The Vermont Community Foundation Awards Flood Relief Grant Funds, Bringing Total to Over $4.4 Million
The Vermont Community Foundation announced today that it has awarded another $2,359,846 in flood recovery and relief grants across the state, including $418,500 in grants made directly to farmers under the Farm Disaster Relief Grant Program.
The new round of grants from the Foundation’s VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023 brings the total awarded from the fund to $4,430,284 since it was created ten weeks ago. Over that same time period, the fund has raised more than $11.3 million.
The most recent grants include the first awards made directly to farmers, who as a group, suffered extensive monetary losses in flooding that affected over 27,000 acres of land. Some farmers lost an entire season of vegetables, berries, hay, and other feed crops.
“Thanks to the generosity of everyone who has given to the flood fund, together we are helping our farmers stay in business and plan for harvests in the years to come,” said Dan Smith, president & CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation. “It’s also thanks to donations from all over Vermont and beyond that the flood fund has helped build momentum for other signs of progress. We’re seeing stores and restaurants re-opening in affected downtowns and renovations being completed on homes, apartments, and flood-damaged offices. Amid these optimistic developments, we also acknowledge that there is still much more work to be done when it comes to long-term recovery and building flood resilience. But together, we can make it happen.”
The Farm Disaster Relief Grant Program was created last month with funds from the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund. The farm program has made 43 grants to farmers across the state, with more to come. The recent grants include $10,000 to Poulin and Daughters Family Farm in Randolph. As a result of the flood, the farm lost the equivalent of 200 large rounds of hay, which is critical for feeding their animals over the winter. “A lot of our hay ground got flooded and it made the hay unusable for our cattle,” said Justin Poulin, owner of the farm. “This will allow us to replace that lost feed.”
Some of the other avenues for assistance involve complicated and time-consuming applications that aren’t feasible given the daily demands at the beef farm operation, Poulin said. It was a relief, he added, to find that the application for the farm grant at the Vermont Community Foundation was relatively simple and short.
“We appreciate the help,” said Poulin, who has been farming since he got out of high school in 1992. “We can put the money into our farm and just keep going.”
The latest grants from the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund include a focus on longer-term efforts to help people put their lives back together. New grants will create more case worker positions to assist people whose homes, mobile homes, apartments, or businesses were flooded. Many of them face a complicated process to navigate all the options for government flood relief assistance. Vermont Legal Aid was awarded a $100,000 grant to help support Vermonters with legal needs arising from the flooding, and the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity was awarded $100,000 to support its Mobile Home Program and provide case management for flood-affected mobile home park residents.
Recognizing the challenge and stress the flooding created, grants are also supporting organizations that assist people with substance use disorder or mental health challenges. The latest grants also continue to help organizations such as the United Way and the Red Cross respond to need in flood-affected communities.
“When I read over the long list of grants, what stands out for me are all the incredible people and organizations across Vermont who are deeply engaged in this recovery work. It is going to take each and every one of us to help neighbors and families who are struggling in the moment, to keep others from falling further back, to navigate the long processes and tough decisions that many are grappling with, and to build back our businesses, farms, nonprofits, communities, and watersheds,” said Holly Morehouse, vice president of Grants & Community Impact at the Vermont Community Foundation. “At this stage in the grantmaking strategy we are moving deep into the recovery work, and helping individuals and families to recover is at the forefront. This stage is also about making sure that we have strong, coordinated networks for recovery and assistance to support Vermonters through the long process of building back.”
Visit vtfloodresponse.org/strategy for a deeper look at how the Vermont Community Foundation plans to distribute current and future donations to the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023.
The VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023 was created immediately after storms dropped up to ten inches of rain on parts of the state July 9 and 10, triggering extensive flooding. Donations came in quickly from individuals, families, Vermont musical artists, and businesses that wanted to help. Last month Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced a commemorative We Are Vermont Strong ’23 license plate, with a portion of proceeds to benefit the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023.
Earlier this month the Flynn and Select Design hosted the Hug Your Farmer Benefit Concert in Burlington, and Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Waitsfield recently launched a team brewing flood relief effort with a beer called Vermont Strong Pale Ale. The TD Charitable Foundation, The National Life Group, and Vermont Public have generously supported the fund, along with many others. Visit the Foundation’s website for more information about the amazing giving to the fund, as well as stories about how the contributions are helping.
The list of grants awarded since mid-August from the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023 follows below. A complete list of flood-related grantees to date can be found at vtfloodresponse.org/grantees.
Addison County Home Health and Hospice awarded $2,500 to respond to individuals' needs as a result of storms and flooding. In collaboration with patients, families, and other community providers, the organization enhances the health, dignity, and independence of Addison County residents through patient-centered home health and hospice care. Addison County
Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN) awarded $10,000 for storm and flood relief efforts. ACORN promotes the growth and health of local food and agriculture in Vermont’s Champlain Valley by providing support to farmers and food producers and ensuring access to healthy food for all members of the community. Addison County
American Red Cross - Vermont Chapter awarded $100,000 for storm and flood relief efforts. The Red Cross provides shelter, food, disaster coordination, and up-to-date information during emergencies. Statewide
Barre Historical Society awarded $10,000 to support flood repair and recovery, and resumption of programming. The organization is responsible for the preservation, restoration, maintenance, and adaptive reuse of National Historic Landmark site buildings, and education and research related to the site and history of Barre, VT. Washington County
Bennington County Conservation District (BCCD) awarded $5,000 to support the first annual BCCD Community Resilience Forum. The mission of BCCD is to promote responsible stewardship of natural resources, enhance the rural economy, advocate for sustainable practices, and engage the community in environmental conservation. Bennington County
Black River Good Neighbor Services (BRGN) awarded $60,000 to support grants to individuals and families impacted by flooding. Through a thrift store, food pantry, and free services, BRGN works to empower those in Ludlow and surrounding communities who are underserved in the community. Windsor County
Cavendish Baptist Church awarded $5,000 to support emergency shelter for Cavendish residents and volunteer workers from out of state, as well as individual assistance to flood survivors. The church, with more than 200 years of history, serves the Cavendish and surrounding communities with love and community connection. Windsor County
Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation (CVEDC) awarded $7,500 to support business owners recovering from flooding through the Flood Recovery Business Support Center in Montpelier. CVEDC is providing in-person, flood-related business assistance daily in downtown Montpelier, including help with grant and loan applications, understanding resources, and navigating next steps. Washington County
Central Vermont Prevention Coalition awarded $15,000 to support a short-term Flood Relief Navigator in Central Vermont to respond to urgent and emergent behavioral health needs. The coalition is a collaborative of more than 30 organizations successfully addressing substance use challenges across Washington County. Washington County
Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) awarded $100,000 to support the CVOEO Mobile Home Program to provide case management for flood-affected mobile home park residents. The organization addresses economic, social, racial, and environmental justice and provides crisis support such as such as food, fuel, and housing assistance, along with education and training for future economic independence. Statewide
Community of Vermont Elders (COVE) awarded $5,000 to support an increase in available resources, advocacy, and support to vulnerable older adults who are victims of flooding and targeted scams and fraud. COVE promotes and protects a higher quality of life for the state’s older Vermonters. Washington County
Coventry Town Foundation awarded $2,500 to support members of the Coventry community affected by flooding. The foundation supports education, community assistance, emergency disaster relief, historic preservation, and other community-based services. Orleans County
Kellogg-Hubbard Library awarded $10,000 to support flood repair and recovery, and resumption of programming. The library in Montpelier serves six towns in central Vermont. Washington County
Lamoille County Mental Health Services awarded $75,000 to support crisis counseling, mental health case management, and housing contingency funding for flood survivors with mental health challenges. The mental health agency provides developmental and behavioral health services that enhance independence and quality of life. Lamoille County
Lost Nation Theater awarded $10,000 to support flood repair and recovery, and resumption of programming. The theater provides year-round programming, including dramas, comedies, and musicals. Washington County
Middlebury Fire Department awarded $5,000 to support needed repairs for swift water rescue equipment for future response efforts. Middlebury Fire and Swift Water Rescue are local volunteers trained to respond effectively and safely to incidents in the pursuit of protecting life, property, and the environment. They provided many hours of swift water rescue services during the July floods. Addison County
Montpelier Alive awarded $15,000 to support storefront art to uplift Montpelier's downtown in the wake of extensive flood damage. Montpelier Alive works with partners to sustain and build upon Montpelier’s vibrant downtown community by offering and supporting special events and activities, and promoting city businesses. Washington County
Neighborhood Connections awarded $60,000 to support grants to individuals and families impacted by flooding. The organization promotes the health and wellbeing of people in Southern Vermont's mountain towns and is leading the coordination of flood response and recovery resources, and providing community meals. Windham and Windsor Counties
Northeast Kingdom Collaborative (NEKC) awarded $7,500 to provide ongoing navigation support for those affected by the flood. NEKC is dedicated to building vibrant, thriving communities in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Orleans, Essex, & Caledonia Counties
Northeast Kingdom Organizing (NEKO) awarded $7,500 to support organizational capacity building and flood-related community outreach. NEKO is a member-led coalition of individuals, families, and faith- and community-based organizations that advocate for justice for the people and places of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. Orleans County
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) awarded $588,000 to support the Farmer Emergency Fund and Farmer Flood Relief Fund. NOFA-VT supports a statewide association of organic farms and provides direct aid to farmers impacted by the floods. Statewide
Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce awarded $60,000 to support grants to individuals and families impacted by flooding. The chamber is organizing flood assistance resources and actively assessing need in the area. Windsor County
Prevent Child Abuse Vermont awarded $10,000 for storm and flood relief efforts. The organization supports healthy relationships within families, schools, and communities to eliminate child abuse. Washington County
Rainbow Bridge Community Center awarded $30,000 to support grants to individuals and families impacted by flooding. The Barre-based, all-volunteer organization supporting LGBTQIA2S+ people in central Vermont is providing resources, support, and connection to those affected by the floods. Washington County
Stratton Foundation awarded $60,000 to support grants to individuals and families impacted by flooding. The foundation is a community-based nonprofit organization that cares about the health and welfare of children and their families in southern Vermont. Windham County
Studio Place Arts awarded $10,000 to support flood repair and recovery, and resumption of programming. A nonprofit community visual arts center in historic downtown Barre, its mission is to enrich people around the region by making the visual arts accessible to everyone through education, art exhibitions, and contact with working artists. Washington County
The Vermont Professionals of Color Network (VTPOC) awarded $50,000 to provide organizational capacity for navigation and outreach services to support flood recovery for BIPOC-owned businesses. The state’s leading organization supporting the professional, networking, and business needs of BIPOC Vermonters, VTPOC Network is conducting outreach and offering technical assistance to individual and business members in flood-affected areas around the state. Statewide
Town of Johnson/Johnson Public Library awarded $10,000 to support flood repair and recovery, and resumption of programming. The library provides books, information, and resources for residents and visitors alike, as well as programming and events to foster a sense of connection among residents. Lamoille County
United Way of Addison County awarded $80,000 to support grants to individuals and families impacted by flooding. The organization works with local agencies to address complex problems like poverty, homelessness, lack of affordable high-quality childcare, domestic violence, isolation, substance use disorder, and a disengaged workforce. Addison County
Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) awarded $40,000 to support Climate Catalyst Innovation Fund projects occurring within areas impacted by the flood. The organization helps Vermont citizens build prosperous and resilient communities through democratic engagement, marshaling resources, and collective action. Statewide
Vermont Granite Museum of Barre awarded $10,000 to support flood repair and recovery, and resumption of programming. The museum engages, educates, and celebrates the heritage and current accomplishments of Vermont's granite industry. Washington County
Vermont Journalism Trust awarded $50,000 to support VTDigger's coverage of flood impact, response, and recovery in Vermont. VTDigger, a project of the nonprofit Vermont Journalism Trust, is an essential news organization in Vermont. Statewide
Vermont Legal Aid (VLA) awarded $100,000 to provide legal services, outreach, and education to Vermonters who have legal needs arising out of the flooding in the summer of 2023. VLA provides civil legal services for Vermonters, including those living in poverty, with a disability, or over the age of 60. It serves anyone who is discriminated against in housing decisions and others facing challenges related to health care insurance or services, and individuals who need relief from abuse. Statewide
Vermont Recovery Network awarded $65,321 to support psychological first aid training and disaster planning for all recovery center staff. The network supports its member recovery organizations so they can empower all Vermonters and their families who are in recovery from alcohol or other substance use disorders. Statewide
Vermont Studio Center awarded $10,000 to support flood repair and recovery, and resumption of programming. Located in Johnson, the organization’s mission is to provide studio residencies in an inclusive, international community, honoring creative work as the communication of spirit through form. Lamoille County
Washington County Mental Health Services awarded $75,000 to support crisis counseling; mental health case management; and housing contingency funding for flood survivors with mental health challenges. The organization is the designated mental health agency in Central Vermont, with a mission to serve people coping with developmental and intellectual disabilities, mental health, and substance use by providing trauma-informed services to support them as they achieve their highest potential and best possible quality of life. Washington County
Waterbury Good Neighbor Fund awarded $30,000 to support grants to individuals and families impacted by flooding. The fund provides emergency financial help through no-strings-attached gifts to individuals and families in the community. Washington County
Weston Community Association awarded $10,000 to support flood repair and recovery, and resumption of programming. The association owns and operates the Weston Playhouse and supports the performing arts in the region. Windsor County
Weston Playhouse Theatre Company awarded $10,000 to support flood repair and recovery, and resumption of programming. The Weston Theater Company presents beautiful, entertaining stories performed by talented artists from the community and from afar. Windsor County
Woodstock Community Trust awarded $70,000 to support grants to individuals and families impacted by flooding through the Woodstock HUB. The trust is a nonprofit umbrella organization that empowers teams to carry out local projects to improve the quality of life and respond to needs in the community. Windsor County
In addition to the grants listed above, the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023 is supporting storm and flood-related requests through the Foundation’s Special and Urgent Needs (SUN) grant program. SUN has temporarily modified its guidelines to support urgent nonprofit needs related to this disaster. Nonprofits directly impacted by storms and flooding are encouraged to visit vermontcf.org/sun to learn more about available funding. Recent grantees include:
- Barre Community Justice Center – $5,000, Washington County
- Bryan Memorial Gallery Foundation – $2,500, Lamoille County
- Christ Episcopal Church – $5,000, Washington County
- Circus Smirkus – $5,000, Orleans County
- Montpelier Alive – $5,000, Washington County
- New Thoughts Vermont – $5,000, Windsor County
- North Universalist Chapel Society – $2,500, Windsor County
- Orchard Valley Waldorf School – $5,000, Washington County
- Resurrection Baptist Church – $2,500, Washington County
- Second Congregational Church of Londonderry – $5,000, Windham County
- The Collaborative – $3,025, Windham County
- Varnum Memorial Library – $5,000, Lamoille County
- Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care – $5,000, Washington County
- WomenSafe – $5,000, Addison County
The Farm Disaster Relief Grant Program has awarded funds to farms and farmers across the state. Grant funding so far has been distributed across Vermont counties as follows:
- Addison County – $23,000
- Caledonia County – $18,000
- Chittenden County – $80,000
- Franklin County – $10,000
- Grand Isle County – $8,000
- Lamoille County – $40,000
- Orange County – $60,000
- Orleans County – $20,000
- Rutland County – $40,000
- Washington County – $40,000
- Windham County – $29,500
- Windsor County – $50,000
In the coming weeks the Foundation will continue to award grants through the Farm Disaster Relief Grant Program. Stay tuned for additional announcements regarding direct-to-farm grant awards.
Visit vtfloodresponse.org to contribute or learn more about the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023.