Green Mountain College by itself cannot influence broad economic factors that have created wide income disparity in the United States. But GMC takes its commitment to social sustainability seriously. To address the problem of income inequity at home, the Green Mountain Community Income Equity Fund (CIEF) was established in 2013 with the support of the College administration. CIEF invites higher earning workers at GMC to voluntarily contribute funds to benefit other workers in our community who earn less than the hourly livable wage.
Why is the CIEF important?
While per capita income in the U.S. has risen 90% between 1970 and today, the benefits of increased economic production have not been evenly distributed. Shares received by low and middle-income workers have declined as measured in inflation-adjusted dollars. During the past 40 years, the minimum wage also decreased 11% in real dollars. This has resulted in the greatest income disparity between top and bottom earners since the Great Depression. It has also created a system of eroding social capital in the U.S. that can be compared to our current ecological crisis.
How does CIEF address the problem?
Sustainability begins at home. As the College has done through environmental initiatives aimed at reducing our carbon footprint, it is creating solutions to social problems through conscious choice. The livable wage for a single adult in Vermont is estimated to be between $15.23 and $16.41 per hour. Some full-time employees in the GMC community (including GMC, Chartwells, and UGL) make well below that income level. By inviting employees earning higher wages or salaries to contribute to a fund that compensates workers earning less than a living wage, the College is making a very real commitment to social sustainability as expressed in the 8-year master plan Sustainability 2020. CIEF also creates an opportunity for members of the GMC community to express values of social sustainability in ways that directly help their neighbors. Participation is completely voluntary.
How can someone contribute to the CIEF?
Contact Janie Evans in Human Resources.