Shelburne, Vt. (July 24, 2022) — Former media and newspaper executive, Al Getler, has joined Community Heart & Soul as Vice President of Business Development.
Created by Lyman Orton, a seventh-generation Vermonter and proprietor of The Vermont Country Store, Community Heart & Soul is premised on the notion that all small cities and towns have a distinct Heart & Soul.
“Community Heart & Soul works to create stronger, healthier, and more vibrant smalls cities and towns,” said Mark Sherman, President of Community Hear & Soul. “Al joins our organization to focus on expanding our namesake program to include hundreds of additional small cities and towns across the country.”
Community Heart & Soul is a resident-driven process that engages the entire population of a town in identifying what they love most about their community, what future they want for it, and how to achieve it. Developed and field-tested over a decade in partnership with over 100 small cities and towns across America, Community Heart & Soul is a proven process for engaging a community in shaping its future.
“My career as a newspaper publisher has had me deeply involved in the communities where my family and I have lived,” said Getler. “When I shared my new position with family and friends, they all reacted the same way: Perfect!”
Getler came to Vermont in 2015 as president and publisher of the Burlington Free Press and was the last person to serve in that role before the parent company eliminated the role nationwide. Prior to Vermont, he ran newspapers in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, and Ohio. When he left the Free Press in 2017, Getler traveled throughout North America helping newspapers in small cities and towns develop revenue.
Today, Getler serves as a volunteer firefighter and EMT in South Hero, VT where he also organizes two yearly parades. In the past, Getler formed a non-profit organization that oversaw an $8.5 million restoration of a theater in the downtown of Newark, OH. He states that his parents raised him and his siblings to serve their communities.
“Al’s background, skills, and passion for small town life make him the ideal person for this role. We are excited to have him on our team and know he will be a terrific ambassador and evangelist for Community Heart & Soul,” said Sherman.
Getler looks forward to being back on the road visiting America’s small cities and towns.
“If I have learned one thing in my travels it is that people are proud of where they live. Community Heart & Soul ultimately strengthens the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of small cities and towns. I can’t wait to help bring the program to hundreds of new communities across America.”
About Community Heart & Soul
Community Heart & Soul®, a nonprofit organization, builds stronger, healthier, and more economically vibrant small cities and towns across the United States. In addition to promoting the Community Heart & Soul model, the organization trains and supports a nationwide network of Certified Community Heart & Soul Coaches who provide training and guidance to over 100 local communities. The organization is currently offering $10,000 Seed Grants to qualifying small cities and towns to start the CH&S model.