Generator and Mercy Connections get BTV Ignite grants

Awards are the first funded through the City of Burlington’s agreement with Burlington Telecom and grant $50,000 to local nonprofits focused on technical skill advancement, STEM education and workforce development

Vermont Business Magazine BTV Ignite, a public/private partnership in Burlington, announced the first two recipients of the City of Burlington and Burlington Telecom STEM and Technical Skill Fund grants. Following a rigorous application review process, the BTV Ignite board selected Generator, a design and fabrication consortium for entrepreneurs, and Mercy Connections, an educational organization that creates opportunities for women, to receive $30,000 and $20,000 respectively. The nonprofits were chosen for their demonstrated focus on helping to start and grow new businesses, create new jobs, and promote the skills needed to fill them in Burlington; and, for their demonstrated success in supporting youth and historically disadvantaged communities in Burlington.

BTV Ignite was founded in 2014 after Burlington was selected to be a US Ignite gigabit community because of its Burlington Telecom infrastructure. Municipalities across the country were chosen as US Ignite cities for leveraging their fiber optic gigabit network platforms to improve local quality of life, facilitating economic opportunities while promoting strong communities.

From left to right: Adam Roof, Director BTV Ignite; Nick Martin, Business Development Manager, Burlington Telecom; Lisa Falcone, Executive Director, Mercy Connections; Lisa Wood, Director Women’s Small Business Program, Mercy Connections; Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger; Mike Loucy, President and General Manager, Burlington Telecom.

The 2019 winners were recognized for supporting the BTV Ignite and the STEM and Technical Skill Fund’s joint mission of helping take advantage of Burlington Telecom’s city-wide fiber optic gigabit network infrastructure to unlock opportunity and drive sustainable economic and community development that benefits all residents.

“In very unique and different ways, both Generator and Mercy Connections are making valuable contributions to our future,” said Burlington City Councilor and BTV Ignite Project Manager Adam Roof. “I know they will put the funds to great use and am confident that working together, we will ensure Burlington remains a great place to live, work and create.”

The STEM and Technical Skill Fund was one of two funds established with the recent sale of Burlington Telecom. Together, the two funds will re-invest a total of at least $3 million over ten years in the Burlington community, as a result of the transfer terms secured by Mayor Weinberger and the City Council. The STEM funds are granted to organizations teaching technical skills and supporting STEM education for Burlington youth, and creating new economic opportunities for Burlington workforce members. The local support fund will grant $50,000 annually through 2029 under the administration and management of BTV Ignite. The second fund, the BT Innovation Fund, will make $250,000 in direct business investments annually in the community over the same timeframe.

“These awards are yet another benefit of the City successfully saving Burlington Telecom, on top of restoring the City’s financial standing, saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and ensuring high-speed internet choice for many years to come,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “It is exciting to know that these funds will expand the City’s efforts to support women entrepreneurs and build STEM skills among our youth.”

2020 winner Generator is a makerspace and business incubator offering a combination of artist studios, classrooms, and resources celebrating art, science, and technology. Its mission is to enable members to create, collaborate and turn their ideas into reality. Mercy Connections is an organization committed to nurturing self-sufficiency through education, mentoring, entrepreneurship and community, ensuring women are empowered to make significant life changes. Offerings include an Education and Transition Program, a Justice and Mentoring Program, and a Women’s Small Business program.

“Burlington Telecom is proud to provide the city and surrounding areas with the world-class digital infrastructure that supports a thriving environment where businesses are launching, growing and innovating every day,” said Mike Loucy, general manager for Burlington Telecom and member of the board of directors for BTV Ignite. “We applaud all the organizations advancing technical innovation locally and thank everyone who applied.”

About BTV Ignite
BTV Ignite is focused on bringing together the energy, resources, and values of the Burlington, Vermont community to create opportunities to start and grow new businesses, create new jobs and promote the skills needed to fill them. The nonprofit provides STEM experiences for students, helps launch ‘smart’ city initiatives, and ensures these opportunities are inclusive and accessible for everyone. BTV Ignite is sponsored by the leading government, business, and academic stakeholders of Burlington. Founded in 2014, BTV Ignite was created to help take advantage of Burlington's city-wide fiber optic gigabit network infrastructure and unlock the potential of this world-class digital resource to drive sustainable economic and community development. Learn more at

About Burlington Telecom
Burlington Telecom is Burlington, Vermont's only 100 percent fiber-optic network, focused on providing transparent pricing and the best customer service. Burlington Telecom is a core institutional partner for BTV Ignite, supporting the creation of a sustainable tech eco-system aimed at generating new, well-paying jobs in Burlington and providing professional careers for young Vermonters.

Source: Burlington, Vt. – February 7, 2020, – BTV Ignite