How to Apply

OUR GIVING PHILOSOPHY & AVAILABLE GRANTS

Over fifteen hundred electricians, nearly 4,000 nurses, and over 700 web developers: these are the kinds and numbers of high-pay, high-demand jobs expected to open in Vermont in the next ten years. And while we know that these and most other promising jobs require education and/or training after high school, about 36 percent of Vermont students from low-income backgrounds enroll in degree programs after high school, which is the lowest in New England according to the New England Secondary Schools Consortium. The enrollment rate of their non-economically disadvantaged peers is more than 20 points higher. With that gap in mind, we use grants to help make the education and training pathways to Vermont’s most promising jobs more visible, more accessible, and more affordable – for learners of all ages. We envision a Vermont where all people have abundant opportunities for career education and advancement and where no promising job goes unfilled for lack of a qualified applicant. In all we do, we’re committed to a relational approach that centers equity and the potential of Vermont’s greatest resource – its people.

WHAT WE FUND

We focus our funding on efforts that improve equitable access to the postsecondary and career education that leads to Vermont’s most promising jobs. We use a combination of competitive and invitation-only grant processes to fund a wide range of efforts and programs aligned with our mission.

Our annual competitive grant program supports growth-stage efforts and programs seeking funding to pilot a model or a big idea, demonstrate effectiveness, expand delivery, or improve systems coordination. These annual grants typically range from $15,000 to $60,000. Competitive grant recipients 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. Throughout the year, we also proactively invite grant proposals for systems development and/or systemic change efforts.

A core value of the McClure Foundation is working cooperatively with those who are focused on similar objectives. To that end, our funding strategies are 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 credential. We are also committed to learning from and alongside other education equity, postsecondary attainment, and workforce development practitioners and funders.

ANNUAL COMPETITIVE GRANT ROUND

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

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

Improve public, community, and/or family awareness of career pathways and the importance of continued education after high school.

Expand postsecondary access and increase postsecondary success so that Vermont students of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from postsecondary education and training. 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 work-based learning, early labor market experiences, and career and technical education programs)
  • Ensuring that Vermonters have the supports they need to complete a credential program (i.e. college degree, training certificate, registered apprenticeship, industry-recognized certification, operational license, etc.)

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

  • Strengthening the systems that support postsecondary attainment and workforce development (esp. regionally)
  • Improving the career advising and navigational supports available to low-income and first-generation secondary school students to and through high school graduation
  • Aligning college and career training programs with Vermont’s workforce needs, particularly as the efforts relate to "today's students" or "caring professions"

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, and;
  • can articulate their role(s) in a broader career pathway and/or ecosystem.

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, 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 by the McClure Foundation.

Grant applicants must employ staff and provide services without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Our 2020 competitive grant round launched January 2, 2020 and will support projects from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The first step to be considered for funding is to electronically submit a short Letter of Interest (LOI) form on the Vermont Community Foundation’s Online Grants Manager. LOI submissions must be submitted via the Online Grants Manager by 5pm on Thursday, February 6.

Visit the Online Grants Center to learn how to use the Grants Manager, including accessing your existing account or registering for the first time. To see a PDF preview of the LOI form, click here. Please note this PDF form is only a preview -- all submissions must be received on VCF's Online Grants Manager by 5pm on Thursday, February 6.

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. You can reach Carolyn at cweir@vermontcf.org or 802-388-3355 ext. 239.