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“Wind in our sails”: The (not-so-mini) impacts of mini-grants to Vermont public schools

As any parent of a school-age child knows firsthand, COVID-19 forced drastic operational changes upon Vermont’s K-12 schools since spring 2020. Educating students while keeping them and school staff safe took different shapes from one district to the next, but a common denominator was additional costs. Whether remote, in-person, or a mixture of both, adapting to the pandemic has meant a lot of unforeseen budget items—creating significant challenges for many school systems already under stress. 

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How can libraries foster community connectivity? Our partnership with the Vermont Department of Libraries

Recognizing the longer timelines and significant public and private funding needs required to build out broadband infrastructure, the Community Foundation also set out to identify a more immediate solution for getting Vermonters on the Internet. And where do many folks go when they lack a connection at home? The library.

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What We've Learned from the VT COVID-19 Response Fund Recovery Initiative Q+A Series

Last September, we announced five recovery initiatives that address key challenges magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic and set the state on a pathway to more equity and greater community and economic resilience in the face of future disruption: Rural Entrepreneurship, Food System Resilience, Rural Connectivity, Learning in Transition, and Welcoming, Equitable, Anti-Racist Communities. Over the past few months, we have interviewed the team leaders for each recovery initiative to understand why the Community Foundation chose to focus on each as part of its pandemic recovery strategy.

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How might MacKenzie Scott's $9 million gift to the Vermont Foodbank influence your philanthropy?

In December, American novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott made headlines when she announced $4.2 billion in grants to 384 organizations across the country. Unsolicited and unrestricted, the gifts focused on immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the pandemic. The Vermont Foodbank received $9 million as part of the round, equivalent to the organization’s annual operating budget before COVID-19. But with one in three Vermonters experiencing food insecurity since the pandemic began—nearly double than at the height of the Great Recession—the cost of keeping everyone fed continues to grow.

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Why Vermont was a national outlier in high school grad enrollment at community college in fall 2020

High school grads demonstrate that even in a time of uncertainty like COVID19, they'll enroll in college and career training when it's guaranteed to be very affordable. Over 600 Vermont high school class of 2020 graduates took the McClure Foundation up on a graduation gift of a free course of their choosing at the Community College of Vermont this fall. Academic advisors and career consultants are now helping these students chart a plan for what comes next.

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