Who We Are

Community Investments tailors staffing of projects to the needs of the client. We augment associates’ areas of expertise with assistance from a team of professionals in a wide variety of disciplines. We are,

Jill Michaels, Principal

MBA, Wharton; economic development consultant

For the past 25 years, Jill has been the Principal of a Community Investments a firm that assists nonprofits, businesses, municipalities, and state government in Northern New England. Before that, in Vermont, she was the Executive Director of the Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation and came to Vermont to serve and Director of Development for the Town of Rockingham. Earlier work in Philadelphia included serving as Executive Director for the Community Development Coalition, Inc., a coalition of 20 community development corporations across the city; Researcher for employment and training think tank, Public/Private Ventures, and staff to City Councilwoman Joan Specter.

Her areas of expertise include:

  • Fundraising and grant oversight for funds from federal, state and private sources — these have included many federal funding sources, State sources; private foundations and individuals.  Successes include raising over $15 million for a wide variety of projects through grant writing, securing set-asides for local businesses and activities; packaging industrial financing;
  • Business recruitment in Vermont, including recruiting Mascoma Savings Bank and Seldon Technologies (Vermont’s first nanotechnology company) to Windsor; Vermont Castings to Bethel; Vermont Pure Spring Water to Randolph; and, Ben and Jerry’s distribution center to Rockingham VT
  • Real estate development, funding and financial packaging both for companies, like Seldon Technologies, Vermont Castings, and Ben and Jerry’s as a part of the recruitment effort and in support of exiting companies like Pompouusic Mills and Concepts ETI as assistance to expand at their current locations.
  • Raising funds and/or conducting feasibility/planning studies for community development, housing development. Main Streets, village centers, growth centers, preservation of historic structures; restoration of brownfields.
  • Assisting municipalities in securing, implementing and monitoring public-private projects
  • Setting up, increasing resources for revolving loan funds from state and federal sources to be used at the local, regional, and state level.

Jill received an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA/MPA degree from the Wharton School of Business and Finance.

VEC involvement

Jill served as President and volunteer CEO for the Vermont Environmental Consortium for seven years until she stepped down at the end of 2016 to become a member of the VEC Board. She led the transition from staff-run, in debt organization to a fiscally sound, well respected member of Vermont’s environmental community, overseeing a variety of research projects and events, most recently establishing a VT Department of Labor-funded “green careers website” and holding a Trade Show celebrating new and emerging environmental businesses. She oversaw securing funds and overseeing grants received from private and public sources for the work of the organization.

Specifically, she

  • Led the organization’s transition from a staff managed to Board managed entity when it ran into financial difficulties – the organization is now solvent and well respected in the state. The Board (and the organization) is made up of representatives from businesses, higher education institutions, and nonprofits promoting economic development and job creation in Vermont’s environmental sector.
  • Oversaw VEC’s component of a grant from US Department of Energy for a feasibility study of a biodigester heating plant for Vermont Technical College. Although VEC’s role in this project ended with completion of the feasibility study, the project has been built and the biodigester now provides heat for the VTC Randolph Campus.
  • Secured a grant from Green Mountain Power for a preliminary feasibility study for siting a solar array on an abandoned brownfield in Strafford, VT. That project is currently under construction.
  • Under her direction, VEC has conducted five annual spring Water Quality conferences and is currently involved in developing a third conference to be held this spring. VEC also holds fall conferences that highlight aspects of its members’ activities and contributions to job creation in Vermont environmental sector.

    Alex Kelley, Associate

    Wesleyan University; former Field Director, Creative Manager, Project Manager

     
    Alex is a native of Hartland VT. He recently completed a stint as Field Director for a Vermont gubernatorial campaign. Prior to that, Alex was both a Project Manager and Creative Manager for Catchword Branding,  where he has worked with clients ranging from international corporations to local non-profits. This background in branding brings an important skill set to the project: the ability to identify an entity’s strengths and core value to a community, and then communicate that in the most salient and evocative way for both consumers and investors alike.

     

    Judy Bevans, Associate

    MS, Connecticut State Southern University; BA Goddard College; fundraising, government relations, nonprofit board organization

    Judy Bevans joined CI in 2015. She currently serves as Executive Director of the North Woods Stewardship Center, an educational, research and conservation service organization serving the communities of northern Vermont and New Hampshire since 1989. Its Education, Conservation Corps, and Forest Stewardship Initiative programs interconnect to provide the knowledge and skills needed to understand the northern landscape, make use of its resources wisely, and help sustain vibrant communities and a healthier natural environment. Prior to that, Judy served as Sterling College’s Director of Advancement and Government Relations from 2011-2014. Sterling is small, liberal arts college focusing on the environment, ecology and advancement. Judy has also served as Chair of the Vermont Democratic Party and on the VEDP Executive Committee.

    Recent board service has included the Vermont Conservation Voters, EmergeVT and the Planned Parenthood PAC Committee.

    She attended Southern Connecticut State University where she received a double MS in Therapeutic Recreation and Exercise Physiology and attended Goddard College, receiving a BS with a concentration in Gerontology.