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The Vermont Community Foundation Announces 15 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 a total of $37,720.39 in Spark! Connecting Community grants to 15 nonprofit organizations for local projects in communities across the state, including some nonprofits that serve residents in multiple counties.

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. The community strategies reflected in the Vermont Community Foundation’s grantmaking strategy were generously supported by a number of its fundholders through Giving Together, a program at the Foundation that shares grant proposals with fundholders and donors, giving them the opportunity to co-fund projects.

“Our work to close the opportunity gap in Vermont depends on building social capital in our communities and investing in projects that spark that social cohesion," notes Vermont Community Foundation President and CEO Dan Smith. "These Spark! Connecting Community grants do just that, by supporting our state's greatest assets—Vermonters. There are great community-generated ideas and opportunities throughout the state that just need a little funding to get started. These programs exemplify the high level of engagement, commitment, and creativity needed to build and nurture our communities across the state.”

Nonprofits interested in applying for the next round of Spark! Connecting Community grants are encouraged to visit for more information. There are two remaining rounds in 2018, with deadlines at 5:00 p.m. on July 26 and October 16.

Spark! Connecting Community Grants in Spring 2018

Bennington County

Pownal Proud received $825 to support a project that will reduce roadside litter and curb illegal dumping through volunteer cleanups, education, formal signage, and trail cameras at illegal dump sites.

Chittenden County

The Schoolhouse Learning Center received $2,275 for a garden project that will help develop a deep understanding of Vermont’s Abenaki cultural and agricultural heritage and serve as a pilot site for the Seeds of Renewal project that collects heirloom seeds for local tribes.

Audubon Vermont received $2,970.39 to lead a group of children from the afterschool program at King Street Youth Center in Burlington on 10 weekly excursions to local parks and provide six of eight available scholarships for students to attend a week-long summer day camp at the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington.

Outright Vermont received $3,000 to support a suite of support groups for LGBTQ youth located in four cities and towns across the state co-facilitated by LGBTQ adults and offering safe spaces for youth to feel connected, seen, and appreciated for being themselves.

Essex County

Island Pond Historical Society received $3,000 to aid in the creation of an interactive museum and learning center to showcase the railroad, lumbering, and military culture of Island Pond and the surrounding towns.

Franklin County

Franklin County Caring Communities received $3,000 for a youth leadership program for high school students that addresses the root causes of risky behaviors by creating environments that make it easier to act in healthy ways and culminates in a no-cost, one-week summer institute.

Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union received $3,000 for a summer theater arts camp that is made accessible to all youth by pairing it with existing summer school and enrichment programs, allowing for the inclusion of bus transportation, breakfast, lunch, and teen mentoring.

Orange County

Girls Empowered, Motivated, Strengthened (GEMS) received $3,000 for a summer camp and year-round support program for middle-school girls that builds self-efficacy through a combination of skills development and confidence building that empowers them to become active change-makers within their communities.

Orleans County

Jones Memorial Library / Village of Orleans received $2,600 to support twice-monthly story readings and art-project sessions that will send children home with their own copies of the books, allowing them to start home libraries of quality children’s literature.

Rutland County

Benson Village School received $1,550 for a program to bring middle school students from Benson and Orwell to the Hannaford Career Center and Vermont Technical College to explore career pathways in vocational and technical trades.

Washington County

Mad River Path Association received $1,500 to improve a recreation path in Irasville and Waitsfield in order to provide safe biking and walking areas, thereby increasing access to the outdoors, businesses, transportation, and jobs.

Windham County

Town of Brattleboro received $3,000 to support the design and construct an outdoor skatepark in Brattleboro with a focus on strengthening community by providing a healthy, out-of-school activity for children and adults.

The Root Social Justice Center received $3,000 for The Root Feeder Project, a multilingual and multimedia distribution of local and regional stories created and led by people of color that creates connection, healing, opportunity, and change through storytelling.

Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro received $3,000 that will connect teens with employment and college preparatory resources such as assistance with writing college applications and essays, financial aid applications, and job training that will include the development of interpersonal skills.

Windsor County

Magic Mountain Children's Center received $2,000 to plant a vegetable and flower garden. The harvest will be shared with residents of a low-income, elderly housing development. Childcare center children will share songs and put on small performances during their produce delivery visits at the housing development to strengthen cross-generational connections.