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The Vermont Women’s Fund Announces $331,000 in its 2021 Annual Grant Round

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The Vermont Women’s Fund has awarded $331,000 in grants to 29 nonprofit organizations that further the Fund’s mission to support the advancement, self-sufficiency, and economic and social equality of Vermont’s women and girls. A component fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, the Women’s Fund began fulfilling its philanthropic mission in 1994.

“The decisions made this year by the Vermont Women’s Fund Council reflect a new consciousness centered on creating a more equitable system to better serve women and girls,” says Meg Smith, director of the Vermont Women’s Fund. “The Women’s Fund is excited to help build the movement to support women and their communities as we move beyond the economic fallout of the pandemic.”

In 2021, the Vermont Women’s Fund Council based grantmaking decisions on a handful of priorities, including:

  • Making pathways to economic well-being more visible, accessible, and affordable for all women and girls
  • Investing in the economic security and career prospects of unemployed women and those earning less than a living wage
  • Committing to working with women and girls who are disproportionately impacted by systemic racism and sexism (BIPOC individuals, trans women and non-binary people, women living with disabilities, and older women)
  • Using Change The Story data to identify and support funding opportunities. Change The Story is the partnership between the Women’s Fund, Vermont Commission on Women, and Vermont Works for Women that provides data-driven solutions for fast-tracking women’s economic well-being in the state.

Smith adds, “Supporting the essential needs of women that lead to economic self-sufficiency remains front and center in our funding, but the heart of our work is to change the systems that lead to inequity in the first place. The vision and depth of this grant round is thanks to the work of the Vermont Women’s Fund Council members, our strong partnerships with sister organizations, and to our donors who are stepping up to give to women in Vermont more than ever before."

The following is the list of recipients of funding from the Vermont Women’s Fund for 2021. In response to the pandemic, the fund offered general operating grants in addition to programmatic support:

  • Black Lives Matter Vermont received $10,000 to support a virtual summer mentoring reading group for Black and Brown girls, as well as offer extended mentorship by professional Black women in private and public service careers.
  • Capstone Community Action received $10,000 for its program that provides young women an educational foundation, exposure to viable careers, and financial literacy coaching.
  • Center for Women & Enterprise received $10,000 to research the impact of COVID-19 on Vermont’s women-owned businesses and establish programming in Brattleboro to support women-owned businesses with a focus on BIPOC individuals.
  • Change the Story received $125,000 for its final year of the multi-year partnership to fast-track gender equity in Vermont.
  • Clemmons Family Farm received $10,000 to support its work to use the power of people, place, history, and the arts to preserve a rare Black-owned land and cultural heritage asset in Vermont, empower Vermont’s Black artists to thrive, and foster a loving, supportive, and healthy multicultural community.
  • City of Winooski received $9,000 to foster greater participation by women and girls in its Working Communities Challenge initiative, which involves ensuring that the people who make community decisions accurately reflect the demographics of Winooski.
  • CVOEO received $10,000 to teach financial skills to victims of domestic and/or sexual violence in Franklin and Grand Isle counties.
  • Dismas of Vermont received $7,000 to support its work to reconcile former prisoners with society and society with former prisoners by helping with housing and financial stability.
  • Easterseals Vermont received $3,000 to support young women transitioning from foster care to adult-living in the community.
  • Governor’s Institute of Vermont received $5,000 to support a scholarship for female-identified students.
  • Janet S. Munt Family Room received $7,000 for its Healthy Families from the Start program, which provides prenatal and postpartum doula support outside of the traditional social service system for new parents in Chittenden County.
  • Jenna’s Promise received $5,000 to provide women in its programs access to laptops for workforce development, online recovery services, and education.
  • Let’s Grow Kids received $7,000 to support its work on early education workforce development, which focuses on activities to recruit, strengthen, and empower individuals working in childcare.
  • Lund Family Center received $7,000 for its New Horizons Education Program, which provides year-round secondary education instruction and services to pregnant and/or parenting females.
  • Mercy Connections received $7,000 for The Rally Project, which is a statewide initiative providing critical start-up and long-term support for small businesses impacted by the pandemic, focusing on women and BIPOC business owners.
  • NewStory Center received $7,000 for its Turning the Page: Opportunities for Economic Independence program, which will provide survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence training and experience at local businesses to create pathways to viable careers.
  • Northeast Kingdom Collaborative received $5,000 for its NEK Womxn Lead Network, which facilitates career mentorship and region-wide connections through rich, honest dialogue among diverse women leaders in the Northeast Kingdom who want to help each other thrive and drive change.
  • Northern Vermont Area Health Education Center (AHEC) received $2,500 to offer young women in northern Vermont the opportunity to experience job shadowing and training in the healthcare field.
  • ReSOURCE received $5,000 for its Remote Work Readiness Training program, which creates opportunities to go from unemployed, or marginally employed in low-wage jobs, to careers with long-term stability and a livable wage.
  • Rights & Democracy Education Fund received $10,000 for its Catalyst Leadership program, which supports a new generation of womxn, BIPOC, and other individuals from Vermont’s most impacted communities to thrive in public leadership and policymaking roles.
  • Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center (AHEC) received $2,500 to offer young women in southern Vermont the opportunity to experience job shadowing and training in the healthcare field.
  • Step Out received $7,000 for its Lifelong Information for Entrepreneurs course for incarcerated women, which focuses on business plans, transitional strategies, and wellness skills to aid the development of healthy post-incarceration lives.
  • Sunrise Family Resource Center received $6,000 to support its work in Bennington County to deliver vital services that connect families with community resources, provide educational experiences, and build relationships that promote independence and resilience.
  • SUSU commUNITY Farm received $10,000 to support its work to offer educational programming, access to free food, and opportunities for healing and building community in Vermont.
  • The Family Place received $7,000 for its Families Learning Together Program, which is an intensive academic, pre-vocational, interpersonal, and parenting program for young parents and pregnant women living in poverty.
  • The Umbrella of St. Johnsbury received $10,000 to support its mission of cultivating a Northeast Kingdom where all people thrive, free from abuse and oppression.
  • Vermont Technical College received $7,000 to offer scholarships to women for its Butchering Basics and Game of Logging trainings, two sustainable careers in traditionally male-dominated fields.
  • Vermont Works for Women received $10,000 to support its work to help women and girls recognize their potential and explore, pursue, and excel in work that leads to economic independence.
  • Vermont Youth Conservation Corps received $10,000 to offer identity-based crews, including a Womxn Crew and Queer Crew, which will allow members to connect with and learn alongside others who share key aspects of their identity.