The Vermont Community Foundation announced that the Innovations and Collaborations grant program awarded $235,549.92 to 17 nonprofit organizations in Vermont in June 2017. These Innovations and Collaborations grants will support projects that help nonprofits collaborate across sectors and regions to develop common solutions to community needs. More than $85,000 of these grants were made possible by Giving Together, a program at the Community Foundation that shares grant proposals with fundholders and donors, giving them the opportunity to co-fund projects.
“Cross sector collaboration continues to be a vital strategy for driving strong and vital communities in Vermont,” says Dan Smith, President and CEO. “The history of success among our partners has motivated continued support from Community Foundation fundholders for a number of ongoing programs, while simultaneously encouraging support for new projects that embrace the model of working together for stronger outcomes.”
Grant awards ranged from $10,000-$20,000 for both new and continued funding. Nine new projects include a program to provide parenting skills and recovery support to young parents in recovery for substance abuse and program to bring financial services to low and mid-income workers to encourage a more economically secure workforce. Eight additional projects received continued funding, including a garden- based activities program that promotes physical and mental health, enhances social connections, and increases food security for veterans and a peer mentoring program for people across Vermont with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Bennington County Regional Commission received $15,000 for a project that aims to accelerate entrepreneurship and job-growth in Bennington County, therefore revitalizing the local economy. The project will encourage entrepreneurs in the region to stay and start new businesses through three key programs: an education series for entrepreneurs, one-on-one coaching from business leaders, and an entrepreneurial leadership speaker series.
Partners: The Lightning Jar and Bennington County Industrial Corporation
Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) received $17,799.92 for a program that will offer financial services and guidance for new Americans. Funding will enable interpreted classes, coaching meetings, and educational financial house parties where community members help mentor one another to help New Americans envision and reach their financial goals.
Partners: Vermont Family Network, Burlington School District’s Parent University, the City of Winooski, and the Islamic Society of Vermont
The Family Place received $17,750 for a parenting skills and recovery support group for young parents in recovery or treatment for substance. The program will help them develop the skills and abilities they need to become successful parents and encourages program attendance by offering food and assisting with transportation and childcare.
Partner: Second Growth
Green Mountain United Way received $15,000 to expand their Working Bridges program, which brings crucial resources to low- to mid-income employees in their workplaces, helping them access human service resources, financial education, credit, and free on-site tax preparation, helping to foster a more economically secure workforce, successful businesses, and resilient community.
Partners: United Way of Northwest Vermont, Rural Edge, North Country Federal Credit Union, North Country Hospital, and Weidmann Electrical Technology
Migrant Justice received $15,000 for a project that will create and distribute a culturally and linguistically accessible rights handbook on employment and housing law for immigrant farmworkers in Vermont, and it will be presented throughout the state through a series of education workshops.
Partner: The Food and Agriculture Clinic of Vermont Law School
The Nature Conservancy received $20,000 for a two-year study to determine where and how much natural infrastructure protection and restoration is needed in the watershed to reduce phosphorus run-off pollution and how much this will cost.
Partners: The Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Spectrum Youth & Family Services received $20,000 to establish a car detailing business that will help vulnerable youth facing mental health issues, substance use, and other barriers to success gain job skills, practical work experience, and support while earning a paycheck.
Partners: Howard Center
Vermont Technical College received $15,000 to support the Vermont Tech Mobile Fab Lab, which is equipped with machines and programming computers and will travel throughout the state to bring manufacturing training to high school students and graduates, workers at manufacturing businesses, and veterans.
Partners: Vermont Adult Learning, Community College of Vermont, Working Bridges, and GW Plastics
Washington County Youth Service Bureau received $20,000 for an online and in-person training program, accessible to all foster parents, DCF staff, and residential programs, which is designed to ensure that all LGBTQ youth are placed in safe and supportive homes regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Partners: Outright Vermont, Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF), Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership
Second year of continued funding
Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless received $10,000 for a program that provides safe shelter for homeless addicts to help eliminate the pressure of finding a place to sleep every night, so they can focus their efforts on recovery from addiction.
Partner: The Turning Point Center of Bennington
Open Door Clinic received $10,000 for bilingual and bi-cultural mental health professionals to develop a manual and training program to guide outreach workers’ use of bi-lingual comic books, funded through last year’s grant money, which explore mental health and wellness practices, helping migrant workers cope with stress and anxiety.
Partners: Bridges to Health Consortium, Vermont Migrant Education Program, and Middlebury College Center for Counseling/Human Relations
Green Mountain Self-Advocates received $10,000 for VerMENTORS, which will train additional peer mentors with developmental disabilities, expand support for mentors as they work with mentees, and formalize the process by which mentors identify and teach skills to mentees with the overall goal of strengthening the peer mentoring network statewide.
Partners: Community Access Program of Rutland Mental Health Services, United Counseling Services, Northwestern Counseling and Support Services, Counseling Services of Addison County, Howard Center, Washington County Mental Health, Lamoille County Mental Health, and Champlain Community Services
Preservation Trust of Vermont received $10,000 for Vermont Story Lab, which will continue to build Vermont nonprofits’ capacity to weave storytelling into the fabric of their organizations to expand mission reach and impact by using story to inspire and motivate their audiences.
Partners: Vermont Folklife Center, Regional Educational Television Network, Shelburne Farms, Fran Stoddard Productions, and Community Expressions
Shelburne Farms received $10,000 for Start Well – Eat Well, which provides health and learning benefits to children in Addison County from birth to five years old through farm-to-school activities. Second year of funding will work to introduce more early care educators to a wide variety of farm to school activities, resources, community partners, and opportunities for peer-to-peer learning.
Partners: ACORN (Addison County Revitalization Network), Mary Johnson Children’s Center and Child Services, Vermont FEED, and Vermont Farm to School Network
Vermont Community Garden Network received $10,000 for HANDS in the Dirt, which supports garden-based activities for veterans to improve both physical and mental health, enhance social connections, and increase food security. Second-year funding will enable a focus on developing and documenting best practices, so they can share a replicable model.
Partners: St. Michael’s College, Veterans Administration-Burlington, Committee On Temporary Shelter (COTS), Canal Street Veterans Housing, and Charlie Nardozzi
Vermont Land Trust received $10,000 for a project that began developing a GIS map of Vermont that scored headwaters’ importance in promoting flood resilience and protecting water quality. Continued funding will be used to complete the mapping across the state and to give three presentations to communicate the uses of this tool when considering important resilience and water quality policies, planning, and funding decisions.
Partners: Milone and MacBroom, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources: Watershed Management Division, and The Nature Conservancy: Vermont Chapter
Third year of continued funding
Goddard College received $10,000 for a program that fosters youth oral history, radio production, and community storytelling. Third-year funding will expand the program beyond its roots in Cabot, Montpelier, and Randolph and into Burlington’s community and schools through a new partnership with Big Heavy World and Savi Learning.
Partners: Cabot School, Montpelier High School, Randolph Union High School,Big Heavy World / The Radiator 105.9fm, and Savi Learning
The Vermont Community Foundation is a family of hundreds of funds and foundations established by Vermonters to serve their charitable goals. It provides the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise to make giving easy and effective. The Foundation also provides leadership in giving by responding to community needs, mobilizing and connecting philanthropists to multiply their impact, and by keeping Vermont’s nonprofit sector vital with grants and other investments in the community.