Bart Westdijk comes to the Grassroots Fund from the Netherlands. His interest in local solutions and grassroots initiatives comes from his world travels and thesis study focus on multinational corporations’ potential to help alleviate poverty (yes, possible, especially if there is a real focus on local engagement and transfer of knowledge). The first 20 years of his life Bart spent in Zwijndrecht, a town just south of multi-cultural Rotterdam. His international travels began when he was 7. During summer holidays he and his family traveled to many different countries seeding his interest in different cultures and customs. Before coming to Vermont, Bart spent a semester in New Zealand and lived a year in China (2004-2005) working as an English and Business teacher. Seeing the conditions in which large parts of the population lived further fueled his interest in development and true local problem-solving.
Bart lives on the shore of Lake Champlain in Burlington with his wife Sabrina, son Liam, step-daughter Olivia and Emma the dog. He works from the Grassroots Fund’s satellite location in Burlington (VT) and shares office space with the Center for Whole Communities right on Lake Champlain. As Director of Operations, Bart focuses on a variety of tasks ranging from strategic program development to fundraising, and from Grow grant program review to Local Food-related research and network participation. His main focus has been on the participatory process, ensuring protocols and practices throughout the organization center equity.
Bart has served as president on the board of the VT Community Garden Network from 2007 to 2012. He is currently involved with a start-up collaborative brew pub and is engaging in conversations to launch permablitzes with a particular focus on class, privilege and equity around Chittenden County.
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