The staff at FPF was touched to rediscover this 2006 Seven Days article titled “Front Porch Forum Encourages Neighborliness — Online and Off.” It’s heartening to see how far Front Porch Forum has come over 14 years.
The article explains how FPF got started. At the time it was written, co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis compiled e-newsletters alone.
“Though Wood-Lewis is currently working on FPF as a volunteer, he sees his time as an investment. He’s hoping that as the service expands, he’ll be able to find local businesses to sponsor it.”
Now the organization has a growing staff of 22. It’s been put to use in communities all over the state, and now serves parts of New York and Williamstown, Massachusetts. The look and feel of the Email Forum has been redesigned and members can now also read their Forum via mobile app and the website.
Check out the full piece for an awesome throwback (complete with a MySpace reference!)
Even though this year has been full of challenges the likes of which we’ve never seen before, many folks on Front Porch Forum are finding a plethora of things to be grateful for. Indeed, an attitude of gratitude can make the darker times seem much brighter. Check out what some of our neighbors have had to say during this time of thanks:
“Hey you. Yeah YOU!!! 2020 gave you every reason to not be thankful. It threw everything at you yet here you are reading this. Thank you to all the essential workers from doctors and nurses, to farmers, to the kid bagging your groceries, you putting yourself at risk so we can have some semblance of normalcy is greatly appreciated and does not go unnoticed. Thank you to this community who stick together and help each other despite adversity. All storms end eventually and we will come out of all this stronger. Happy Thanksgiving” – R. in Stowe
“FPF has been a faithful and trusted organization for us all and especially important during this challenging time.” – L. in So. Burlington
“I am beyond grateful for this beautiful Valley in which I can enjoy the clean air outdoors, walk on hillsides that take my breath away with my dog and husband and enjoy delicious, local foods.” -L. in Mad River Valley
“It would be an even more disconnected world than it already is without FPF to tie our neighborhoods together.” ““ J. in Charlotte
“Been living in this home since 1960. Have enjoyed the neighborhood, but recently have come to appreciate the neighbors as never before. With the Pandemic, neighbors have offered, and delivered food and help. One neighbor has taken over my hobby of picking up the trash along the roadside, beer cans, etc., that I decided not to do anymore. I think I saw her/him on the road Sat. afternoon, and checked it out Sunday, trash is gone! Yes, We like it here. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.” – A. in East Hardwick
Share what you are grateful for this year with your neighbors on FPF.
Neighbors show their support of Vermont small businesses on FPF.
“I was on a call this week in which the somber fact of our local businesses on the brink of failure was very apparent. Many of our local sandwich shops, bars and restaurants are in dire need of support and are looking at the possibility of having to close down for good bc of the financial situation they are in. I was going to suggest we all try and support a “Take out Tuesday” (because A. Takeout sounded best with Tuesday and B. this would include all our eateries whether they were serving in their location or just doing take out), but realize many of our local spots aren’t open on Tuesdays. Therefore, I suggest we all try and go out to eat or get food to go from our local eateries that aren’t serving in house at least once a weekday when they need our support the most. Without our help, many of the local establishments that you love are not going to make it through this winter. Help out your neighbor, friend, or local business owner now, so that we may have the chance to enjoy them after this mess is over with. We all have a part in our local businesses success.
This also applies to our local independent shops as well. Please think of them with the upcoming holiday season and shop local this year!” • Bob in Stowe
Share local dining/take-out options and gift ideas on Front Porch Forum.
We couldn’t resist sharing this story shared on Front Porch Forum. A unique way to “pay it forward.”
“Something amazing happened to us tonight. We went out to dinner to celebrate our 51st wedding anniversary. We had a very nice meal which we very much enjoyed. When we asked for the check the waitress said that she had heard us say that it was our 51st anniversary. A frequent customer of their’s had called in and asked that, in memory of his son who would have been 24 today, the restaurant choose a customer celebrating something of consequence, and he would pick up the bill! So we had a very nice dinner capped off by this man’s thoughtfulness! We, of course, paid the waitress a tip for 20% of what the bill would have been and asked the hostess if she could give us our benefactors name and telephone. She did so and we called him as soon as we got home and thanked him. We also decided that this was such a nice thing to do that we will “pay it forward” and do the same thing in future every year on our anniversary to honor our long deceased parents and their anniversaries.” • John in East Hardwick
Have your own examples of “Paying it Forward?” Post them on FPF!
Beloved pets find their way home on FPF!
“Lost dog Maisy has come home! Thanks to everyone who reported sightings and inquired about her. I sure do appreciate our community and Front Porch Forum!” • Cindy in Barre
“I am absolutely amazed by the kindness and compassion of our neighborhoods. Twice now FPF has gotten the word out and you all took the time to post sightings, take care of and help our cat Honi get back home.” • Kim in Colchester
“Thank you to all who played a part in getting Teeko home safe and sound, but especially to Front Porch Forum for providing this format. I am forever grateful.” • Winnie in Middletown Springs
“7 year old and her beloved kitty have been reunited! Always amazing resource FPF!! It takes a village, so proud and appreciative of ours.” • Nancy in Shelburne
“Because two residents cared enough about a stray cat and posted their sightings on FPF, we have our beloved cat, Star, back home following a three week adventure.” • Eric in Morristown
“Many thanks to all the folks who helped amazingly resilient Naddy the Doberman to get home. What a helpful resource FPF is and how great it is to have such responsive and caring neighbors!” • Lee in Underhill
“Thank you so much to the fine people whom sighted, reported on, and protected my very lost, cold, and scared dog last night. I am so grateful to Front Porch Forum and to dog lovers everywhere who look out for our beloved pets and help get them home.” • Susan in Charlotte
Read your FPF by email? Prefer the website? Are you a mobile app aficionado? However you connect with your neighbors online, FPF has gotten some major upgrades this year, including a new look across the board and new features to make reading and posting even easier. Here’s how some FPF members have responded to the changes:
“The great thing about FPF is anyone is welcome to post on subjects that are important to them; for some people it’s Doggy Play Dates or Free Plants, and for others it’s Community Health Issues. The new format and bold subject field enable you to peruse the page, read the posts that interest you, and skip the ones that don’t (or maybe be exposed to a different point of view.) Thanks, FPF for the opportunity to connect and share.” • Joseph in Waterbury Center, Vt.
“I used the “Edit post” option for the first time just now. It may have been there for a while but I just happily discovered it and wanted to pass along my excitement for the service Front Porch Forum is providing to our communities!” • Elly at Lamoille Regional Solid Waste
“We just moved to Vermont from California and I am looking forward to using this forum for resources!” • Holly in Williston
“You probably notice that the color is popping out on the Maples around Montpelier. We drove to Burlington today and it is gorgeous! We plan to head up RT 12 to Morrisville and Stowe and loop back around to Montpelier on I-89 this weekend. We encourage you to get out there and enjoy it as soon as possible!” • Johanna in Montpelier
“Thanks to all the Aficionados who sent me suggestions for their favorite Maple Creemee. Plenty of choices to keep “us” busy (at a respectable social distance) while driving through our beautiful state, supporting small VT businesses and be sweetly rewarded in the end!”
• Julie in Stowe
“Now that the Island Line Trail’s bike ferry is back in operation, you might want to consider a mini-vacation in the islands. It’s a fairly level 30-mile bike ride from Charlotte to South Hero. My friends there at Health Hero Farm have two campsites that can be booked through https://hipcamp.com/vermont/islands-base-camp. They have a stretch of private beach on Lake Champlain that you might enjoy. Once on the island, you have numerous cycling opportunities — many of them on back roads past apple orchards, vineyards, mini-castles, and creemee stands. Here’s a link to our friends’ trail suggestions: http://cycletheislands.com . You can even rent a bike from https://www.localmotion.org/, if you don’t own one already.” • Wolfger, Charlotte
Share your staycation adventures and tips on FPF to inspire neighbors and help show some love for local businesses in our beloved small towns!
Go to FrontPorchForum.com and experience the newly upgraded FPF website! Each Forum issue is easier to find, search and read. You can also browse and search postings from neighboring communities! And posting is simpler too.
Now you can read your daily Forum via email, website or mobile app… your choice. Customize your email and notification preferences by logging into your account at FrontPorchForum.com
Front Porch Forum is working everyday to fulfill the mission of helping neighbors connect. The Web Forum redesign is intended to make FPF even more accessible, highlighting member postings, local businesses and nonprofits, and events that allow neighbors to join in common interests. Other recent steps we’ve taken to improve our service include:
- Email Forum Redesign
- Launched a mobile app, making FPF easier to read from a smartphone
- Expanded our service to parts of upstate New York and the Berkshires
- Became a Vermont Public Benefit Corporation
- Celebrated our 190,000th member (and counting!)
- Continuing to grow our in-house team of software engineers and online community managers
- Serving as essential civic infrastructure during the COVID-19 crisis
We continue to work to bring value to Front Porch Forum members, and look forward to announcing our next series of upgrades and new features ““ stay tuned!
By the way… did you see FPF mentioned in The New York Times and Forbes recently? Click here to see this and more.