edu/walking_history/college/
  3. Middlebury College. (2014). The Economic and Community Impact of Middlebury College. Retrieved from http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/487812/original/economic_impact_nov2014_rev2.pdf
  4. Varricchio, L. (2013). Woodchuck Unveils New Vermont Cidery Site. Retrieved from http://www.suncommunitynews.com/articles/the-sun/woodchuck-unveils-new-vermont-cidery-site/

 

Photo References

  1. D’Ambrosio (2015). Woodchuck Hard Cider Takes on the Big Guns. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/07/23/woodchuck-hard-cider/30561183/
  2. Middlebury College. (2014). The Economic and Community Impact of Middlebury College. Retrieved from http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/487812/original/economic_impact_nov2014_rev2.pdf