What is a Coalition?

A coalition is a group of people who come together to find solutions to a common issue. The mechanism of the coalition empowers individuals, businesses and organizations that have been functioning within the specialty of their silo to benefit through working together with others who share a common purpose. The creativity and innovation that is unleashed by this cross-pollination inspires action and solutions not previously identified. Good coalitions are inclusive, with diversity among the members and among the ideas and beliefs, experience mutual trust, define realistic goals, and always keep their promises.

The creativity and innovation that is unleashed by this cross-pollination inspires action and solutions not previously identified

How we WORK

The issues of transportation, open space and housing emerged from the public’s response to the Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition. The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition (SMC) has to date convened three roundtables on the issues of transportation and open space. SMC looks forward to convening more roundtables and public forums to share information and receive feedback and ideas from the public.

The roundtables have been made up of key shareholders from the state, city, private sector, and non-profit sectors. The outcome of these meetings has been a common understanding of the challenges and potential solutions for flexible route, on-demand transportation in Central Vermont and to the creation of a string of green space along the North Branch and Winooski Rivers in downtown Montpelier.

Drawing on the collective knowledge of the community is key to crafting solutions and determining how to adopt them.


The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition’s Mission Statement: The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition is a catalyst, forming community coalitions to realize more sustainable local systems such as: transportation, land use, and food security (in response to climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic).


In 2016 Dan Jones and Deb Sachs, co-directors of Net Zero Vermont sent out a request for proposal for teams of architects to enter the Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition. After two rounds of public viewing and voting a winner was determined.

Team Bridges was awarded a $10,000 check by Governor Phil Scott in the Cedar Creek Room at the Statehouse. Go to the Resources – 2030 Design Competition.

Realizing that the work to be done to implement the concepts of the winning design were specific to the Montpelier area, Dan Jones incorporated The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition (SMC) in Spring 2017, splitting off from the statewide work of NetZero Vermont. Initial board members were Tino O’Brien, Anne Watson and Scott Mueller. In late July a Garden Party was held at the home of Tino O’Brien and Elizabeth Courtney to launch SMC’s efforts. Over fifty guests had a lovely time in the garden with talks by Jones and O’Brien, then the rain fell and much to our delight a rainbow appeared in the sky as a blessing.

Debra Sachs, Dan Jones and Governor Phil Scott looking at the winning design
Elizabeth Parker, Elizabeth Courtney, Dan Jones, Tino O’Brien, and Don Hooper

The SMC Board met biweekly for the next year and in that time acquired SMC’s 501c3 status. Jones, Courtney, and Parker teamed up to apply for a Canaday Family Foundation grant focusing on the relationship between transportation patterns and the environment. Canaday awarded SMC a three-year grant. Jones and Courtney wrote grants for the National Life Foundation and the Block Family Foundation which were awarded. In July of 2018 SMC moved from a volunteer to a professionally staffed organization. With a Transportation Roundtable II in September and a Lower Northbranch Roundtable in October, SMC is now hard at work. In early November SMC settled into its office at 15 State Street, Suite 301.

Public involvement is a key part of the Coalition’s process and already the roundtables have generated working groups and volunteers are getting in touch to offer their talents. It is early days in addressing the many innovative ideas that came out of the Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition and the public response. SMC is off and running convening thought leaders and staying in touch with the community to draw on their wisdom. We invite you to share your skills and passions.