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The Curtis Fund Receives $1.5 Million to Establish the George and Mazy Preston Gift

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This gift to fund scholarships is the largest donation ever to The Curtis Fund 

The Curtis Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, is honored to announce a $1.5 million gift from the estate of George and Mazy Preston. During their lives, the Preston’s were known around Burlington—George was the President of the former Bero’s Jewelry Company and Mazy taught art at both the University of Vermont and at Adams School. The George and Mazy Preston Gift, as the estate has named it, is the largest gift ever received by The Curtis Fund since it was created in 1910.

“The George and Mazy Preston Gift will establish an endowment to meet the growing demand for our Credentials of Value scholarship program and continue making postsecondary education more accessible for so many,” says Shana Trombley, executive director of The Curtis Fund. “With this generous donation, we can provide a foundation and stability for our fastest growing program that generates around 170 scholarships annually.”

Credentials of Value are industry-recognized certifications that students earn by completing educational and/or training programs at postsecondary institutions, which lead to jobs that pay livable wages in fields like nursing, software development, and welding. For the 2021-22 academic year, The Curtis Fund is providing scholarships to approximately 700 students who are pursuing a postsecondary degree or certificate.

This gift will enable The Curtis Fund to help more students like Marc Moulin who is earning a Practical Nursing (PN) certificate at Vermont Technical College after being laid off from his job at a ski resort. Marc explains, “I’m very appreciative of the scholarship because it allowed me to cut back my hours at my part-time job at a nursing home so I can focus more on school.”

Terri Isidro also returned to school this year to earn a certificate at Burlington Code Academy’s Software Development Bootcamp. When asked why she decided to pursue a certificate program, Isidro notes, “You can go to college and yes, you’ll get a job, or you can do this program and get a lucrative job without going to a university and incurring the cost and time commitment that earning a degree takes.”

Every year, the demand for scholarships greatly outpaces resources. Planned gifts such as George and Mazy Preston’s allow individuals to make a transformative impact on nonprofits such as The Curtis Fund by simply leaving a bequest in one’s will. To learn more about The Curtis Fund’s scholarship program and how you can support it, contact Shana Trombley at

Photos of scholars available upon request.