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The Samara Fund Awards $38,000 in Grants to Support Vermont’s LGBTQ+ Community

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The Samara Fund, a component fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, has awarded $38,000 in general operating support and project grants to eleven nonprofit organizations in its tenth annual competitive grant round as part of the Foundation.

The Samara Fund also awarded scholarships to five graduating seniors from Colchester, East Fairfield, Holland, Milton, and Morrisville in recognition of their advocacy and leadership in support of LGBTQ+ issues within their schools and communities.

The Samara Fund’s priorities for the 2021 grantmaking cycle included projects and services focusing on and led by LGBTQ+ youth, elders, BIPOC, populations in rural areas, as well as support for Trans-specific projects and LGBTQ+ competent health care, mental health, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS services.

The Samara Fund is a community-directed fund that helps ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) Vermonters are connected, healthy, appreciated, safe, and empowered. Visit vermontcf.org/samara to learn more.

The 2021 Samara Fund Grants

AIDS Project of Southern Vermont received $3,500 to support the Prevention/Harm Reduction Program, which serve more than 450 HIV+ and HIV- individuals through community education and outreach.

Common Ground Center received $3,500 to support Camp Outright, which is expanding its offerings and opening a second week of camp, allowing more LGBTQ+ young people the chance to attend, celebrate community, and establish long-lasting friendships.

Governor's Institutes of Vermont received $3,000 to support outreach and scholarships for LGBTQ+ youth to attend eight online immersion courses in Arts, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Science, Global Issues & Youth Action, Health & Medicine, Mathematical Sciences, and Technology & Design.

Green Mountain Library Consortium received $3,500 to support continued expansion of its LGBTQ+ digital lending library collection. 

New England Center for Circus Arts received $3,500 for LGBTQ+ sustaining scholarships, ensuring equitable participation in its youth development programs, weekly classes, programs for pre-professionals, summer camp, and adult programming.

Out in the Open received $3,500 to support its services for rural LGBTQ+ communities, including direct mutual aid; creation of rural LGBTQ+ spaces for connection, organizing, and education; educational resources; leadership development; rural LGBTQ+ health justice resources; and movement building, including organizing to ban the LGBTQ+-panic defense in Vermont.

Outright Vermont received $3,500 to support LGBTQ+ youth programming, including safe spaces for youth to connect with peers and provide support, and providing opportunities for parents and family members of LGBTQ+ youth to gather resources and develop a community of family peers. Outright Vermont also works across the educational sector to improve access and inclusion for all LGBTQ+ youth.

Pride Center of Vermont (PCVT) received $3,500 to support resources for trans individuals, including facilitation of community development for trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming Vermonters to celebrate diverse gender identities and expressions. PCVT strives to make visible and foster respect for gender variation by promoting awareness, advocating for and with program participants by creating support networks, encouraging opportunities for creative expression and inquiry of gender issues, and cultivating a welcoming community for all. 

Pride Rides received $3,500 to support and engage LGBTQ+ individuals in the Vermont biking community, and welcome those who are interested in joining. Pride Rides fosters engagement, teaches bicycle maintenance skills, and promotes advocacy within the biking community.

Twin States Network (TSN) received $3,500 to support its work in providing resources to HIV+ individuals in the Upper Valley regions of Vermont and New Hampshire. TSN works to reduce isolation and stigma experienced by many HIV+ Vermonters living in rural communities by providing them with opportunities for personal connection and support.

Vermont CARES received $3,500 to support its case management program, designed around the needs identified by those that Vermont CARES serves. The program meets the needs of Vermonters with HIV by providing resources to allow individuals space to focus on HIV healthcare, and promote healthy, fulfilling lives.