Board of Directors


Rick Davis is President and Co-Founder of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, and President and Founder of the Davis Company. He is currently a board member of Champlain College and the High Meadows Fund and is a past board member of the King Street Center and Mobius. He was named Vermont Philanthropist of the Year in 2006; won the Excellence in Philanthropy award from the Vermont Community Foundation in 2015; and won the Vermont Lifetime Leadership Award from the Vermont Council on Rural Development in 2016.

Rick is a former U.S. naval officer and an avid sculptor. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Colorado, Denver. He currently resides in Stowe, where he loves spending time with his grandson.


Tom MacLeay, a former President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of National Life, is currently Lead Director of the Board of National Life Group. He joined National Life in 1976 as a Security Analyst, rapidly advancing through the management ranks and serving in pivotal positions at critical times in the company’s growth and expansion. He became President and Chief Operating Officer in 1996 and in 2002 he was named Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. He retired as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2008. He stepped down as Chairman in 2017 and assumed the position of Lead Director. Mr. MacLeay is a past Chairman of the Board of Sentinel Group Funds, Inc., chairs the National Life Charitable Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors of Union Mutual Fire Insurance Company, eSec Lending, Inc.

Prior to joining National Life, Mr. MacLeay served as a pilot as well as a management analyst and officer in the U.S. Air Force. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors, from Denison University in 1971 and earned a Master's degree in Business Administration the following year from the University of Denver.


Cheryl Mitchell is a consultant for NOFA (the Northeast Organic Farming Association) and the Agency of Education. She serves on the Boards of Nomadicare, Beacon Hill Friends House and Treleven. Previously, Cheryl worked at Mary Johnson Children’s Center, co-founded the Addison County Parent/Child Center, served as Vermont’s Deputy of Agency of Human Services, and worked at the University of Vermont and People of Addison County Together.

Cheryll attended Swarthmore College, UVM, and the Union Institute and University, but most of her learning has come from experience. She worked with others to create the Addison County Community Trust, several childcare programs, the Vermont Parent/Child Center Network, the local branch of CCV, the Addison County Farmworkers Coalition, and the Addison County Dental Clinic.


Jennifer Williams is a Joint Venture Partner with Norwich Partners, a hotel development company that builds properties in New England and Florida. She is also Executive Director of the Children’s Fund of the Upper Valley, which benefits children’s’ charities in the local area. Ms. Williams worked in higher education fundraising for 13 years, 11 of them with Dartmouth College. She managed the College’s New York office for Special Gifts from 1990-96 and the Dartmouth College Fund from 1996-99; she served as Associate Director of Development from 1999-2003.

Jennifer has served as the overseer of the Hopkins Center for Performing Arts at Dartmouth College; Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Montessori School of Hanover, New Hampshire; Chair of the Working Group for the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth; Chair of the Advisory Board of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Upper Valley Region; Trustee of the Children's Literacy Foundation; Trustee of WISE; trustee of the Montshire Museum of Science; and Member of the Upper Valley Land Trust Advisory Committee. Jennifer graduated from Dartmouth College with honors in French in 1985 and holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.


Lynette Fraga is Executive Director at Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) one of the nation’s leading voices on child care in policy, practice, and research. As an authority on child development, Dr. Fraga serves in an advisory capacity on a number of national panels and committees including the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Early Childhood (COEC), the Institute of Medicine Early Care and Education Collaborative, Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Steering Committee, NAEYC’s Power to the Profession Task Force, and the Early Care and Education Innovation Collaborative (ECE IC). In addition, she serves on the boards of Generations United, All Our Kin, and the Children’s Leadership Council (CLC).

Dr. Fraga began her career in early childhood as a teacher in infant, toddler and preschool classrooms. Fraga has since held positions at the local, state, and national level within the nonprofit, corporate, and higher education sectors. including Vice President of Early Care and Special Populations for, Chief Program Officer at ZERO TO THREE (ZTT) and several leadership roles within the Early Head Start National Resource Center.

Dr. Fraga holds a doctoral degree in Family Studies from Kansas State University, a master’s degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of Arizona.


Buzz Schmidt is Chairman of the F.B. Heron Foundation and leads Retreat Farm, Ltd., a nonprofit that is conserving an historic institutional farm in Vermont and repurposing it to support sustainable lands-based enterprise. He founded and led GuideStar USA and subsequently GuideStar International over a twenty-year period. These organizations report the work of the world’s nonprofit organizations at online repositories in several countries.

Buzz was named US Nonprofit Executive of the Year by The Nonprofit Times in 1999; one of six visionary leaders in philanthropy by Time in 2001; and one of the 25 individuals who most shaped the nonprofit sector over the past 25 years by The Nonprofit Times in 2012. Buzz is a graduate of Princeton (AB-History) and Stanford (MBA and MA Education), and serves on the board of the Vermont Council on Rural Development.


As chief executive officer and president of the Vermont Community Foundation, Dan Smith brings experience in public service, organizational planning and development, as well as a strong legal background.

Smith began his career as a law clerk in the Vermont Supreme Court and then practiced law at Downs Rachlin Martin before taking a position with the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, where he led economic development efforts while crafting state and regional strategies to make key industry sectors more successful.

He also worked for a business management consulting company in Stowe before moving on to serve as director of community relations and public policy at Vermont State Colleges, where he developed and executed the institution’s state and federal public policy agenda.

Most recently, Smith served as president of Vermont Technical College, where he has strengthened the college’s financial picture and led a reorganization of college curriculum while deepening partnerships with employers in key state industries.

Smith, an eighth-generation Vermonter who grew up in central Vermont, holds a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law.


A pediatrician and medical geneticist, Alan was director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development from 2009 to 2015, overseeing work by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on child health, learning, and development, and maternal and reproductive health. He earlier served as deputy director of the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute from 2002 to 2008, and as acting director from 2008 to 2009. From 1987 to 1999, Alan was director of the Vermont Regional Genetics Center at the University of Vermont College of Medicine where, among other projects, he founded Vermont’s only pediatric intensive care unit. He also served as board chair of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and of the Guttmacher Institute, and as a board member of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, he is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Emeritus Board Members:

Tom Johnson
Carl Ferenbach
David Rahr*
Con Hogan*

*Posthumous Emeritus

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