Who We Are

Flexible Capital Fund Board of Directors

Flex Fund Background

The Flexible Capital Fund, L3C (Flex Fund) is a low profit, limited liability company launched in 2011. Managed by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, the Flex Fund is supported by 38 investor members committed to helping small and innovative growth-stage companies in the green economy stay and grow in Vermont.

The Flex Fund recognizes that companies in rural areas, like Vermont, tend to be smaller and work on a less than global scale. These rural companies may need a form of “equity” to fuel growth but need it in lesser amounts and perhaps at lower returns than traditional venture capital requires. The Flex Fund offers Vermont financing which balances equity features and returns with the realities of Vermont’s small business environment.

Technical assistance, mentoring, and access to networks go hand in hand with flexible risk capital to meet Vermont early and growth stage companies’ needs. The Flex Fund offers access to the CEO advisory services and a breadth of other business and leadership networks essential to the sustainable growth of a business.

Mission

The Flex Fund’s mission is to invest in growing Vermont companies that fill a gap, or strengthen the supply chain in sustainable agriculture and food systems, forest products, renewable energy, clean technology, and other natural resource sectors. By helping our portfolio companies grow their businesses, we accelerate the rate at which Vermont, and the region, moves towards healthy food systems, renewable energy, and climate change solutions, while preserving Vermont’s working landscapes and building resilient communities.

The Team

Janet St. Onge

Janice St. Onge, President, Flexible Capital Fund, L3C. Board Manager since 2010.

Janice St. Onge is President of the Flexible Capital Fund, L3C (“Flex Fund”), a mission based investment fund providing flexible risk capital to Vermont’s food system, forestry and clean technology businesses. As President of the Flex Fund, Janice manages all facets of the Fund’s operations, including raising capital, deal flow, due diligence, and portfolio / financial management. Janice brings economic and business development as well as financial expertise to the organization, having served in the technology, financial services, higher education and state government sectors during her 25+ year career. Previously, Janice served as Director of the Vermont Business Center (now the Center for Innovation & Leadership) at the University of Vermont and was the Technology Business Development Director for Vermont’s Department of Economic Development. She received the 2001 National Tibbetts Award in recognition for her outreach work with the Small Business Innovation Research program in Vermont. As Assistant Vice President at Peoples Bank, she originated and managed a $21 million commercial loan portfolio. Janice is a graduate of the University of Utah with a B.A. in Marketing and is an alumnus of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute. Janice is a 2018-19 Fellow of the RSF Social Finance’s Integrated Capital Institute. She recently helped launch the Vermont Women’s Investors Network, and serves on the Vermont Small Business Development Center Advisory Board. She is a founding member of Slow Money Vermont’s Organizing Committee. A Stowe, Vermont resident, Janice was co-founder of the Stowe Energy and Climate Action Network and is a former International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup Freestyle Skiing Judge.

Board of Managers

The Fund Board of Managers has authority over certain Company actions such as the adoption of the Company’s budget and the approval of loan transactions, expenditures and investments in portfolio companies. Currently, the Board of Managers consists of three Class A Managers and two Class B Managers. Additional officers include President and Secretary. Names and biographies of the Fund Board Managers are detailed below.

Christine Donovan

Director of Business Strategy and Managing Consultant, Vermont Energy Investment Corp. Board Manager since 2011.

Christine has more than 25 years of experience working in the renewable energy industry, and is recognized nationally for her knowledge and experience in solar, biomass, wind, and other renewable energy technologies. Christine joined VEIC in 2008 as a Managing Consultant and Senior Member of the Consulting Division. Previously, she was Founder and President of C.T. Donovan Associates, Inc., a for profit renewable energy consulting firm formed in 1986. The mission of her company was to support the development of renewable energy projects throughout the US, and the company helped achieve more than 435 MW of renewable energy on-line through their work. Christine previously served as the Executive Director of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (the largest statewide solar energy industries association in the nation), and managed the launch of the New York State School Power Naturally Program (the largest solar on schools project in the nation). She has managed more than 100 environmental and renewable energy consulting contracts involving diverse and multi-disciplinary teams. Christine is a Founding Board Member of the Renewable Energy Policy Project based in Washington, DC, and has served on national renewable energy task forces appointed by former President Clinton, the Electric Power Research Institute, and national environmental organizations. She was the first woman selected nationally as a distinguished Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society, and was the first recipient of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association’s Industry Professional of the Year Award in 2008. Christine has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Hampshire College, Amherst, MA.

Jed Kalkstein

CFO / Strategic Management Consultant. Board Manager since 2011.

Jed Kalkstein possesses a diverse background that includes operating roles in executive management of startup and growth stage companies, turnarounds, and venture capital investing and has participated on several corporate and non-profit boards of directors. Jed is currently contract CFO for SmartEquip, in addition to offering a range of finance and operations support to growing companies. Mr. Kalkstein was a partner at Connecticut Innovations, Inc., a state-affiliated venture capital fund. Prior to Connecticut Innovations, he was a strategic consulting and corporate development professional at Arch Chemicals and served three years as a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Justice in both the policy and legislative affairs offices. Mr. Kalkstein graduated with honors from Hobart College and received a BA in Philosophy and Political Science and holds an MBA from the School of Management at Yale University.

Louisa Schibli

Co-Founder, Milk Money Vermont. Elected as of April 2019.

Ms. Schibli is an experienced entrepreneur, forward thinker and creative problem solver. She’s used technology as a way to introduce new online communities and markets. Her recent role as co-founder and CEO of Milk Money Vermont, an online equity crowd-funding platform connecting all Vermonters with opportunities to invest in Vermont businesses, included not only creating the platform but also the development and education of a new market. In 2017, Milk Money won Vermont Businesses For Social Responsibility’s (VBSR) Innovation and Inspiration Award. Her recent area of focus has been in the funding ecosystem for Vermont businesses by connecting the players while educating businesses of their funding options in a centralized place. Ms. Schibli successfully guided Milk Money through its recent acquisition by The Vermont Innovation Commons where she continues to pursue ways to grow the Community Capital movement and ways the Milk Money platform can support this effort. She is a founding member of the Vermont Women’s Investor Network (WIN) that supports female investors and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Vermont. Having living abroad for 12 years, Ms. Schibli developed and launched the first online database for English speaking expats living in Switzerland. As an early adapter of using the internet to share knowledge and information, she facilitated over a hundred businesses to create their first online presence. Ms. Schibli is a graduate of the University of Vermont, with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. She sits on the Boards of the Refugee Outreach Committee, Launch VT and The Charlotte News. She is a recipient of the VBSR Inspiration and Innovation Award for Milk Money Vermont.

Dorothy Suput

Founder and Executive Director, The Carrot Project. Board Manager since 2012.

Dorothy Suput is the founder and executive director of The Carrot Project. Dorothy’s commitment to a sustainable food system grew out of the incredible contrasts between Midwestern agriculture, with which she grew up, and the locally focused food and farming system in Switzerland, where she lived after graduating with a BS from Purdue University. Dorothy formalized her commitment when she returned to the U.S. to complete her Master’s degree, from Tufts University’s Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program, by focusing on sustainable agriculture and non-profit management. Following graduate school, she worked as the first regional organizer on the 1995 Farm Bill for the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group under the auspices of the Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, and subsequently, as a consultant for the Hartford Food System, Red Tomato, and The Food Project. She is an Advisory Board member for the Better Harvest Federal Credit Union (in organization).

Investment Committee

The Investment Committee serves to review and recommend for approval to the Board of Managers investment opportunities. The IC has the capacity to recommend – or not recommend – investments to the Board, but does not have decision making authority. The IC serves as a means to support and strengthen due diligence in the investment process. The following serve on the Investment Committee:

Tammy Newmark

Tammy E. Newmark, CEO and Managing Partner, EcoEnterprises Fund.

A leader in impact investing, Tammy Newmark has over thirty years of experience in the field. Newmark launched EcoEnterprises Partners II, LP in 2012 under EcoEnterprises Capital Management, LLC in which she is a partner. She served as President of Fondo EcoEmpresas, S.A., EcoEnterprises Fund’s first fund under management, for The Nature Conservancy from 1998 to 2010. Newmark directed Technoserve, Inc.’s environmental business advisory services in Latin America and Africa. Prior to that, she was a founding officer of Environmental Enterprises Assistance Fund, the first venture fund that specialized in renewable energy, clean technology, and green investments in emerging markets. She established investment groups: Yayasan Bina Usaha Lingkungan and Preferred Energy Investments in Indonesia and the Philippines, respectively. She has also worked for the International Finance Corporation and JPMorgan Chase. Newmark is co-author of Portfolio for the Planet: Lessons from 10 years of impact investing, (Earthscan/Routledge Press, 2011). Newmark has an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

John Kingston

CEO of Butternut Mountain Farm, an industry leader in the production and packing of maple syrup and related products.

Butternut Mountain Farm is in its 5th decade of operation as an industry leader in maple. Prior to joining Butternut Mountain Farm, John was one of three founding members of Tangram Partners, LLC, a financial consulting firm providing CFO services, transactional assistance for M&A and capital raising, turnaround and problem resolution, and business valuation. He brings strong financial and banking experience, having served 9 years as Sr. Vice President – Commercial Banking at Key Bank, where he oversaw commercial banking activities for Key Bank’s district covering New Hampshire, Vermont and Northeastern New York. John worked extensively with credit underwriting, capital market, treasury management and investment banking divisions. John is a graduate of University of Connecticut School of Business, and received his Masters in Finance from Bentley University. John is a CPA and a Certified Valuation Analyst.