Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Announce New Charitable Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation
The Vermont Community Foundation is pleased to announce that retired U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and his wife Marcelle Leahy have established a charitable fund at the nonprofit organization to continue their life’s work of helping Vermont and Vermonters thrive.
The Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Fund for Vermont will benefit the state for years to come, the former Vermont senator said in a video announcement. The message was broadcast to an audience of several hundred people attending the Community Foundation’s annual meeting at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland on Thursday, June 22.
“Serving the people of Vermont has been the honor of a lifetime, but it’s never one I took for granted. Whether it was securing funding to keep our downtowns thriving, or protecting our environmental treasures, or ensuring our young people get a good start in life—helping Vermont and Vermonters thrive, that’s been my life’s work,” Leahy said.
“Marcelle and I care deeply about our state and our fellow Vermonters, and so does the Vermont Community Foundation. The Foundation has focused for years on closing the opportunity gap that leaves too many Vermonters struggling to lead better lives. I can’t think of a better partner than the Vermont Community Foundation to carry forward our values,” he added.
The new fund is being created with a $500,000 donation from Leahy’s remaining campaign funds.
“In recognition of the exceptional work done by the Vermont Community Foundation, I wanted to announce, today, that I will be donating the majority of my remaining campaign funds to establish the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Fund for Vermont and we’ll have it at the Vermont Community Foundation,” Leahy said.
Partnering on the new fund is a privilege, said Dan Smith, president & CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation. “In so many places and projects, the public resources Senator Leahy brought home commingle with philanthropy to move us forward. It is a humbling thing to be asked to carry a piece of that legacy on into the future.”
Stacie Fagan, vice president for Philanthropy at the Vermont Community Foundation, said that the Senator and his wife care deeply about Vermont, and about creating opportunities in all corners of the state, from St. Johnsbury to Montpelier, Brandon to Chelsea, and all the communities in between.
“The Leahys are givers and they want to continue giving back to Vermont,” Fagan said. “We’re honored that they’ve chosen the Foundation as a partner.”
Patrick Leahy, a lawyer who launched his political career as Chittenden County State’s Attorney, represented Vermont in the U.S. Senate for nearly 50 years, from 1975 to 2023. The Democrat announced in 2022 that he would not seek another term after a career during which he served as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate Agriculture Committee, as well as president pro tempore of the Senate.
Marcelle Leahy, a licensed registered nurse, has advocated with her husband for access to healthcare, economic opportunity, justice, and equal rights. She has been recognized with honorary degrees for her work as a front-line health care provider and service as a board member and advisor to many organizations, particularly in the medical field.
Former Sen. Leahy said the charitable fund means a great deal to both of them. “This fund will continue our life’s work—supporting Vermonters and their communities.”