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The Walter Cerf Community Fund Announces $77,740 in Grants to Twenty-Five Organizations

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The Walter Cerf Community Fund, a component fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, has announced $77,740 in grants to twenty-five organizations, which build on over $60,000 in Cerf Fund grants already at work in the community in 2020 as part of multi-year commitments.

This year’s awards represent a combination of competitive grants to organizations supporting basic needs, historic preservation, arts, and education, as well as a number of proactive grants to longstanding grantee partners that experienced significant disruption as a result of COVID-19 or served on the frontlines of pandemic response. Most grant recipients are based in Addison County or northern Rutland County.

Since its establishment in 2001, the Walter Cerf Community Fund has continued the charitable legacy of a remarkable man who cared deeply about the vitality of the communities of Addison County, northern Rutland County, and beyond. The son of a successful businessman, Walter Cerf immigrated to the United States as a refugee of Nazi Germany in 1937, going on to serve in the military and then work as a Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College for twenty-five years.

He retired to his summer home in Leicester, Vermont, in 1972. At his death in 2001, the Walter Cerf Community Fund was established at the Vermont Community Foundation as a permanent endowment, making grants annually in his name. The Vermont Community Foundation is proud to have the Walter Cerf Community Fund as a partner in its work to close the opportunity gap for Vermonters.

2020 Grants

  • Addison Central Teens received $5,000 to support a portion of the fees related to hosting AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps State members.
  • Addison County Community Action Group (HOPE) received $5,000 in general operating support.
  • Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN) received $5,000 to support the Farmacy Food as Medicine program, which connects families with local fruit and vegetable shares, as well as educational information.
  • Chaffee Art Center received $5,000 to support restoration of building porch railings and balusters.
  • Charlotte Grange #398 received $750 to restore eight large schoolhouse windows in the Charlotte Grange Hall.
  • Corner School Resource Center of Granville received $4,240 to support the construction of an ADA entry at Granville’s historic 1871 Corner School, which is currently being renovated into a community center.
  • Davies Memorial Library received $2,500 to continue to offer and manage up-to-date services and varied literature that support lifelong learning and diversity—a critical support after the library was forced to cancel all local fundraising events in 2020.
  • Fort Ticonderoga Association received $2,000 to support the delivery of 10-20 virtual or in-classroom outreach programs on life during the Revolutionary War to schools and libraries within Addison County.
  • Helen Day Art Center received $2,000 to support its arts education scholarships, which help more than 60 community members access arts education programs for free or reduced cost each year.
  • Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History received $3,500 in general operating support.
  • Hospice Volunteer Services/End of Life Services received $5,000 in general operating support.
  • Lake Champlain Maritime Museum received $2,500 to support the boat building portion of its Champlain Longboats program, a five-month project that will engage up to 20 Addison County high school students.
  • Middlebury Area Land Trust received $1,500 to improve public access to seven Addison County properties, including expanding and repairing parking, creating signage, and map creation.
  • Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival received $1,000 to support an online Festival instead of a live event, which they were forced to cancel due to the pandemic.
  • Opera Company of Middlebury received $1,500 to support the creation of a video production of Completing the Picture by composer Michael Ching, its fall 2020 production.
  • Preservation Trust of Vermont received $5,000 in general operating support.
  • Shelburne Museum received $2,500 in general operating support.
  • Starksboro Public Library received $1,000 to support the development of a collection of culturally relevant works by and about women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA people for library patrons of all ages, with a focus on the tween/teen collection.
  • Town Hall Theater received $4,000 in general operating support.
  • Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired received $2,000 to support its SMART Device Technology Program, which supports visually impaired Vermonters to gain proficiency and independence with assistive devices, tablets, and smartphone technology.
  • Vermont Curators Group received $2,000 to restart a state-wide collaborative exhibition between its members, which will pivot to reflect the extraordinary events of 2020.
  • Vermont Elks Charities received $5,000 to support the replacement of building ramps at its Silver Towers Camp, which hosts over 500 campers for eight weeks each summer.
  • Vermont Family Network received $5,000 to support its Anxiety Program for Brandon and Addison county students in grades PK-4, which provides virtual classroom presentations to help students create strategies for managing worry.
  • Vermont Historical Society received $4,000 to support the Annual Meeting of the League of Historical Societies and Museums, which will provide necessary professional development and training focused on COVID-19 recovery this year.
  • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom received $750 to bring Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner to make presentations at three universities and five high schools as part of the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage.