Environmental Justice Small Grant Program

The Environmental Justice Small Grant Program is designed to support Vermont communities in confronting increasingly severe weather events and rising temperatures. Just as Vermonters adapt to the changing seasons, it is important that our communities prepare themselves for the long-term effects of a changing climate.


Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work. (as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

This grant program is designed to support communities with heightened risk and increased sensitivity to climate change and that have less capacity and fewer resources to cope with, adapt to, or recover from climate impacts. The degree of risk and sensitivity stems from physical (built and environmental), social, political, and/or economic factors, which interact with each other and are exacerbated by climate impacts. These factors include race, class, sexual orientation and gender identity, national origin, and income inequality.

What We Fund

The Vermont Community Foundation is seeking proposals for community-driven programs or projects that help local communities adapt to the impacts of Vermont's changing climate and the increase of severe weather events. Projects may represent a wide spectrum of ideas and activities, including arts, community education and skill building, food access, green jobs, projects that reduce risk and harm, multi-generational climate activities, youth leadership, movement building, and more.

For this pilot grant cycle, the Vermont Community Foundation is seeking programs or projects that:

  • Support community resilience to climate change and climate-related impacts by reducing the physical and/or financial risk experienced by frontline communities
  • Yield tangible, equitable benefits for local communities by addressing or adapting to climate change impacts
  • Consider local knowledge and transform that knowledge into an innovative action or solution
  • Build partnerships that respond to community-identified challenges

Funds may be used for salaries, benefits, contracted workers, project materials and equipment, reasonable overhead costs, and similar, necessary project expenses.

What We Don't Fund

  • Capital costs and campaigns
  • Performance ticket subsidies or scholarships that are not directly connected to community-building work
  • Debt reduction or deficit funding
  • Individuals (applicants should apply as part of a nonprofit organization, community group, municipality, or similar entity)
  • Expenses that have already been incurred
  • Programs with religious instruction
  • Indirect expenses unrelated to the project such as fiscal sponsor fees, rent, or financing costs

Who May Apply

Eligible applicants must be nonprofit organizations, municipalities, or schools whose primary service area is in the state of Vermont. These might be community-based organizations, libraries, community centers, senior centers, youth programs, service providers, or other entities. Projects without 501c3 status who have a fiscal sponsor are eligible. All applicants to programs at the Vermont Community Foundation must meet these guidelines

VCF encourages applications from frontline and grassroots organizations serving low-income youth, older adults, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color), and LGBTQIA+ Vermonters, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.

VCF encourages applications from communities impacted by the recent severe weather and the July 2023 Flood to submit applications. Flood-related applications will be considered separately from non-flood-related applications.

Grant Size

This program will award grants of up to $10,000 and can resource an 18-month project period.


Round 1 Deadline: Applications will be accepted between October 19 and November 13, 2023. Applications and supporting documentation must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, November 13th to be considered. Applications sent by mail must be postmarked by November 13, 2023.

Round 2 Deadline: Applications will be accepted between November 14 and December 1, 2023. Applications and supporting documentation must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 2023, to be considered. Applications sent by mail must be postmarked by December 1, 2023.

This is not a first come, first serve grant program. Grant decisions will be made in consultation with a diverse, volunteer review committee made up of organizational partners, community members, and stakeholders who represent different geographic areas of the state.

Application Process & Notification

Applications can be submitted electronically. Visit our Online Grants Center page to learn how to register for a new account. Or click here to access your existing account.  Applications sent by mail must be postmarked by the deadline, December 1, 2023. To discuss completing a written application, contact Kate Neubauer, Program Officer, Climate & Environment at (802) 388-3355 ext. 250 or email kneubauer@vermontcf.org.

We expect the application to take approximately 30-60 minutes to complete. If you have limited access to a computer, need translation services, would prefer to complete a written application, and/or would like to work directly with a VCF staff member to complete an application over the phone, please contact Kate Neubauer, Program Officer, Climate & Environment at (802) 388-3355 ext. 250 or email kneubauer@vermontcf.org. You may also contact the grants and community impact team at grants@vermontcf.org or 802-388-3355 opt. 6 with any questions you have about the application process.

To help you prepare, click here to preview a sample of the application. Please note that this is a PDF sample and not the actual application. To view and begin working on the application, log in to the Online Grants Manager (OGM), which can be accessed at vermontcf.org/OGM.

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in January 2024.