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2020 RACDC Annual Meeting

Click Here to see a recording of RACDC's 2020 Annual Meeting, Awards, and Speaker Presentation!

Thanks to our speakers, award winners and all who attended!

 Award Winners:

       Energy Rising Award:  Sam Hooper: Chip & Sarah Natvig

       Hutchinson Award for Selfless Service:  Irene Schaefer


Matt Dunne, Founder and Executive Director of the Center On Rural Innovation (CORI).  CORI is a national nonprofit action tank committed to creating economic opportunities in rural America through the development of inclusive digital economy ecosystems that support entrepreneurship and job creation. Matt served 11 years in the Vermont House and Senate, enacting the state’s first broadband grants, brownfields revitalization funding, and downtown redevelopment program. He helped grow a VT-based software company to over 100 people and was Associate Director of the Rockefeller Center on Public Policy at Dartmouth College.  In 1999 Matt was appointed director of AmeriCorps*VISTA under President Clinton, where he led PowerUp, one of the first national efforts to bridge the digital divide, and launched an Entrepreneur Corps to focus on micro-finance in high-need communities. In 2007, he started Google’s Community Affairs division out of a former bread factory in White River Jct, VT, where he led all local US philanthropy and engagement, including the Google Fiber rollout and orchestrating educational and development initiatives in Google’s data center communities across rural America.  Matt has a BA from Brown University and is a lifelong Vermonter who lives on the 100 acre farm where he was raised.


Leah Taylor, Manager, Rural Innovation Initiative.  Leah’s career has been dedicated to community development through a variety of economic and social change projects with communities across the United States and Canada. Leah fosters community engagement for positive change through partnership building, facilitating consensus amongst disparate groups, leading strategic planning efforts, and managing academic research initiatives designed to inform impactful projects.  As Senior Associate for the social enterprise, I DO BUSINESS. Inc., Leah managed the development and implementation of Indigenous youth entrepreneurship programs with First Nations across Canada, as well as supporting Indigenous and far north businesses in bidding on government and corporate procurement opportunities. Her most recent role, based in Augusta, Georgia with the U.S. non-profit, America’s Warrior Partnership, was managing a nationwide, community-based veteran suicide study in collaboration with 14 communities across the United States.  Leah grew up on a small farm in rural Canada, and immigrated to the United States in 2010. She has a B.A. in International Development Studies from York University and a Masters Degree in Globalization Studies from McMaster University.