VERMONT ARTS COUNCIL CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF SUPPORTINGTHE “CREATIVE ECONOMY”Arts Council applauds today’s release of “Advancing Vermont’s CreativeEconomy”by the Vermont Council on Rural DevelopmentMontpelier, Vt. (October 4, 2004) The release today of “AdvancingVermont’s Creative Economy” by the Vermont Council on Rural Development clearly shows that there are social and economic benefits to investing in the arts and culture. According to the report, communities that have thriving cultural centers are more likely to attract business and entrepreneurs than those that do not. The Vermont Arts Council has been working under this premise 1964 and, coincidentally, will begin at year-long celebration of its 40th anniversary this month.”The release of this report couldn’t come at a better time,” said artist, teacher, and Chair of the Arts Council’s board of trustees, Irwin Gelber of Barnet. “Next week, on October 16th at Marlboro College, the Council will kick off the celebration of its 40th Anniversary. It is a great anniversary gift to have this public recognition of what we, who work in the arts, have always known: The arts are central to our quality of life. The arts play a major and often pivotal role in our economy and perhaps most importantly, the arts are a priority in our children’s education.”In addition to providing individual grants and awards to Vermont artists, the Arts Council promotes enduring ways to make the arts a part of all Vermont communities, bringing enjoyment and inspiration to citizens and visitors in all corners of the state. To accomplish this, the Arts Council partners with other public benefit organizations at the local, state and national level, as well as with the private sector in education, human services, and economic development.The Cultural Facilities Grant Program is just one example of how the Arts Council supports a “creative economy.” The Cultural Facilities Grant Program, which is funded by the Legislature and administered by the Vermont Arts Council, provides grants for the improvement of community facilities that provide cultural activities. Recipients of Cultural Facilities Grants include: the Vergennes Opera House, the renovation of which sparked a renewal of the entire downtown area; improvements to the stage lighting at Damon Hall in Hartland; and the addition of accessible restrooms to the Hardwick Town House in the Northeast Kingdom. The “Advancing Vermont’s Creative Economy” report recommends a 400% increase in funding for this grant program from its current $50,000 level to $200,000 annually.”The Cultural Facilities Grant Program is ‘the little engine that could’ of downtown redevelopment and community renaissance,” said Alex Aldrich, Executive Director of the Vermont Arts Council. “Most of the grants we award go toward the improvement of historical buildings in the heart of Vermont’s communities so that a greater variety of cultural activities can be provided to the people of those communities.”Aldrich also sees huge potential in the report’s recommendation #8 that Vermont’s state economists “Track and Report the Impact of the State’s Creative Economy.” “For years, those of us in the arts, humanities, and preservation fields, have seen the impact of our work on community development. Now we have an independent and authoritative voice advocating that this sector deserves public research and investment,” said Aldrich.The Vermont Arts Council was founded in 1964 with a mission to support artists and strengthen the role of the arts in the lives of people and communities. The Council fosters classical, traditional, and emerging forms of artistic expression by functioning as a community partner and a catalyst for artists and organizations. It offers professional development opportunities and technical advice, collects and disseminates arts information, and acts as the state’s foremost arts advocate. For more information about the Vermont Arts Council or its 40th Anniversary Celebration, please call (802) 828-5422 or visit www.vermontartscouncil.org(link is external).Executive SummaryThe creative economy is critical to the future competitiveness of Vermont in the global marketplace. Vermonts heritage, arts and culture are integral strengths. They are an economic sector in Vermont today; they also provide a foundation to the sense of place and creative workforce critical to innovation in other sectors, add value to the Vermont brand, and magnify the attractive power of Vermont as a location to do business. The creative economy is a hidden economic driver, one that deserves understanding, recognition, and investment.The Vermont Council on Culture and Innovation (VCCI) was convened in May 2003 by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. VCCIs charge was to evaluate the role of and challenges to the creative economy in the state and to build a practical and strategic plan for its advancement. This Action Plan is the product of that work. This report makes specific recommendations for how to grow the States creative economy as a vital and complementary part of the states economy as a whole. These recommendations encourage collaboration among Vermonts private sector, cultural organizations, and local, state, and federal government to use Vermonts cultural resources to spark and leverage community and economic development. It documents seventeen recommendations in the four areas listed below that the Governors adminis-tration,Legislature, and public and private partners are encouraged to undertake to expand innovation, enhance community life, attract and encourage entrepreneurs, build Vermonts market identity, and stimulate job growth. Support the Growth of Creative Enterprises by expanding markets, unifying promotion, enhancing the Vermont brand, producing celebratory events, building a Vermont artists and artisans market identity, and providing technical support and access to capital for culturally-based businesses and creative entrepreneurs. Promote and Document the Roles that Creativity, Culture, and Innovation Play in Vermonts Economic Future by tracking and reporting this economic sector, reinforcing arts and heritage education, and instituting a statewide public information campaign.Invest in Communities so They May Build on their Past while Adapting for a Vibrant Future by making culture and heritage priority community investments, supporting historic town and village centers, expanding cultural facilities funding, and encouraging creative entrepreneurial development in vacant industrial space. Develop Vermonts Creative Economy through Community-Based Planning and Improved Statewide Collaboration by facilitating locally designed creative economy projects, building a collaborative umbrella between statewide cultural organizations, and establishing a nonpartisan Governors Commission to provide leadership for the growth of Vermonts creative economy.:Evidence shows that public and private investment in creative enterprises yields favorable economic and social returns,producing jobs and supporting communities.:The development of the creative economy in Vermont is not limited by geography,topography,demographics,or population density.It can play a vital role in every corner of the state.:Just as Vermont was a leader in the manufacturing of things, it is now poised to be a leader in the production of ideas. Like any promising economic sector,the creative economy will need policies and incentives to support its growth.:Strengthening the creative sector will take a long-term and incremental effort.However,pressing needs must be addressed now in order to assure its future competitiveness.:Creative and stimulating communities attract and retain young people.This is a key concern in Vermont,where the loss of its youth to other regions is an historic challenge.:The emerging jobs market places a premium on creative problem solving,yet these skills are not taught consistently throughout Vermont s education system.www.kse50.com/vcci_report.pdf(link is external)
Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), Germany’s largest statutory health insurer, plans to set up its own external pension fund to be able to take advantage of greater investment freedom.It wants the pension fund to be ready by the beginning of 2020 at the latest, and is currently seeking external consultancy help with the project.TK has around 13,000 employees and 2,200 pensioners, and around 900 former employees with vested benefits. It currently pays pension benefits directly from its balance sheet when they fall due – the ‘Direktzusage’ route to financing pensions – but wants to transfer legacy liabilities from closed schemes to a standalone Pensionsfonds vehicle. It has already ringfenced assets to back up its pension promises via a contractual trust arrangement, ready to be transferred to the new fund. Thomas Thierhoff, Techniker KrankenkasseThomas Thierhoff, head of finance and controlling at TK, told IPE that the main motivation for wanting to transfer pension entitlements to a Pensionsfonds was to be able to invest more broadly.“As an insurer, TK’s investments are subject to rules that are very restrictive,” said Thierhoff. For example, under German law the company can only invest in equities up to a cap of 10%.“With the investment rules for Pensionsfonds we have more possibilities,” he said. Pensionsfonds are allowed to hold more equity and invest in a broader range of countries.Thierhoff said it was much too early to comment about asset allocation, but TK had run calculations based on a few scenarios that showed that higher returns would be possible.In deciding to set up a Pensionsfonds, TK was also partly influenced by the prospect of being able to pay lower contributions to the Pensionssicherungsverein (PSV), Germany’s insolvency pension protection scheme. Operating a Pensionsfonds entitles paying employers to a reduced contribution rate.TK could have opted for an external Pensionsfonds, such as the vehicles set up by consultancies Mercer and Willis Towers Watson, but for several reasons decided to set up its own funding platform.Thierhoff said it found there would be cost advantages in doing so, and the company would also have more influence on investments. TK also wanted to continue to handle pension administration itself. Thierhoff declined to give a figure for the amount of pension liabilities that would be allocated to the Pensionsfonds as this had not yet been determined.TK will not be transferring all its pension liabilities. ‘Past service’ liabilities accrued under a contribution-oriented defined benefit pension plan (beitragsorientierte Leistungszusage) will not be outsourced. Thierhoff said TK had only relatively recently agreed a new pension plan – in 2011 – and as such it was not currently entertaining any ideas about the industry-wide collective defined contribution plans that have been made possible under Germany’s occupational pension reform law. The Betriebsrentenstärkungsgesetz came into effect last month. With around 10m insured individuals and 800,000 company clients, TK is the largest statutory health insurance provider in Germany.
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World record holder Genzebe Dibaba underlined her superiority this season after securing the 1500m title in Beijing at the World Championships.Dibaba has been the front runner of track with a world record in the 1500m secured in Monaco earlier this year. Now she adds a world title on top of the world records she has already claimed – the indoor 1500, 3000 and 5000m events.The peerless Ethiopian runner looked classy and unfazed by the pressure in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in the Chinese capital as he turned up the speed on the second lap to pull clear.Tracked closest by Faith Kipyegon and Dawit Seyaum, Dibaba turned up the pressure with about half of the race to go and she had enough time to enjoy the moment at the finish line. Dibaba finished with a time of 4min 08.09sec, while Kipyegon took silver with 4:09.96.Genzebe has carried on the sporting success from her sister Tirunesh who was an Olympic champion.Now, Dibaba’s focus is on making it a 1500-5000 double triumph. Meanwhile, Kenyan runner David Rudisha snapped up gold in the men’s 800m, showing the kind of form that helped him win the Olympic title in 2012.It’s his first global title in three years.Rudisha led from start-to-finish and timed in at 1min 45.84sec for the victory with Poland’s Adam Kszczot claiming silver in 1:46.08.But the 26-year-old has dealt with a plague of fitness problems since he smashed the world record for 800m at the London Olympic Games. He looked a step closer to his old form at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year, but his success in Beijing is his first World Championship gold in the 800m since 2011.Despite a low-key season, Rudisha was handed a huge opportunity at world gold when pre-race favourite Nijel Amos was ousted in the semi-finals. Amos had beaten Rudisha six times in seven races prior to his surprise elimination on Sunday.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports