VNA Family Room to Become Freestanding Non-Profit

The Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties (VNA) announces that the Janet S. Munt VNA Family Room will transition from being a program of the VNA to a newly created freestanding non-profit organization in July 2017. The VNA Family Room, established in 1988, is one of 15 state-designated parent-child centers in Vermont providing a wide range of programming and support for parents and children from birth through age six in Burlington’s Old North End.

The Family Room’s programs are designed to foster children’s emotional development and social relationships, promote literacy and school readiness, and encourage healthy behaviors and good nutrition while helping parents to strengthen their families through on-going support and parenting education. Many of the families served by the Family Room are affected by one or more risk factors such as poverty, homelessness, substance dependence, refugee status, mental health issues or past incarcerations.

“The Family Room is a vital and beloved resource in our community serving nearly 500 families. We’re thrilled the program will be stewarded in the future by people who have been intimately involved with its success over the years and who are deeply committed to the mission of building strong families. The program is in capable hands and I look forward to seeing the new organization flourish,” says Judy Peterson, VNA’s President and CEO.

A transition team comprised of Family Room parents, VNA leadership, staff and community partners, was formed to explore options for transitioning to a new organizational structure. Noonmark Consulting, experts in strategic planning for non-profits, was engaged to evaluate options and facilitate the process.

As a result of this work, the recommendation to establish the Family Room as a freestanding organization was made and a business plan was created. A Steering Committee of dedicated community members was formed to guide the establishment of a new governance structure and begin the search for an Executive Director to lead the new successor organization. The search is expected to begin in March.

In the coming months, the Steering Committee will file for Vermont incorporation and federal 501(c) 3 tax-exempt status and formally continue to serve as the organization’s Board of Directors. Building on a history of tremendous community support, the steering committee will solicit additional financial support to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

The VNA will continue to provide operational and fundraising support throughout the transition process, including acting as the financial agent for the newly created transition fund while the application for tax-exempt status is pending.

Sophia Donforth, Family Room Steering Committee President, “I’m excited to see the work of the Family Room Family over the last year become the groundwork for the new organization, and I’m delighted with the expertise and energy of the new steering committee. We’re all looking forward to working together with the VNA to see the successful launch of a freestanding Family Room.”

For more information about the Family Room including how to make a donation in support of the transition, please visit

About the VNA
The VNA is a 111-year-old non-profit home health and hospice agency providing medically-complex home and community-based care to individuals and families throughout Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties. VNA programs span a lifetime and include comprehensive nursing care for adults and children, rehabilitation services, chronic disease management, hospice and palliative care services, adult day programs and private care services. Last year, the VNA served over 5,400 individuals and provided $1.54 million in charitable care to our neighbors in need. The VNA is proud to be a funded agency of the United Way of Northwest Vermont. For more information on VNA services and programs, please contact the VNA at (802) 658-1900 or visit

About the Family Room Steering Committee
The Family Room Steering Committee is comprised of 10 community members with diverse professional backgrounds, including four current Family Room parents who are actively engaged in the transition process. All members share a strong commitment to supporting families and children in the community. For more information on the Family Room Steering Committee, please contact Sophia Donforth at (802)881-5191

Hannah Burnett, UVM Health Foundation
Will Clark, UVM Health Network / Family Room Parent
Sophia Donforth, Community Organizer / Family Room Parent / Steering Committee President
Suzy Finnefrock, Dance & Movement Instructor / Family Room Parent
Ilir Hasa, CEDO/AmeriCorps Team Leader, City of Burlington
Jane Knodell, Professor of Economics, University of Vermont / Burlington City Councilor
Kath Laing, Development Manager, Fletcher Free Library
Maggie Platzer, Attorney, Dinse Knapp McAndrew
Bobby Riley, Principal, Integrated Arts Academy, Burlington Public Schools
Katy Wallace, Social Worker / Family Room Parent