Treasurer Pieciak, M&T Bank Join Vermont Network in Financial Literacy Partnership | Office of the State Treasurer Skip to main content

Treasurer Pieciak, M&T Bank Join Vermont Network in Financial Literacy Partnership

February 6, 2024

Montpelier, VT - Today, State Treasurer Mike Pieciak stood with Governor Phil Scott; Karen Tronsgard-Scott, Executive Director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence; Ari Menard, Advocate from Cricle Vermont; and Heidi Stumpff, Vermont Regional President of M&T Bank to announce a financial literacy partnership to support survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. 

Governor Scott issued a proclamation recognizing Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 as Domestic and Sexual Violence Awareness Week.

“Alarmingly, domestic violence is rising around the country, and we must double down on prevention efforts, and supporting victims,” said Governor Scott. “This program launched by the Treasurer, the Vermont Network, and M&T Bank will be an important tool to help survivors, and I want to thank each of them for their hard work, collaboration, and commitment to the wellbeing of Vermonters.”

The initiative is a significant step toward addressing the long-term impacts of domestic and sexual violence, with financial empowerment playing a pivotal role. While poverty is not a predictor of sexual or domestic violence, it amplifies risk factors and can limit survivors' ability to achieve security. 

“Economic instability is one of the primary barriers to safety and healing for victims of domestic and sexual violence,” said Karen Tronsgard-Scott, Exeuctive Director of the Vermont Network. “This important partnership demonstrates that the non-profit sector, state government partners, and businesses can come together for good to help address the important issues of domestic and sexual violence in our state.”

The M&T Charitable Foundation has committed a $100,000 financial grant and volunteers to support the partnership and will work with the Vermont Network to provide a series of financial empowerment trainings to domestic and sexual violence advocates from Vermont Network Member Organizations. The train-the-trainer model aims to build capacity within Vermont’s workforce of domestic and sexual violence advocates. The trainings will focus on credit-building, budgeting, pathways to homeownership, and saving for retirement. M&T Bank is the State of Vermont’s designated bank.

“M&T is thrilled to be part of this partnership with the Vermont Network and the Office of the Vermont State Treasurer,” said Heidi Stumpff, Vermont Regional President, M&T Bank. “Through our financial commitment, we hope to raise awareness about the importance financial literacy has on domestic and sexual violence. Our team embraces the opportunity to provide this critical training and one-to-one support through the 15 advocate agencies throughout Vermont and support to survivors as they build financial self-confidence and independence.”

Funding will also support a mini-grant program available to Vermont Network member organizations that send an advocate to the training. In addition, the program will include a financial match product available to survivors, offering matching funds to participants who put savings toward wealth-building assets. It is designed to incentivize saving and enhance money management skills.

“By supporting the state’s advocate workforce, and empowering survivors with resources to support their future, this initiative will support the financial wellness of some of Vermont’s most vulnerable,” said Treasurer Pieciak. “I’m grateful for the Vermont Network and M&T Bank in this partnership which recognizes the pivotal role of financial literacy in ensuring we can all live safe and healthy lives and determine our own financial futures.”

The program is set to be launched in March 2024. To learn more contact the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.