How to Apply

OUR GIVING PHILOSOPHY & AVAILABLE GRANTS

What do 1,500 electricians, nearly 4,000 nurses, and over 700 web developers have in common? These are the kinds and numbers of promising jobs expected to open in Vermont in the next ten years. However, these and other promising Vermont jobs largely require education and/or training after high school. As few as 37 percent of Vermont’s low-income high school students pursue such education after graduation. With that gap in mind, we envision a Vermont where all people have abundant opportunities for career education and advancement and where no promising position goes unfilled for lack of a qualified applicant. We believe that as philanthropists, educators, learners, and civic leaders communicate and collaborate to improve and promote educational opportunities within the state, Vermont’s most important resource—its people—become more fully empowered. 

WHAT WE FUND

The J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation focuses its funding on efforts that improve equitable access to the postsecondary and career education that leads to Vermont’s most promising jobs. The Foundation uses a combination of competitive and invitation-only grant processes to fund a wide range of efforts and programs aligned with its mission.

Its annual competitive grant program supports growth-stage efforts and programs seeking funding to pilot a model, demonstrate effectiveness, or expand delivery. These annual grants typically range from $15,000 to $60,000. Successful growth-stage grant applicants are often invited to apply for continuation funding.

The Foundation’s invitation-only grant processes award multi-year sustaining grants to proven programs and to support mission-aligned convenings. These sustaining grants typically range from $1,500 to $6,000 annually. Read more about the Foundation’s sustaining grants. On occasion, the Foundation also invites proposals for up to $90,000 grants focused on systems development and/or systemic change.

A core value of the McClure Foundation is working cooperatively with those who are focused on similar objectives. To that end, its funding focus is intentionally aligned with both the Vermont Community Foundation’s commitment to closing the Opportunity Gap and to Advance Vermont’s commitment to increasing the percentage of working-age Vermonters with a postsecondary degree or credential of value. It is also committed to learning from and alongside other education equity, postsecondary attainment, and workforce development practitioners and funders.

ANNUAL COMPETITIVE GRANT ROUND

The Foundation’s annual competitive grant program supports growth-stage efforts and programs seeking funding to pilot a model, demonstrate effectiveness, or expand delivery in alignment with the Foundation’s mission.

Via the competitive grant program, the Foundation seeks to fund regional and statewide models or projects that are closely aligned with the strategies of statewide multi-sector postsecondary attainment or workforce development networks (ex: Advance Vermont). The Foundation favors projects which incorporate input and funding from a variety of public and private sources and are designed in learner-centered and equitable ways.

Funding priority will be given to projects that accomplish one or more of the following:

Expand postsecondary access so that students of all ages and backgrounds can pursue postsecondary education and training; or increase postsecondary success by ensuring that Vermonters have the supports they need to complete a degree or credential program. For example, this may include:

  • Improving postsecondary affordability (i.e. via improved FAFSA completion or increased participation rate in dual enrollment and/or early college)
  • Expanding postsecondary and career aspirations (i.e. via equitable access to high-quality mentoring, work-based learning , early labor market experiences, and career and technical education programs)
  • Improving on-ramps to employment for teens and young adults, particularly for those without post-secondary credentials.
  • Expanding evidence-based student support services
  • Removing inter-and intra-institutional barriers to degree and credential completion

Strengthen the pathways between education and employment. For example, this may include:

  • Improving the career advising available to low-income and first-generation secondary school students and to adult jobseekers
  • Supporting employer partnership in efforts to align training, certification, and degree programs with Vermont’s workforce needs

Grow awareness of postsecondary pathways and the importance of continued education after high school. For example, this may include:

Funding priority will be given to organizations/entities that:

  • Are public institutions or that strengthen our state’s public institutions, including schools, colleges, and libraries;
  • Have a history of data-driven, collaborative programming;
  • Work together to increase reach, to promote equity, and to share best practices; and
  • Have sustainable sources for general operating funds and need specific, short-term assistance to ramp up distinct programs or efforts of interest to the Foundation.

WHO MAY APPLY

Grant applications will be accepted from organizations that are located in or serve the people of Vermont. Organizations must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or be a public agency, school, or municipality in the state of Vermont. Nonprofit organizations or community groups who do not have 501(c)(3) status may apply for grant awards if another eligible organization acts as a fiscal sponsor.

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available (meaning any funds having a competitive application process) by the Vermont Community Foundation, and any other program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds appropriated for grants, cooperative agreements, and other assistance administered by the Foundation.

Grant applicants must employ staff and provide services without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Our upcoming competitive grant round supports projects that run from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. The first step to be considered for funding is to electronically submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) on the Vermont Community Foundation’s Online Grants Manager. Visit the Online Grants Center to learn how to use the Grants Manager, including accessing your existing account or registering for the first time. 

The 2019 deadline for submitting a Letter of Interest is 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 6. Following review of LOI submissions, a select number of applicants will be invited to submit a full application, which will be due Thursday, April 5. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by mid-May.

Before submitting a Letter of Interest, we encourage you to reach out to Carolyn Weir to discuss how your project lines up with Foundation priorities. 

QUESTIONS?

Carolyn Weir, senior philanthropic advisor for the McClure Foundation, is available to answer questions about the Foundation’s grant processes and to discuss how your project lines up with Foundation priorities. You can reach Carolyn at cweir@vermontcf.org or 802-388-3355 ext. 239.