The Aspen Institute just issued its Commission for Information Disorder final report. We’re humbled to see Front Porch Forum recognized among a short list of approaches that are making real progress instead of feeding the spread of disinformation. The commission includes celebrities like Craig Newmark, Katie Couric and Prince Harry, along with an array of national experts.
On November 18, FPF participated in a virtual event celebrating Vermonters taking One Small Step. VPR and StoryCorps have spent the last several months connecting residents with different views who might never talk otherwise for a simple, personal conversation. Hear voices from the project followed by an interactive conversation with participants and experts, including Front Porch Forum’s co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis. Learn about the project’s intentions and how to incorporate “courageous conversations” into our daily lives. Listen to the show here.
Front Porch Forum and Braver Angels joined the panel to share how we help facilitate these conversations, build community and provide the tools to do have these conversations.
Today we are launching Front Porch Forum’s annual fall Supporting Member Campaign. If you are able, please support FPF by donating now by credit card, PayPal or check: https://frontporchforum.com/supporting-members
With the pandemic and other challenges, more people are using FPF than ever before to stay informed and to reach out to neighbors. Our workload continues to increase, and our costs and staff have grown accordingly.
We know that many of our members are not in a position financially to make a contribution this year. Regardless, please DO keep using your local FPF. Your engagement makes a big difference — it’s more important than ever to build community among neighbors.
If you value FPF, please support our work by participating and by donating today.
FPF is a Vermont Public Benefit Corporation and not a charity. Contributions are not tax deductible. Ad sales to local businesses cover most of our expenses, and your Supporting Member contribution helps close the gap.
Front Porch Forum‘s co-founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, will speak on a panel for the virtual conference, Reimagine the Internet, on Thu., May 13 at 12:00 p.m. The event is co-hosted by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the soon-to-be-launched Initiative on Digital Public Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
FPF will be joined by many notable panelists, including Cory Doctorow of Electronic Frontier Foundation, Evelyn Douek of Harvard Law School and Katherine Maher of Wikimedia Foundation.
Front Porch Forum will be part of Thursday’s discussion:
Thursday, May 13, 2021
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
This panel will focus on lessons learned from local communities and the implications of these lessons for online spaces. Sara Lomax-Reese is the CEO of WURD, a family-owned talk radio station in Philadelphia that serves that city’s Black community. Michael Wood-Lewis is co-founder of Front Porch Forum, an online community of mailing lists that serves every town in Vermont. Individually and in dialog, both will address lessons learned in building hyperlocal media and the ways in which online communities build trusted relationships.
Learn more about the virtual conference or RSVP here.
Front Porch Forum was recently featured in an episode of the podcast “Home. Made.” It tells the FPF origin story, and also gets into the behavioral science of what happens when we feel like we finally belong somewhere. Give it a listen!
Learn more about the episode or read the transcription here.
When a tornado struck an Addison County family’s home, so much was lost. In the wake of the disaster, the community came together to help offer support. See this beautiful message of gratitude shared on their FPF, after having shared their initial story:
“My son and I want to thank all the people who read our original FPF posting and responded with such sincerity and caring. Whether offering us a place to stay, coming over to help clean up, letting us know you’re willing to lend a hand down the road or sending messages that continue to lift our spirits, your presence is being felt, and it is comforting and reassuring.
Our deepest thanks to Randy and his wife (of Randy’s Service Center.) One of the first calls I received was from Randy, offering us the loaner car in his shop. He’s given us the gift of ease in the midst of much that is challenging.
I wish I had the capacity to respond to each and every one of you. Your poems, stories and heartfelt words have encouraged us as we get our bearings along a new and different road. We want you to know that your reaching out in these creative and caring ways is quite literally brightening our days.
The further we get from the “event,” the more we’re appreciating that we’ve not been forgotten by the people around us. My son and I are grateful for your continuing companionship.”
As they start to envision their next steps forward, the family reflected on “the new normal” and the transitional state that most in the world are facing. They bring to their community an imagination circle to bring new hope, ideas, and possibilities for the future.
Strength and hope can be found in difficult times when a community comes together. FPF is happy to be a resource where neighbors can connect in times of need as well as in times of hope.
Wow! A number of students and families participated in this year’s “At-Home” version of the Good Citizen Challenge, complete with 40-plus activities encouraging learning in History, Government, Community Service and News Literacy. Many put FPF to work to complete the activities:
Team Tiki in Wolcott organized donations to the Hardwick Area Food Pantry. Blaine, 6, chose the charity. “It was all him,” said mom Laura.
Laura put out a call for donations on their Front Porch Forum, and neighbors they’d never met responded, dropping food off at their house. They’d beep when they arrived, said Laura, and “We’d wave from the window” or help unload the items.
She said delivering the donations was a big moment for Blaine. “I think it was the first time he really had an experience where he could actually feel that he had an impact on the world,” she said. “Things like that really sink in for children. I think he won’t ever forget that.”
Pick up the April issue of Kids VT, which is in this week’s Seven Days to learn more, or read online.
From maple creemee tours to swimming holes, farmers markets to local writers, there’s plenty of hidden gems that any new Vermont resident simply must check out. One perfect example is the locally grown VPR podcast, Brave Little State; it will tell you all you need to know about making your home in the Green Mountain State! We think their tip about joining FPF is especially good 🙂
From bread fairies and neighborhood scavenger hunts, to Little Free Pantries and mutual aid networks, Front Porch Forum members have been reaching outto offer their love and support to each other. This Valentine’s Day we share the love neighbors have for their communities.
While there were too many heart-warming postings and stories to choose from this especially difficult year, here are a few that made us feel warm and fuzzy:
“I heartily praise Northfield’s “gem of a library” and know that there are many additional people, organizations and businesses that have also done a lot to help our community through these recent months. I’d like to suggest taking some time to send a card or email, or perhaps make a phone call, to thank those who have made a real difference in your life. And, in that spirit, thanks FPF for helping me stay connected to the community while I isolate at home!” • Sue in Northfield
“Today, I want to reach out to everyone I have had the opportunity to meet, within the Starksboro community, and to those I hope to meet in the future. I want to say how thankful I am for this community. We are a little shelter of giving and caring and reaching out. Welcome to the newer residents. I have the fortune of knowing there are folks who help, and give, and tire themselves for other needier people around them. I have the fortune that I can disagree with someone’s politics and still be grateful they are my neighbor. Take care everyone this winter season. Reach out. Extend your love and care. Ask for help. We all need to know we are not alone.” • Carin in Starksboro
“I am so grateful for the business owners, healthcare workers, teachers, school nurses, sanitation staff, grocery store staff, and so many others who are obligated to risk their health for the sake of the community, or the sake of themselves and their family as they hold an in-person job while so many of us are struggling at home. Sending thanks and love to the children and teens in this community, whose resilience astounds me and inspires me to keep going, keep making safe decisions to keep their schools open and their lives as close to normal as possible.” • Lauren in Waitsfield
“This is my first time in a small community and the love and support of total strangers has overwhelmed me. I don’t remember everyone’s names, but you have provided me with rides to work, tires, ironing board and iron, and the list goes on. When I post a need, I receive multiple emails. I am grateful to each and every one of you.” • Gloria in Morrisville