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The Power of Collective Giving

“Petroglyphs in Vermont? I had no idea!” When donor advised fundholder, Laura Keanon, was growing up in Bennington, she learned little to nothing about the Abenaki in school. “We never talked about people who didn’t look like us,” she said.

Keanon, who now resides in Maryland but maintains strong connections to Vermont, is among seven donor advised fundholders who joined the Foundation and community-led efforts to support the Elnu Abenaki in their bid to purchase two acres of ceremonial land surrounding the ancient Petroglyphs. (The Atowi Project)

“It’s important to me to learn about these opportunities from the VCF. By bringing resources together, we provide an opportunity for something to really develop, for a project to be funded in a way that is not just a one-off.”

Collective giving through the Community Foundation provides fundholders with a way to give together for greater impact. In the case of the Atowi Project, donor advised and discretionary funds contributed more than $200,000 toward the tribe’s goal of $325,000 to purchase the land. Coming to the project for a variety of reasons, from land preservation to racial equity, fundholders joined Abenaki descendants and community members, whose years-long efforts to build relationships and fundraise laid the groundwork for success, to protect the land.

Read more stories from our 2022 Annual Report.