Brenda Torpy to Step Down as CEO

Posted on Monday, July 20, 2020, by Chris Donnelly

The Champlain Housing Trust’s Board of Directors announced today that CEO Brenda Torpy will step down at the end of 2020 after leading the organization for nearly 30 years, and that current Chief Operating and Financial Officer Michael Monte will be hired as its next CEO beginning in January, 2021.

Torpy was a founding member of the organization over 35 years ago when she worked in the office of Mayor Bernie Sanders and its first Board President. In these roles she was trailblazer for a new type of affordable housing called a Community Land Trust, which grew locally and more recently, across the globe. CHT is the largest Community Land Trust in the world.

“When Brenda announced her decision to step down as CEO at the end of 2020, the Board of Directors of Champlain Housing Trust knew immediately what an important moment this was after her many years at the helm of CHT,” said Bob Robbins, President of the Board. “All of us recognize and our grateful for the tremendous contributions that she has made and continues to make to Vermont communities as an internationally recognized leader and advocate for affordable housing and social justice.”

When Torpy took over leadership of the organization in 1992, it had created almost 50 homes, mostly in Burlington. Today, CHT counts over 3,000 homes of all types throughout northwestern Vermont serving people experiencing homelessness, homes for people with special needs, affordable apartments for the working class, and a pioneering, shared equity homeownership program that removes financial hurdles for buyers while creating housing that is permanently affordable. 

It is this last program that helped earn CHT the United Nations World Habitat Award in 2008, and sparked the model’s spread internationally. 

“It’s been the honor of my life to build this organization as a leader in our communities and in the field of affordable housing. I’ve been fortunate to have an opportunity help to build the Community Land Trust movement across the US and in other countries – work that I look forward to continuing,” said Torpy. “I am thrilled that Michael will be here to continue advancing a lot of the work we’ve done together over more than three decades. Knowing how resilient the organization will continue to be under his leadership makes this transition easier.”

“Michael will help us build on Brenda’s visionary leadership and ensure a seamless change through uncertain times,” added Robbins. “His commitment to the mission of CHT, his long record of innovative achievement, his strong connections to our Vermont partners, and internal board and staff relationships, all convince us that he is the best leader to navigate this historic transition.”

“It’s an honor to be asked to lead the Champlain Housing Trust and build upon Brenda’s leadership,” said Monte. “It’s a challenge I look forward to tackling with the support and participation of the Board, our dedicated staff, our volunteers and this great community.”

The Champlain Housing Trust is a Community Land Trust that supports the people of northwest Vermont and strengthens their communities through the development and stewardship of permanently affordable homes and related community assets. Founded in 1984, it is the largest Community Land Trust in the country. Throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, CHT manages approximately 2,400 apartments, stewards 628 owner-occupied homes in its signature shared-equity program, offers homebuyer education and financial fitness counseling to more than 1,000 people annually, provides services to five housing cooperatives, and offers affordable energy efficiency and rehab loans.


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Jimmer Mackinnon 20-Jul-2020 11:13 AM

Very Impressive read here and HERE"S TO YOU BOTH Brenda and Michael! Wow, it is big news and I for one have been blessed with the help given me nearly 13 years ago for my "Off Grid" well and septic systems, as well as a bit of help charging the home's solar charging system via a back up generator that runs an industrial 48V DC charger for the battery bank that supplies the current that allows me to have electricity.That beautiful charger has pulled me thru many a short daylight winter day! My VERY GREEN septic system is the centerpiece of your generosity, Which returns crystal clear water back to the Earth, not the standard brown leachate.... Last and not least you helped me with well repair of a newly drilled well...
SO, MANY thanks and I am now working diligently as possible to repay what was borrowed at the best pace I can muster!
I hope this business model catches on more and more!

Mark Maloney 20-Jul-2020 11:49 AM

What a super star you are. I can’t tell you what an honor and privilege it was to work with and learn from you. Your are one of Vermont’s best.

Elizabeth Alonzo-Villarreal 21-Jul-2020 12:07 PM

Brenda, what an accomplishment and impact you have made on the many families you have served. It has been an honor knowing you recently and I wish you all the best in the world on your future endeavors.

Nancy Owens 30-Jul-2020 04:04 PM

To Brenda and Michael and the Board of Champlain Housing Trust,
Congratulations to you all on this transition. Under Brenda's leadership CHT has become a national and international model. In Vermont and particularly in my hometown of Burlington, CHT's presence has made it possible for low and moderate income people to have safe and decent housing. I'm so glad that we've been long time partners with CHT and I'm looking forward to seeing more great work under Michael's leadership.

gwen donovan 03-Aug-2020 08:20 AM

You will be missed. A remarkable journey by an amazing woman who has trail blazed, carving a path for so many in need. Eternal Gratitude.

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