Rally for Change

Anytime you check-out at City Market, you can choose to "round up" your total to the nearest dollar. At the end of the month, we donate 50% of those funds to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, 40% to an organization that aligns with our Global Ends, and 10% to a local non-profit.

In December, you collectively donated $22,843.35!

This is now the fifth record breaking month in a row of Rally for Change! 

  • $11,421.67 for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
  • $9,137.34 for Committee on Temporary Shelter
  • $2,284.34 for Burlington Writers Workshop 

January's 50% Partner: 

Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf

The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf is the largest direct service anti-hunger organization in Vermont. The Food Shelf provides critical nutrition assistance to more than 11,000 Chittenden County residents who struggle with food insecurity and hunger every year. Food Shelf programs provide groceries, hot meals, job training and support for thousands of our neighbors.

January's 40% Partner:

King Street Center

King Street Center is committed to providing the highest quality care, nourishment, academic support, and exploration of a wide variety of enrichment opportunities for Burlington families. Serving children aged 1-18, kids grow up in King Street's programs, fostering childhood-long relationships. 

Volunteers are a critical part of King Street Center's work. This month, the Sunday Studies program is rolling out! The goal is to provide high school level academic help at a time when most teens are able to carve out their most intentional, focused study time - Sunday afternoons! Tutors needed.

Also at this time of year, the King Street Center has many children hoping to welcome a mentor into their life - especially boys. This is a very rewarding volunteer opportunity. Learn more here.

The mission of the King Street Center is to promote personal and social wellness through educational, recreational, and social programs. Founded in 1971, King Street Center has long provided Burlington’s most vulnerable youth with year-round care. Specific programs include:

  • Early Head Start Toddler Program, age 1-3

  • Head Start 5-STAR Preschool, age 3-5

  • Afterschool Excellence/Castle Camp, elementary school children

  • Teen Futures, middle & high school youth

Favorite activities and community partnerships include weekly preschool visits to Shelburne Farms, annual marathon training with RunVT, summer recreation with Chill Foundation, outdoor exploration with Audubon VT, tennis with Kids on the Ball, skateboarding and arts with Friends for A_Dog Foundation. On-site use of the gym, kitchen, playground, playhouse, and rooftop recreation area invite healthy activity all year round.


January's 10% Partner:

Howard Center's Street Outreach Team

Recently, a worried father called Street Outreach about his adult son. The son had a history of chronic mental illness and homelessness, and he often refused to engage with social services. The father asked what could be done.

Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team is a group of caring professionals who help people who have mental health issues connect with services and get the assistance they need. The team is best known for intervening when people experience crisis situations on Church Street or around town, but most of the team’s work is focused on helping people avoid crisis in the first place.   

A Team member met with the son and found that he was living on the street because he had lost his wallet and was unable to access his bank account. His most immediate need was housing but he had severe anxiety and paranoia around going to a shelter. To help him feel more comfortable, a team member accompanied him to COTS, a local shelter, and introduced him to the staff. Once he was settled in there, Street Outreach took him to Safe Harbor Clinic where he got medical care and other support, including help replacing his ID and debit card.

In another case, a man with severe mental health and substance use issues was eligible for a housing program but not enrolled. To enroll would mean filling out several applications, finding supporting documentation, and attending appointments, but his conditions left him too disorganized to do this on his own. Street Outreach helped him complete his paperwork and guided him through the enrollment process until he was safely housed.

Another call came from neighbors concerned about an elderly woman struggling to live independently. Although she has health issues that limit her mobility, she lived on the third floor of an apartment building with no elevator. She was not connected with any agency until neighbors called Street Outreach. The team offered transportation to medical appointments and connected the woman with social service agencies that helped her move to a more suitable apartment.  

The Street Outreach team quietly does this kind of work every day, helping people meet their immediate needs, connect with services, and overcome obstacles that could otherwise lead to much more serious situations. Sometimes the team assists a person in crisis on Church Street, though more often it responds to calls from worried parents or neighbors and reaches out with an offer of help.

About Rally for Change

In October 2014, City Market updated its program for collecting donations at the register! Previously, we selected a different non-profit each month and donated 5 cents for each bag our customers reused (our "Change for Local Non-Profits" program). Every register also included tear off coupons so customers could donate to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. In addition, each year in February we sold $1 Hearts for the Intervale Center and in September $1 Lunch Trays for Hunger Free Vermont, with all donations going to each respective organization. We've consolidated all of these programs into our new "Rally for Change" program which allows customers to "round up" their order at each register, each time they check-out at the Co-op.

In the name of education, opportunity, and streamlining how we do things here at the Co-op, we created a Rally for Change program! This program allows customers to “round up” their payment at the register (e.g., a $25.42 checkout could be rounded up to $26 for a $0.58 donation). The Co-op will then donate this “round up” change to a variety of local non-profits each month (so, not just one!) that are doing amazing work in our community. Want to round up to the nearest five or ten dollars? You can do that too! Each month, we’ll share who will be receiving the donations (in our newsletter, with store signage and through staff education).

With more than 4,000 transactions each day through our registers, we all have the opportunity to share what we think of as “small change” to rally for bigger community-wide change. This new Rally program will take the place of the “tear off” coupons we have at the registers and will also take the place of our Change for Local Non-Profits (or bag refunds) program.

Not to worry, a large percentage of each month’s donation will go to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf and we anticipate that this program will actually increase their donations. Through this new program, we will also continue to offer donations to local non-profits that are on the waiting list for our previous "Change for Local Non-Profits" bag refund program (and any new ones that we add to the list!). Here’s how the donation percentages will work out each month:

  • 50% to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, every month

  • 40% to an organization that aligns with the Co-op’s Global Ends

  • 10% to a local non-profit that may not directly align so closely with our Global Ends, but still works to make our community a better place (much like the Change for Local Non-Profits Program)

This new program gives our cashiers and staff an opportunity to engage with our customers and together we’ll both support and learn more about the organizations that make our community a better place to live. We’re excited to give it a try and are interested to hear what you think!

Past Recipients

Do you run a local non-profit that aligns with our Global Ends?

Your organization can apply to become a Rally for Change 10% Partner. We are currently filling slots 2 years out (it's a popular program and our community has many amazing non-profits!). Visit our donations page to learn how to apply.