Walter Cerf Community Fund Awards More Than $109,000 in Grants

The Walter Cerf Community Fund, a component fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, announced 2017 grant awards totaling $109,158.70 to 25 organizations. Since 2001, the fund has made grants to organizations located in Addison County or Brandon, or that have a statewide reach and make a unique contribution to Vermont. Priority interests are the arts, education, historic preservation, and social services, reflecting the pattern of giving established by Cerf during his lifetime.
Walter Cerf was a philosophy professor who arrived in the United States in 1937 as a refugee from Nazi Germany. In the years following World War II, he traveled back to Europe and fostered an interest in historic preservation as he traveled—collecting art, antiques, and even some pieces of the 18thcentury furniture his family was forced to leave behind when they fled Germany. In his later years, Cerf made Leicester, Vermont his home, giving more than $10 million to organizations and projects in Vermont before passing away in 2001.
Cerf focused much of his giving within his community of Addison County and Brandon; grants from the Walter Cerf Community Fund reflect that focus, with at least two-thirds of the grants reserved for Addison County/Brandon projects.
Each year, the fund awards one grant up to $25,000. This year, Addison Central Teens (ACT), Middlebury’s Teen Center, received $25,000 for building projects at its new Warming Hut location.
2017 Grant Awards
Addison Central Teens received $25,000 to build a mudroom addition onto the Teen Center which will improve the energy efficiency of the building and functionality of the space.
Addison County Community Trust received $2,000 to support community engagement programming including resident services and community gardening programs.
Addison Northeast Supervisory Union received $1,500 to support trainings for an adult-to-youth mentoring program for at-risk youth.
Bixby Memorial Free Library received $5,000 to provide literacy and STEM experiences for preschool children at in-home day care sites.
Brandon Senior Citizens Center received $2,500 to replace an obsolete central air conditioning unit in order to improve energy efficiency and lower energy costs.
Common Ground Center received $2,500 to provide scholarships that will allow low-income children access to environmentally-focused camps during school vacations.
Elderly Services received $5,000 to support five part-time nurses providing care to 238  elders at an adult day care center.
First Congregational Church and Society of Shoreham received $5,000 to replace the floor of the fellowship hall.
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts received $3,000 to subsidize student matinee tickets that will allow low-income, Addison County students to attend performances.
Friends of the Morrill Homestead received $2,000 to restore the historic 19th century orchard at the Justin Morrill Homestead.
Governor’s Institutes of Vermont received $2,000 to provide scholarship support to 38 Addison County high school students attending the programs.
HOPE received $5,000 to meet the increased demand on the food shelf and provide other critical poverty relief services.
Housing Trust of Rutland County received $2,500 to implement a “Healthy Living/Healthy Eating” program for seniors living in affordable housing in Brandon.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum received $2,500 to replace the windows in the museum’s historic stone schoolhouse.
Middlebury Summer Festival on-the-Green received $10,158.70 to replace the mainstage, which will address damage and improve safety.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England received $2,500 to provide reproductive health care and education to underserved women, men, and teens in Addison County.
Shelburne Museum received $2,500 to support an education program providing workshops for Addison County and Brandon schoolchildren.
Starksboro Village Meeting House Society received $5,000 to repair the historic sanctuary of the meeting house.
Town Hall Theater received $3,500 to expand the reach of its Shakespeare: It’s Elementary! literacy project to a larger number of low-income students and families.
Upright Steeple Society received $5,000 to paint the Lyndon Corner Congregational Church as part of an ongoing renovation and preservation project.
Vermont CARES received $1,000 to support a mobile van that provides HIV prevention and support services to Addison County residents.
Vermont Community Loan Fund received $5,000 to provide financing and business development training to early care and education providers.
Vermont Humanities Council received $2,500 to support trainings and workshops for early childcare providers and parents in order to build literacy skills in young children, particularly those in low-income, high-risk families or with special needs in Addison County and Brandon.
Vermont Technical College received $5,000 to support a mobile lab that will travel throughout the state providing manufacturing training to high school students, factory workers, veterans, and the unemployed.
VSA Vermont received $1,500 to support an arts-based literacy program that provides accessible trainings to early education and childcare providers in Addison County and Brandon.
The Walter Cerf Community Fund is also currently funding the following organizations with multi-year grants:
Addison County Readers
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Vermont
Charter House Coalition
Open Door Clinic
John Graham Shelter
Leicester Central School
Mary Johnson Children’s Center
Middlebury Studio School
Otter Creek Child Center
Rokeby Museum
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. Visit or call 802-388-3355 for more information.


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