Introducing Our BRIC Case Studies 

At Siegel Family Endowment, we believe that innovation—whether it is technologically or organizationally driven—can happen anywhere, in any industry, region, or community. However, the foundational elements that support innovation are not accessible to everyone. We strive to support initiatives that are bringing innovative capacity closer to those who are now left out in order to make the rewards of innovative ideas accessible to everyone.

The Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC) in Springfield, Vermont, is a powerful example of community-driven innovation in a rural community that has been impacted by the departure of manufacturing operations and jobs that once centered the local economy. Our case studies explore three key elements of BRIC’s approach: support for emerging tech entrepreneurs; connections with the local community; and partnerships with local and national organizations and institutions.

About BRIC

The Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC) in Springfield, Vermont is the hub of an emerging tech ecosystem in the heart of Vermont’s “Precision Valley,” named for the engineering and design prowess in the machine tool industry that once dominated the area.

BRIC features a physical co-working space that offers support for emerging tech-related businesses including “coffee and bagels Wednesdays,” a state of the art recording studio, conference rooms, an auditorium, and a 10G fiber connection—far faster than regions whose populations dwarf this rural community. BRIC also offers a business incubator that supports emerging entrepreneurs through training, partnerships, and access to early stage investment. 

BRIC works with governmental entities, nonprofits, businesses, and educational institutions to usher in a new era of innovation and sustainable growth in the Precision Valley and serves as a visible example of “placemaking” for Springfield’s Downtown.

About Siegel’s Partnership with BRIC

Since 2017, Siegel Family Endowment has invested in BRIC and helped the organization unlock other sources of funding. Our commitment to BRIC is a powerful example of how philanthropy can operate as society’s risk capital

BRIC is advancing Siegel’s commitment to an equitable innovation economy and community-driven innovation by building a community that is helping to make the Springfield, Vermont region a vibrant and sustainable place to live. Our partnership with BRIC also highlights our commitment to learning from rural America about how to innovate in ways that are tailored to the distinct needs, realities, and cultures of their communities.  

Elements of BRIC

At the heart of all of BRIC’s activities is a commitment to lifting up a once economically vibrant community. BRIC pursues this goal by focusing on people and a commitment to inclusivity:

  • BRIC’s Actuator provides tech entrepreneurs with opportunities to transform their ideas into businesses through a homegrown business and lifestyle curriculum. Participants build relationships with one another, and connect with partners in the Springfield region who can advance their work.

Read the case study on BRIC’s Actuator, including profiles of participants.

  • Community members benefit from interacting with one another in BRIC’s co-working space. Game nights, networking events, battle of the bands, and other gatherings strengthen social ties in Springfield, and help establish a thriving tech ecosystem in the community.  

Read the case study on BRIC’s relationship with the community, including its connections to the Springfield Regional Development Corporation (SRDC).

  • Local partners—including institutions of higher learning and K-12 schools—work with BRIC to develop opportunities for emerging tech entrepreneurs and create programs to train students and area residents on skills needed to succeed in the 21st century economy.

Read the case study on BRIC’s connections with local partners, including the Center for Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and the Vermont Manufacturing Collaborative.

Get Involved in BRIC

There are many ways to get involved with BRIC:

  • Individuals, businesses, and partners in the Springfield, Vermont area can reach out to [email protected] for more information about becoming involved in BRIC’s work.
  • Prospective mentors from any location who would like to serve as advisors to BRIC’s Actuator participants should contact BRIC at [email protected].
  • Potential partners from any location should reach out to BRIC to see how they can get involved at [email protected].
  • Communities looking to apply best practices from BRIC to their own hometown endeavors can contact [email protected].  
  • Learn more about BRIC’s work on their website:

Additionally, as a learning organization ourselves, we hope that you will take this as an invitation—to learn from the work our grantees are leading, and to join with us in understanding how we can support this and other efforts to make a lasting impact across all of our interest areas. We also would like to learn from you, and hope that you’ll share your own journey supporting this important work. 

To that end, if you’d like to have a conversation about our experience working with any of these grantees, or about our work more broadly, please do not hesitate to reach out at [email protected] and we will be happy to have a conversation.

Read the Case Studies