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Vermont Community Foundation Announces Key VT COVID-19 Response Fund Developments

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Today, the Vermont Community Foundation announced nearly $500,000 in grants and mission investments to support Vermont communities responding to the spread of COVID-19 in Vermont.

The first $380,000 in grants from the VT COVID-19 Response Fund will complement federal aid and focus on extending and expanding the capacity of nonprofits that provide basic needs to vulnerable populations, specifically the elderly and those who rely on the social safety net for human necessities. Recipients include community-based organizations, particularly the agencies across the state that address the causes and conditions of poverty through a coordinated community response, targeted senior centers and meal sites, as well as the lead agencies who assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness by providing equal access to housing and assistance based on clients’ strengths and needs.

In addition, the Vermont Community Foundation has partnered with VSECU to expand their Member Emergency Loan program to all Vermonters who have or will experience a disruption to their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and don’t have the financial capacity to care for themselves or others. The Foundation’s $110,000 mission investment will help those with lost wages due to illness, caring for a family member, or workplace closure. The funds available through this partnership are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis. For specific details on the loan program, including how to find out if you qualify, please visit VSECU’s Member Emergency Loan web page or call 802-371-5162 to speak with a member service consultant.

The VT COVID-19 Response Fund was created on March 13, 2020, to extend and expand the capacity of organizations that are particularly equipped to address community impacts of the spread of the coronavirus in Vermont. The Community Foundation created the Fund to offer individual donors and other grantmakers the opportunity to be part of a coordinated response to the many effects of COVID-19 in Vermont, both in the immediate response and long-term recovery.
Since it was established, the Community Foundation has made considerable progress seeding the Fund, establishing leadership and key partners throughout the state, and beginning to implement its grantmaking strategy.
As of March 25, 2020, the Fund has grown to $1.7 million thanks to contributions from Community Foundation fundholders, corporate donors, the Community Foundation itself, and donations of all sizes from Vermont residents. Lead donors include:

  • Green Mountain Power
  • National Life Group Foundation
  • Vermont Gas
  • Claudia and Peter Kinder Charitable Fund
  • Flat Rock Fund
  • Johnson Family Foundation
  • Let’s Grow Kids
  • Meg and Bruce Seely
  • Reiner Charitable Fund
  • Anonymous Donors (5)

The initial members of the VT COVID-19 Response Fund Advisory Committee, the group tasked with guiding the grantmaking strategy behind the Fund, are as follows:

  • Jesse Bridges, United Way of Northwest Vermont
  • David Coates, KPMG (Former)
  • Rep. Hal Colston, Winooski and Vermont Community Foundation Board
  • Robert Dostis, Green Mountain Power
  • Ben Doyle, USDA Rural Development
  • Carolyn Dwyer, Vermont Community Foundation Board Vice Chair and Management Consultant
  • Mary Evslin, Entrepreneur
  • Lindsay Kurrle, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
  • Sue Minter, Capstone Community Action
  • Aly Richards, Let’s Grow Kids
  • Beth Rusnock, National Life Foundation
  • John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank
  • Meg Seely, Vermont Community Foundation Board Chair
  • Anson Tebbetts, Vermont Agency of Agriculture

Additionally, for the Community Foundation’s ongoing partners, any nonprofit recipient of a prior discretionary grant from the Foundation that is not yet closed will soon receive approval to use those funds for the most urgent needs of the organization at this time.