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The Vermont Community Foundation Announces 28 Grants to Nonprofits Across the State Through Its Spark! Connecting Community Grants Program

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The Vermont Community Foundation announced today that—in partnership with some of its fundholders—it has awarded $80,402.16 in Spark! Connecting Community grants to 28 nonprofit organizations for local projects in communities across the state, including some nonprofits that serve residents in multiple counties. These awards were given out through grant rounds held in late 2018. $33,800 of the total was made possible by Giving Together, a program at the Community Foundation that shares grant proposals with fundholders and donors, giving them the opportunity to co-fund projects.

One of the competitive grant programs at the Community Foundation, Spark! Connecting Community puts building and nurturing community front and center. The Foundation aims to support the work happening throughout Vermont’s 251 towns that builds social capital. These grants—where a small amount can make a big difference—are intended to light the spark that keeps Vermonters healthy and happy.

“Our SPARK! Connecting Community grants are designed to increase social capital—that value which creates resilience and cohesion,” says Vermont Community Foundation Vice President for Grants and Community Investments Sarah Waring. “When communities across the state build this social capital, and actively reach out to include all members, we know that we are helping to resolve the opportunity gap in Vermont. The grantee projects from 2018 exemplify creative and effective strategies to do just that.”

Nonprofits interested in applying for the next round of Spark! Connecting Community grants are encouraged to visit for more information. The deadline for the first of three grant rounds in 2019 is at 5:00 p.m. on March 19th.

Spark! Connecting Community Grants in Fall/Winter 2018

Addison County

Addison Allies Network received $3,000 to increase transportation options for farm workers in order to increase their access to resources and reduce the isolation of rural farm life.

Vermont Families in Transition received $3,000 to outfit a supervised visitation space with furniture, books, toys, puzzles, and craft supplies that will allow noncustodial parents to spend quality time with their children in a nurturing and welcoming environment.

Bennington County

Catamount Connections received $3,000 to support Café Conversations—a program that brings parents together in a comfortable and welcoming space to discuss common issues and support each other in the challenging work of parenting.

Caledonia County

Grass Roots Art and Community Effort (GRACE) received $2,000 for the Mill Street Mural Project, which beautifies downtown Hardwick while will celebrating the history, culture, and vitality of the town.

Northeast Kingdom Preschool and Childcare received $1,599.98 for a multi-generational community garden that will serve the childcare center and the residents of the Gilman Housing apartments in Lyndonville.

Chittenden County

Big Heavy World received $3,000 to support a free, afterschool music drop-in program that gives high school students a chance to practice and jam with musical and vocal amplification equipment in a safe and positive space.

Black Lives Matter Vermont received $2,725 to support the rejuvenation of black females through quarterly retreats that provide the time, opportunity, and space to heal and grow.

NFI Vermont received $3,000 for a New American meet-up program that supports parents in helping their kids make healthy decisions, avoid high-risk behaviors involving drugs and alcohol, and manage the complexities of high school life.

Sangha Studio received $3,000 to bring free yoga classes to 26 mothers and their children living at Lund’s residential treatment facility on their journey to overcome addiction.

Franklin County

Collins Perley Sports Center received $3,300 to support the construction an ADA compliant playground suitable for children age two to 12 in a section of St. Albans that currently does not have any other playgrounds.

Milton Inclusion and Diversity Initiative received $3,000 to support a series of community dialogues with facilitated discussion around the issues of racism, discrimination, and oppression.

Grand Isle County

South Hero Library Foundation received $3,000 to bring back preschool story hour in partnership with the area parent-child center, preschools, and home care providers to help introduce young children and their families to the joy of reading.

Lamoille County

Hyde Park Elementary School received $2,150 to support a community mural of the iconic village school building that will be created by students out of clay tiles with design and installation overseen by an artist in residency.

Orleans County

Albany Community School received $2,350 to build a mountain bike trail on school land to improve the wellness and health of the students and community.

Center for Women & Enterprise received $3,000 to provide 15-30 low-income women with entrepreneurial education workshops that will help participants improve their financial literacy, start new businesses, create jobs, and drive economic vitality in the Northeast Kingdom.

Greensboro Free Library received $1,585.18 for a program that engages a student's interest in history and engages them with their elders by researching and discovering their own family's history and story.

Rutland County

Safer Society received $3,000 to provide long-term, one-on-one mentoring to Addison and Rutland County children age seven to 17 who have at least one parent in jail or with a history of incarceration.

Washington County

The Children's Room received $3,000 to promote family wellness by providing a free space for new parents and caregivers to gather, build social bonds, and engage in programming that focuses on positive social interactions between baby and caregiver.

Good Beginnings received $3,000 to establish a monthly evening get together aimed at connecting working families with babies with peer support to help navigate the challenges of being a new parent.

Moretown Elementary School received $3,000 to support free parenting workshops that facilitate conversations on challenging topics specifically identified by the community.

Town of Middlesex "What's Next Middlesex?" Committee received $2,512 to support community meetings that will engage residents in planning for community identified projects in support of Middlesex’s cultural and economic future.

Windham County

Art in the Neighborhood received $3,000 to support a project that pairs students from Moore Court housing community with residents of Red Clover Commons senior living to create art and share life experiences.

Groundworks Collaborative received $3,000 to support monthly community meetings that will identify needs and explore solutions to the complex issues of poverty, homelessness, substance use disorder, economic inequality, and other socio-economic issues.

Marlboro Community Center received $2,680 to support the creation of the new Center, which will provide an important social hub and gathering space for residents.

Neighborhood Connections received $5,500 to conduct a community needs assessment that will be used to address the disparities in the rural mountain communities of south-central Vermont.

Westgate Housing received $3,000 for a photography project that will strengthen youth residents’ ties to the community and broaden their horizons by viewing their community through the lens of a camera.

Windsor County

Living Proof Mentoring received $3,000 for a community-based program providing advocacy, education, and mentorship for young people of color living in rural communities.

White River Elementary School received $3,000 to support a school-based running program that provides opportunities for male students in grades three to five to participate in a sports team regardless of athletic or financial ability.