Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

When was ACT started?

ACT is a community based coalition that was developed in 1995 following the completion of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s community-wide needs assessment. At the time, the rates of tobacco use, especially among youth were very high. A group formed to address tobacco prevention and treatment in the region. This group formerly known as the Stamp Out Tobacco Coalition, then later renamed the Tobacco-Free Community Partners applied for and was awarded funding through the Vermont Department of Health to reduce tobacco use rates and increase prevention efforts.  In 2011, the group changed names to the Alliance for Community Transformations (ACT) and expanded focus to address substance abuse and broader public health issues. In 2013, ACT entered into a fiscal sponsor relationship with the Bennington County Regional Commission as a program within its Healthy Communities division. In 2014, ACT was selected to participate in the Drug Free Communities (DFC) Mentoring Grant in partnership with HAYC3 based out of Hoosick Falls in preparation for applying to the multi-year DFC Support Grant. In 2015, ACT was selected as a new recipient of the federal Drug Free Communities Grant program through the Office of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.

What is the structure of ACT?

ACT has one paid staff member, the Executive Director and benefits from the direct support of an AmeriCorps VISTA program member. Heavily volunteer-driven, ACT has an advisory board – the ACT Executive Committee, and the Judy Brownell Youth Ambassador Program that engages local youth leaders. Coalition activities include committee work in the following categories:

  • Substance Abuse and Tobacco Prevention
  • Youth Empowerment and Engagement
  • Healthy and Active Living
  • Finance and Sustainability
  • Communications

Each committee has a self-selected chair and a wide variety of activities they support. More information about current projects and contact information can be found on our website: actbennington.org

How is ACT funded?

Currently, ACT is in year-one of the Drug Free Communities Support Grant which provides funding to address substance abuse and use through environmental strategies. ACT is one of four current recipients of this grant in the state of Vermont.

Is ACT a 501c3?

No, ACT is a registered non-profit corporation through the State of Vermont but does not hold 501c3 federal status.

If I donate to ACT, can I claim the contributions on my tax return?

Contributions to ACT are not considered tax-deductible. We recommend that you contact a financial advisor or tax professional for specific guidance on contributions.

How does one become a member?

Any individual, business or organization can become a member by completing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a document which outlines the rights and responsibilities of membership. There is no cost to apply for membership. Members are required to attend community meetings and actively participate on a committee. You do NOT have to become a member to work on ACT projects or support our work.

What rights or opportunities are available to members?

Members have ability to vote on coalition items, propose and approve policies. Members are eligible to attend specialized training opportunities like the CADCA Coalition Academy series (Sacramento, CA) and others at no cost.

Can an organization become a member?

Yes! Organizations that wish to be listed as a member will submit a MOU. However, if representatives from the organization wish to have voting rights, they must each complete their own MOU.

Can anyone join a committee?

Yes! All members MUST join a committee to remain active. Committees must have at least five members each. Members are to join the committee of their choosing but are instructed to join any committees that do not have five members before joining a group that has already met the minimum.

When do committees meet?

Committee meetings are at various times and locations in accessible locations. Check our calendar for meeting dates and times.

When are the community meetings?

All meetings are open to the public at any time and sign language interpreter services are available by request at no cost for all meetings. ACT meets on a monthly basis in a structured format. Check our events page, Front Porch Forum or social media for updated information.

What is a sector leader?

A sector leader is a person designated by the Drug Free Communities Grant to support the activities specific to the Drug Free Communities Grant program. A successful coalition has representation from twelve “sectors” of the community: Parents, Youth, Education/Schools, State or Local Government, Media, Business, Law Enforcement, Youth Serving Organization, Religious/Fraternal Organization, Volunteer Organization, Healthcare Professional and Other Substance Abuse Prevention Organization. Sector leaders come from different areas in our community but do not represent all people, entities or businesses that are in the same “sector”. Sector leaders serve for one fiscal year and are considered members of ACT.

What is the role of the Executive Committee?

The Executive Committee is an advisory board for ACT.  Executive Committee members are elected per ACT’s by-laws and selected from active members through a nomination and voting process. As an advisory board, the Executive Committee supports the development of policies and procedures and provides additional oversight of ACT programs and activities. The Executive Committee will make recommendations for coalition members to provide input and approve.  The Executive Committee Members serve for one fiscal year with a possibility for reinstatement.

Last Updated: 12/17/15

Click here for a printable version: ACT FAQ