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The Curtis Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation Grants More than $2.1 million in Scholarships to Vermont Students

Curtis Scholars Sept2023

Curtis Scholars: Winter (Wilmington) and Mohamud (Burlington)

The Curtis Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, has awarded more than $2.1 million in scholarships for the 2023-2024 school year to students from every county in Vermont. Curtis Fund scholarships support students pursuing two- and four-year degrees and certificate programs at postsecondary institutions. The Curtis Fund’s mission is to make it possible for Vermonters, regardless of personal income, to obtain the education or training they need to build purposeful lives.

“What started as one woman’s goal to help Vermonters gain a postsecondary education more than 110 years ago has grown to a fund that supports more than 750 students annually,” said Amy Mellencamp, president of The Curtis Fund board of directors. “Emma Eliza Curtis left a gift in her will in 1910 to help Vermonters secure an education, regardless of personal income. Her gift and vision have inspired hundreds of people to also help fund scholarships for Vermonters in need.”

Obtaining a degree or career training through a certificate program after high school remains the best pathway for upward mobility but affording a postsecondary education is out of reach for too many Vermonters due to the high cost. According to the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, between 37 and 52 percent of a low-income family’s income is needed to support a full-time student attending a four-year institution after financial aid.

The Curtis Fund has made two significant investments to help students pursue certificate programs through the Jessica Pomerleau-Halnon Scholarship Program and The Curtis Fund Commitment: A Comprehensive Scholarship for Early Childhood Educators.

The Jessica Pomerleau-Halnon Scholarship Program supports students earning a certificate in a career-focused program including but not limited to licensed practical nursing (LPNs), computer coding, childcare, graphic design, bookkeeping, utility line workers, electricians, and more. Certificates are short-term, career-focused educational or training programs that prepare students to meet workforce needs.

The 2023-2024 academic year is also the inaugural year for a pilot program for Vermonters seeking to become early childhood educators. The Curtis Fund Commitment: A Comprehensive Scholarship for Early Childhood Educators provides scholarships for the full cost of attendance (tuition, fees, and a stipend of up to $12,000 that can be used for housing, food, and transportation) to students who wish to earn a childcare certificate at the Community College of Vermont (CCV). Sixteen students are enrolled either part-time or full-time in this scholarship program. The students include recent high school graduates as well as individuals already working in the field but without a certificate or degree.

“The high cost of educating early childhood educators along with the low wages they earn upon graduation is a significant deterrent for students interested in entering the profession,” said Shana Trombley, executive director of The Curtis Fund. “This is why The Curtis Fund is providing comprehensive scholarships to help students earn the education they need to launch their careers as early childhood educators—debt free.”

The Curtis Fund scholarships are available thanks to the original foresight and generosity of Emma Eliza Curtis. Since then many others have been inspired to help students achieve their educational goals by donating to The Curtis Fund. To learn more about how you can support scholarships either with a gift today or by making a legacy gift, please visit