Read best-selling author Bill McKibben's take on Front Porch Forum's origins.
My wife, Valerie, and I founded Front Porch Forum in 2006 to serve our hometown of Burlington, Vermont. Amazingly, more than two-thirds of Burlington households subscribe to FPF now. Members have shared hundreds of thousands of postings among nearby neighbors about all sorts of topics: lost dogs, 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" Burlington neighborhood. Check out our current coverage area, including our recent Vermont expansion.
What we found then is now playing out across all 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 employ a team of online community managers to help neighbors connect in hundreds of neighborhoods (see current service area), and a sales team that helps businesses and nonprofits plug into our neighbor conversations.
At the same time, our technical and business teams are focused on improving our software platform, expanding to other states, and carrying out our business plan.
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: Vermont Digital Economy Project, Orton Family Foundation, e-Vermont, Johnson State College, Franklin County Caring Communities, Ben & Jerry's Foundation,Revitalizing Waterbury, Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Vermont Gas, the Northfield Rotary Club, ACET, City of Barre, Mad River Valley Planning District, New England Grassroots Environment Fund, the Woodbury Fund, Monkton Community Coffeehouse, Enosburg Area Business Assn., Enosburgh Town School District, Vermont Council on Rural Development and the towns of Duxbury, Johnson, Marshfield, Plainfield, Danby, Ferrisburgh, Woodbury, Tinmouth, Waitsfield, Warren, Fayston, New Haven, Hyde Park, Barre City, St. Albans City, East Montpelier, Berlin, hundreds of individual expansion donors, and Comcast, Lake Champlain Islands Chamber, and 16 local businesses.
Financial contributions from members are greatly appreciated (to be clear, FPF is not a charity and contributions are not tax deductible), 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!