Opportunity Fund for Southshire Youth

Established in 2018, the Opportunity Fund for Southshire Youth will ensure an ongoing source of revenue for dynamic and innovative youth programs in Bennington, North Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury, and Woodford in perpetuity.

Youth are important. When young people in a community thrive, they make their communities more vibrant. They volunteer in the community and help their neighbors. They speak up and speak out. They are engaged in school. They are creative and athletic. They take part-time jobs and internships. They give a community a sense of pride and promise. When youth struggle not only are their lives harmed, the community’s future is put at risk.

What We Fund

The Opportunity Fund for Southshire youth awards grants for creative and effective initiatives that support and empower Bennington-area youth, particularly those facing challenges and limited access to opportunities due to economic distress, racism, being gender non-conforming, mental health issue, disability, legal status, or other reason.

In 2021, the fund will prioritize projects that:

  • Elevate youth leadership and empowerment, especially of historically marginalized youth,
  • Provide opportunity and access for youth facing hardships related the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • Expand youth engagement in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) activities and increase youth exposure to STEAM careers, and/or
  • Advance youth entrepreneurship.

Who May Apply

  • First time applicants are encouraged to apply. Please be in touch if you have any questions or need help with the application.
  • Grassroots organizations and community groups are encouraged to apply. Nonprofit organizations or community groups that do not have 501(c)(3) status may apply for grant awards if another tax-exempt organization, school, or municipality acts as a fiscal sponsor.
  • An organization serving as fiscal sponsor for an Opportunity Fund for Southshire Youth applicant or grantee does remain eligible to submit their own application for a different project.

All applicants to programs at the Vermont Community Foundation must meet these guidelines.

Grant Size

Grants will be in the range of $500-$3,500.

Deadline and Notification

Applications will be accepted between February 15 – April 14, 2021. Applications must be received by 5PM on Wednesday, April 14 in order to be considered. No late applications will be accepted.

Application Process

All applications must be submitted electronically. Visit our Online Grants Center page to learn how and to register for a new account. Or click here to access your existing account.

To help you prepare, click here to preview a sample of the application.