Front Porch Forum's mission is to help neighbors connect and build community. We do that by hosting regional networks of online neighborhood forums.
Common sense and a growing body of research tell us that well-connected neighborhoods are friendlier places to live, with less crime, healthier residents, higher property values, and better service from local government and public utilities.
My wife, Valerie, and I founded Front Porch Forum in 2006 to serve our hometown of Burlington, Vermont. Amazingly, more than half of Burlington households subscribe to FPF now. Members have shared tens of thousands of postings among nearby neighbors about all sorts of topics: lost cats, car break-ins, plumber recommendations, school budgets, block parties, helping neighbors in need, and much more.
The seed for FPF was planted in 2000 when Valerie and I wanted to meet and get to know our own neighbors. We started a precursor to FPF, then and it boomed in our own Five Sisters neighborhood.
What we found then is now playing out across dozens of Vermont towns... once people have an easy and safe way to communicate with neighbors, they will! And that simple act adds up. The cumulative impact can be huge... after months of FPF, people often report feeling more connected to neighbors, more tuned in to local goings on, and more a part of their community. And in many cases, people then become more active... organizing a group yard sale, mentoring a local kid, volunteering for a park clean-up, voting on election day, etc. That's what FPF is all about!
Thanks for checking out Front Porch Forum!
-Michael Wood-Lewis, CEO and co-founder
In Vermont, we employee a team of online community managers to help neighbors connect in hundreds of neigborhoods (see current service area).
At the same time, our technical and business team is focused on improving our software platform, expanding to other states, and fleshing out our business model.
Front Porch Forum is grateful for the hard work and dedication of the people who help make it happen, including:
Front Porch Forum is indebted to several organizations that have recognized our work with national innovation awards, including cash grants. Thanks to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Case Foundation, the Orton Family Foundation, and the Rural Telecom Congress.
Special appreciation to our expansion sponsors in Starksboro (Orton Family Foundation), in Grand Isle County (Comcast, Lake Champlain Islands Chamber, and 16 local businesses), and in dozens of other Vermont towns ... e-Vermont, Johnson State College, Franklin County Caring Communities, City of St. Albans, Ben & Jerry's Foundation, Revitalizing Waterbury, Town of Duxbury, Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Vermont Gas, the Northfield Rotary Club, and the towns of Johnson, Marshfield, Plainfield, Danby, Woodbury, Tinmouth, Waitsfield, Warren, Fayston, New Haven, Hyde Park, Barre City, East Montpelier, and others.
Financial contributions from members are greatly appreciated, and we are very grateful to FPF advertisers. Thanks too to many advisors, and, especially, our great Five Sisters neighbors. And none of this could happen without the growing number of good folks who have joined their own neighborhood forum and started posting messages and building community with their neighbors. Our many FPF boosters deserve extra recognition too, for their recruitment efforts and for keeping the conversations flowing. Thanks all!
The core of Front Porch Forum's web application is built around the open source Open Porch. We developed Open Porch with The Working Group, funded by a loan from the Knight Foundation. We encourage others to use and add to Open Porch.
Read best-selling author Bill McKibben's take on Front Porch Forum's origins.