About Our Founders

Lois & J. Warren “Mac” McClure

How did we come to focus on equitable access to postsecondary and career training? To tell that story, it’s best to start at the beginning. We were established in 1995 as the first supporting organization at the Vermont Community Foundation as a way to structure and continue the family tradition of collaborative, entrepreneurial philanthropy practiced by our founders, Lois McClure and her late husband, J. Warren “Mac” McClure. The McClure family’s giving philosophy has been clarified through over half a century of family philanthropy.

The first thirteen years of the McClure Foundation was spent building the fund balance and supporting broad charitable issues. In 2008, after considering many issues and opportunities critical to Vermont communities, we focused our philanthropic lens on promoting equitable access to postsecondary and career education. In partnership with the Community Foundation, we published a report on the roles for philanthropy to affect the issue and created the College & Career Training Fund, which remains a vehicle through which philanthropists and funders can pool resources and support strategic initiatives and programs across the state.

Since 2008, we’ve awarded well over $4M to programs that build equitable access to affordable and high-quality education and training after high school that will prepare Vermonters for secure and successful employment. Funding strategies that guide our investment include: investing in students facing the biggest obstacles, raising college aspiration rates, changing the narrative around jobs, and partnering with others. Learn more about our current priorities and about how to apply for a grant here.

As we enter our 25th anniversary year, we take time to reflect on the life histories and insights of our founders, Lois and Mac. Even as our understanding of the needs and opportunities facing Vermonters and Vermont communities evolves, our work continues to be guided and inspired by the experiences, values, and visions of our remarkable founders. And so we welcome you to read the life histories of J. Warren “Mac” McClure and Lois McClure as compiled by our board president Barbara Benedict.