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 will accept applications for 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.

Applicants are eligible for one grant from the Samara Fund in a calendar year. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Click here to learn more about the Samara Scholarship program.

2021 Guidance for Proposals

The Samara Fund’s priorities for the 2021 grantmaking cycle are projects and services focusing on and led by:

  • LGBTQ+ youth
  • LGBTQ+ elders
  • LGBTQ+ BIPOC
  • LGBTQ+ populations in rural areas
  • Trans Vermonters
  • And LGBTQ+ competent health care, mental health, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS services 

What We Don't Fund

Samara does not make grants to individuals, religious organizations for religious purposes, political campaigns, for-profit corporations or businesses, capital campaigns, deficits or funding shortfalls, work that has already been done, or more than one grant in the same calendar year.

Who May Apply

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

Deadline and Notification

The Samara Fund 2021 deadline: Applications will be accepted between March 26 - May 28, 2021. Applications must be received by 5PM on Friday, May 28 in order to be considered. 

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.

The Samara Fund Advisory Committee

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