Dan Smith: July 28 Update from our VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund
Dear Friend of the Foundation,
I’m writing to provide an update from the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023. It’s difficult to make one’s way around the state without coming across scenes of communities still working to clean out homes and businesses, remove debris, and take stock of the full extent of the damage.
We awarded our second round of grants this week—more than $670,000 to organizations around the state. This brings the total grants awarded so far to over $1 million. You can find a full list of the grantees vtfloodresponse.org.
These grants will support nonprofits that are helping residents of flooded mobile home parks and assisting towns as they rent dumpsters to haul away immense piles of flood-related trash and debris. The money will cover emergency home repairs and transitional housing; and help farmers who lost an entire season of corn, berries, cut flowers, and other products to a wave of water and mud.
Funding will also help businesses whose spaces and inventory were destroyed, and will support organizations across the state that are working to assist vulnerable populations affected by the floods, including people with mental health needs, people with low incomes, and older Vermonters who rely on Meals and Wheels and other services.
Community Insight Informs Our Grantmaking
This latest round of grants builds on our three-phase grants strategy for flood response and recovery. We are still very much in the response phase, with grants that are quick and flexible, and which open up dialogue with town leaders and organizations about emerging needs. This allows feedback from each round to inform the next round.
Existing networks are an incredible asset in a disaster response. They can gather information quickly, communicate needs effectively, and provide feedback loops for follow-up funding rounds. We have tapped into these networks – libraries, volunteer fire and rescue, networks of social service providers, and others to understand the landscape and make good grants quickly.
Rural communities often take more outreach to understand needs fully. And different organizations reach different parts of the community. We continue follow-up calls to a variety of contacts to make sure we are understanding as well as we can. In many cases, we are making follow-up grants to right-size our response; or additional grants to other organizations in the same town to meet local needs.
Thank You for Your Heartwarming Generosity
We continue to see incredible generosity in donations coming into the Vermont Flood Response and Recovery Fund 2023. Vermont Public raised more than $850,000 for the fund through their viewers and listeners. Among the many generous businesses that are donating and lifting up special fundraising efforts:
TD Charitable Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield VT, Mascoma Bank, Aubuchon Realty Company, VSECU and New England Federal Credit Union, MMG Insurance, Sensata Technologies Foundation, Allagash Brewing, Darn Tough, Vermont Glove, Phoenix Books, Grace Potter, Noah Kahan, Woodchuck Cider, Dedalus, Lawson’s Finest, Hula, VTDigger, and others.
And special appreciation to National Life Group who matched donations made through its Do Good Fest fundraiser for a total of $1.5 million.
All told, approximately $4.4 million ($2.8 million in gifts and $1.6 million in pledges) has come into the VT Flood Response and Recovery Fund 2023 since we opened it for donations, and the figure continues to grow. Every dollar matters.
We encourage you to consider a donation if you have not already done so. If you would like to speak with a member of the staff about how to make a gift, please contact Stacie Fagan, Vice President for Philanthropy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-388-3355 extension 252.
This work would not be possible without your help. Thank you for your support and your trust. You can stay up to date on our efforts at vtfloodresponse.org and we’ll continue to send out updates as our work together continues.
President & CEO