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The Walter Cerf Community Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation Announces $149,461 in Grants to Forty-Four Organizations

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The Walter Cerf Community Fund, a component fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, has announced $52,461 in grants to 20 organizations in its 2021 competitive grants round, building on $97,000 previously granted to 24 organizations in April of this year.

The competitive grants include a combination of organizations supporting youth and families, historic preservation, arts and community engagement, and education. In addition, the fund made proactive grants to longstanding grantee partners continuing to experience considerable disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the organizations receiving funding are based in Addison County and northern Rutland County.

Born in Leipzig, Germany in 1907, Walter Cerf spent most of his youth in Berlin. He relocated to the United States in 1937 as a refugee of Nazi Germany. After becoming a U.S. citizen, he served in military intelligence and developed a deep appreciation for the preservation of art, culture, and local history. In 1947, he began a 25-year career as a Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, eventually retiring to his summer home in Leicester, Vermont in 1972.

During the last 20 years of his life, Walter Cerf made gifts exceeding $10 million to more than 100 different organizations in Vermont. At his death in 2001, a permanent endowment, the Walter Cerf Community Fund, was established at the Vermont Community Foundation. The fund makes grants annually in Walter’s name and will continue the generosity of this remarkable man who cared deeply about the vitality of communities in Addison County, northern Rutland County, and beyond.

2021 Competitive Grants

Addison County Community Trust received $2,000 for the Family Support Program, providing resources to prevent evictions and improve resident success through programming, service coordination, and other interventions.

Addison County Humane Society received $4,000 to support a weekly veterinary wellness clinic to owners with pets enrolled in Pet CORE.

Addison County Parent/Child Center received $2,000 to support a multi-generational nature program, increasing children’s therapeutic play and learning, and working to improve the well-being of children while deepening a connection to nature.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont received $2,000 to assist with the launch of a new mentoring program in collaboration with the Addison County School District and the Community Partnership Council that will serve children and youth at Bridport Central School and Middlebury Union Middle School.

Common Ground Center received $4,000 to support financial aid for youth to attend the Adventure Camp Program, ensuring equitable access for all who wish to participate.

Early Care and Learning Partnership received $2,000 to support the Spring 2022 Course: Human Development: Meaning Making, Creativity, and Spirituality.

Friends of the Brandon Town Hall received $2,250 to support structural upgrades to its concession area.

Friends of the Union Meeting Hall received $2,000 to support the installation of a new door with trim that will match existing historic details, as part of the Hall’s larger project to install a new ADA compliant entrance and exit.

Middlebury Actors Workshop received $2,000 to support an original adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Otter Valley Unified Union School District received $2,000 to support the growth of its Tech Ed Program, a comprehensive exploration of careers and interests for students.

Ripton Community Coffee House received $1,250 to purchase equipment and tech to stream concerts online and increase access to programs.

Russell Memorial Library received $1,461 to support community programs at the new Monkton community building in summer 2022.

Rutland Area Art Association received $4,000 in general operating support.

Rutland County Humane Society received $1,000 to support pet owners who need access to pet food in Brandon, which will be distributed in partnership with the Brandon Food Shelf.

Rutland County Parent-Child Center received $4,000 to support upgrades to an outdoor classroom and nature space at its Brandon location.

The Vermont Granite Museum of Barre received $5,000 to support the development of a sculpture park and accessible trail, increasing community engagement with the interpretation of natural habitats, sculptures, and granite industry.

Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired received $1,000 to support the SMART Device Technology Training Program.

Vermont Department for Historic Preservation received $4,000 to support museum exhibit work at Mount Independence.

Vermont Folklife Center received $4,000 to support the creation of public, digital access to the Vermont Town Schools Project Collection: a community oral history project exploring the relationship between Addison County towns and their schools.

Vermont Works for Women received $2,500 to support its Women’s Employment & Career Services program, providing Vermont women with the skills, confidence, and support to achieve financial stability for themselves and their families.

Additional grants made:

  • Addison Central Teens & Friends
  • Addison County Community Action Group (HOPE)
  • Addison County Readers, Multi-year grant recipient
  • American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Vermont, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Charter House Coalition, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Community Health Services of Addison County, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Elderly Services, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Fort Ticonderoga Association
  • Governor's Institutes of Vermont, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History
  • John W. Graham Emergency Shelter, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
  • Mary Johnson Children's Center, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Middlebury Studio School, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Opera Company of Middlebury
  • Otter Creek Child Center, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Preservation Trust of Vermont
  • Rokeby Museum, Multi-year grant recipient
  • Shelburne Museum
  • Town Hall Theater
  • Vermont Historical Society
  • Vermont Humanities Council, Multi-year grant recipient