The Samara Fund

The Samara Fund (Samara) is a community-directed fund that helps ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) Vermonters are connected, healthy, appreciated, safe, and empowered. We make grants and scholarships annually based on recommendations from committees of LGBTQ+ volunteers from around the state.

Samara is the only set of permanent endowments in the state of Vermont dedicated to assuring a base of funding to support ongoing and critical challenges facing LGBTQ+ communities. These funds, composed of bequests and donations, provide grants to nonprofit organizations to benefit LGBTQ+ communities and scholarships to Vermont students to attend college or training.

The Samara Fund is named for the symbolism of seeds and growth, new life and vitality, the continuity of life, and of Vermont's native sugar maples. Samara is the distinctive winged fruit of the maple tree that gently spins its way to earth. Just as the samara ensures continuity of the maple tree, the fund fosters and sustains Vermont's LGBTQ+ communities by providing support for projects and scholarships and establishing a permanent resource for the future.

What We Fund

The Samara Fund funds projects or organizations that serve Vermont’s LGBTQ+ communities or support HIV/AIDS services or prevention for LGBTQ+ Vermonters. Organizations that are not LGBTQ+ or HIV/AIDS focused may apply for support for projects that directly serve Vermont’s LGBTQ+ communities. Priority is given to projects that collaborate with and center LGBTQ+ voices and communities.

Click here to learn more about the Samara Scholarship program.

Deadline and Notification

The Samara Fund Advisory Committee is deep into a process of reflection and action revisioning its statement of values, processes, accessibility, and accountability. The plan is to launch a new framework and set of practices later in 2022.

During this transitional time, the Samara Advisory Committee awarded unrestricted grants to the six organizations in Vermont with an exclusive or major LGBTQ+ focus: AIDS Project of Southern Vermont, Out in the Open, Outright Vermont, Pride Center of Vermont, Twin States Network, and Vermont CARES, as well as Camp Outright at Common Ground Vermont and the Pride Festival.

Though there is no formal competitive grant round in 2022, the Committee has some discretionary funds available for making grants to compelling and important LGBTQ+ programs during this transitional period. Please contact Elisabeth Marx at emarx@vermontcf.org to connect with the Committee and learn more about how to apply.

The Samara Fund Advisory Committee

  • Owen Daniel-McCarter, he/him, Bethel
  • Toviah DeGroot, they/them, Montpelier
  • Vini KD Emery, they/them, Montpelier
  • Kate Jerman, she/her, Burlington
  • Llu Mulvaney-Stanak, they/them, Burlington
  • Mo Reilly, she/her, East Thetford
  • Richard M. Wizansky, he/him, Guilford