McClure Foundation Awards $380,000 to Support Postsecondary Access and Attainment for Vermonters

The J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, has announced $380,000 in grants for the 2016-17 school year to programs promoting career and college education for Vermonters with a focus on low-income students, first-generation college students, adult learners, and veterans. The McClure Foundation is guided by a vision of a vibrant Vermont economy in which no promising job goes unfilled for lack of a qualified applicant.

For this school year, funding priority was given to programs that promote implementation of recent state legislation related to workforce development and access to career and college education. UP for Learning, a first-time grantee partner of the McClure Foundation, received $30,000 to foster public understanding and support for the Flexible Pathways bill and adoption of student-centered learning, including building grassroots communications capacity at six schools.

“McClure Foundation funding ensures that we can fully resource schools to build understanding and support for the Flexible Pathways legislation,” says UP For Learning’s Executive Director Helen Beattie. “These grants ensure that all students optimize new, diverse learning opportunities that will help them access and succeed in postsecondary education.”

The recipient of the largest amount of funds this grant round is the Community College of Vermont (CCV), which has received a total of nearly $1,300,000 from the McClure Foundation since 2008, including several grants awarded in partnership with funds at the Vermont Community Foundation. This year, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Libraries, the McClure Foundation is supporting the efforts of CCV to assemble a team of students to serve as Job Hunt Helpers at public libraries around the state. The McClure Foundation will also continue funding the Introduction to College Studies course for Vermont high school students and CCV’s veteran student services and career services.

“After spending nearly a decade considering the best roles for philanthropy to support Vermonters’ postsecondary access and attainment, we are confident that the work of these organizations, schools, and state agencies is among the most collaborative, most innovative, and most urgent in Vermont,” says McClure Foundation Vice President Barbara Benedict. “Our grantee partners are already putting the funds to good use in communities across the state.”

McClure Foundation grants build on a successful campaign in partnership with the Vermont Department of Labor to promote Vermont’s highest-paying, highest-demand jobs and the educational requirements needed to obtain them. The Foundation’s Pathways to Promising Careers brochure identifies sixty-plus careers, each expected to have at least 150 openings over the next decade and pay above the average Vermont hourly wage of $21.18.

“Occupational data reveals many high-paying, high-demand jobs available here in Vermont,” offered Benedict. “Getting students thinking about their education pathways early and often is key to ensuring they’re preparing for these careers. That’s why we’re thrilled to know that over 28,000 Pathways to Promising Careers brochures are being used by students, jobseekers, schools, state agencies, and organizations across Vermont.”

A list of grants is below; greater detail can be found on the Foundation website, The letter of interest for the next round of McClure Foundation funding will be available in January 2017 on the website. To be notified of its release, follow @mcclurevtfdn on Twitter.


Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation received $15,000 to support its Windham Region Workforce Center for Excellence programming and to better engage the private sector in helping build a workforce pipeline in the region.

Community College of Vermont (CCV) received four separate grants including $60,000 to support CCV’s Introduction to College Studies program: a free, 13-week course that prepares high school students for dual enrollment, college, and future careers. CCV also received $40,000 to support career advising services, $25,000 to support the Job Hunt Helper program in partnership with the Vermont Department of Libraries, and $45,000 to support veteran student services. The veteran services project also received support from the Vermont Veterans with Disabilities Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation.

Johnson State College received $15,000 to pilot a five-day Summer Bridge Program that enhances the academic preparation, motivation, and retention of 50 first-time, low-income, first-generation, and/or disabled students.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum received $20,000 to expand its STEAM Ship program to Mount Abraham Union High School and enhance its model for how museums offer educational programs during and after the school day that are matched with students’ personalized learning plans.

Spectrum Youth and Family Services received $20,000 to support its Youth Development Program participants for youth who were in or aged out of Vermont Department of Children and Families custody, with a focus on access to postsecondary education.

UP for Learning received $30,000 to foster public understanding and support for the Flexible Pathways bill and adoption of student-centered learning, building grassroots communications capacity at six schools, along with a state-level communications campaign implementation.

Vermont Journalism Trust received $10,000 to support the work of Vermont Digger in reporting on college readiness, workforce development, and education issues.

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation received two separate grants including $50,000 to support professional development for middle schools and high schools implementing personalized learning plans and $15,000 to support a pilot program in which low-income high school students in Franklin County whose parents do not have college degrees receive personalized encouragement to pursue dual enrollment and early college.

Vermont Works for Women received $25,000 in partnership with Vermont Technical College (VTC) to support the Women Can Do Conference at VTC and to offer two one-week Rosie’s Girls STEM/Leadership camps, at which the participating middle school girls are paired with year-round female STEM mentors.

Windham Southeast Supervisory Union (WSESU) received $10,000 to provide replication support for its dual enrollment academy and to implement its middle school and high school leadership program that promotes a positive school environment and prepares students to be successful in college and the workplace.

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