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 its name to the Alliance for Community Transformations (ACT) and expanded its 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 for 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 Interim 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
  • Communications

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-three 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. ACT is currently pursuing federal nonprofit 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 3 community meetings per year and actively participate in at least 1 committee/initiative/event in addition to Youth Appreciation Day. 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 and propose and approve policies. Members are eligible to attend specialized training opportunities like the CADCA Coalition Academy series (Atlanta, GA) and others at no cost.

Can an organization become a member?
Yes! Organizations that wish to be listed as a member will submit an 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! In addition to the Substance Prevention Committee and Youth Empowerment and Engagement Committee, ACT has various ad-hoc committees. Because we know you’re busy, we try to keep meetings to a minimum necessary. Ad-hoc committees form and meet to accomplish a project and then disband once the project is complete.

When do committees meet?
Committee meetings are at various times and locations in accessible locations determined by those on the committee. Upcoming committee meetings can be found on our calendar.

When are the community meetings?
ACT coalition meetings occur on the first Friday of every month from 9 to 11 am in the Community Room of the Vermont Department of Health at 324 Main Street, Bennington. 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. Upcoming coalition meetings can be found on our calendar.

What is a sector leader?
ACT has 12 Sector Leaders who each represent one of the following areas: 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.” Mostly, Sector Leaders advise ACT on various tasks and projects and serve as a liaison to their networks. 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 Members serve for two fiscal years with a possibility for reinstatement.

Last Updated: 10/13/17

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