Ellen Kahler became the Executive Director in late 2005 of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF), which uses early-stage grant funding, technical assistance, and near-equity loans (through its Flexible Capital Fund, L3C) to catalyze and accelerate the development of markets for sustainably produced goods and services in Vermont. VSJF initiated the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan, a 10-year road map for strengthening Vermont’s farm and food economy. It also coordinates the Farm to Plate Network, a statewide organizational 120+ member effort to implement the F2P Strategic Plan. Prior to joining VSJF, Ms. Kahler was Executive Director of the Peace & Justice Center in Burlington (1990 to 2002). Her most well-known work through the Peace & Justice Center—the Vermont Job Gap Study and the Vermont Livable Wage Campaign—won statewide attention around the issue of basic family needs, livable wages, and underemployment.
In 2004 Ellen created and directed the Peer to Peer Collaborative (P2P). In 2006 the Collaborative became a core technical assistance program of VSJF, whose new Vermont Agriculture Development Program builds off the P2P model by providing wrap-around technical assistance and expansion capital mobilization to early stage value-added agricultural enterprises. Ellen currently serves on the Board of the Sustainable Forest Futures and the Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council. She previously served on the Board of Directors of the Clean Energy Development Fund (2009-2011), Vermont Works for Women (2007-2011), the Vermont Community Foundation (2001-2009), the Advisory Board of the Vermont Small Business Development Center (2008-2009), the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Rural Vermont Energy Council (2006-2007), and as a Commissioner on the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (1998-2002).
She is a graduate of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Political Science and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a Masters in Public Administration.