Small and Inspiring Grants Program at the Vermont Community Foundation Announces 28 Grants to Nonprofits Across the State

During the first half of 2017, the Vermont Community Foundation—in partnership with some of its fundholders—awarded a total of $60,500 in Small and Inspiring grants to 28 nonprofit organizations for local projects in communities across the state, including some nonprofits that serve residents in multiple counties.

One of a number of competitive grant rounds at the Community Foundation, the Small and Inspiring grants program funds work that helps connect people to their neighbors, their land, and their history in ways that strengthen community. $22,750 of the total was made possible by Giving Together, a program at the Community Foundation that shares grant proposals with fundholders and donors, giving them the opportunity to co-fund projects.

“The Small and Inspiring grants program is an opportunity for small projects to make a large impact in Vermont communities,” said Dan Smith, President and CEO. “We are deeply committed to funding projects that connect people and help create positive interactions and outcomes.”

Nonprofits interested in applying for a Small and Inspiring grant are encouraged to visit for more information. There are two remaining rounds in 2017, with deadlines at 5:00 p.m. on August 2 and October 18.

Small & Inspiring Grants in Spring 2017

Addison County

Human Powered Parade and Festival received $1,500 to support the parade and festival celebrating bicycle and human power through art, place making activities, performances, and workshops organized through schools in Bristol and Middlebury.

New Community Project received $2,500 to support the Starksboro Area Food Justice Garden Expansion Initiative’s new organic gardens at the Sustainable Living Center and Community Garden in Starksboro, increasing the supply of fresh produce available for individuals and families struggling with nutritional diversity and food security.

Bennington County

Friends of Hiland Hall Gardens received $2,500 to support Thyme to Grow, a sustainable wellness program for at-risk pregnant teenagers in Bennington with a focus on gardening and growing, self-care, healthy cooking, giving back to the community, and building marketable skills in agriculture and business.

Chittenden County

Burlington School District received $2,455.70 to support Speaking Truth to Action, a summer writing, spoken word performance, and community action program for middle school students focusing on diversity, systems of oppression, power, and more with the award-winning group Muslim Girls Making Change.

Old Spokes Home - Burlington Bicycle Project received $1,975 to work with youth from diverse cultural backgrounds to create value in their communities while developing pre-employment and leadership skills as they learn to repair the bikes of their families, friends, and neighbors.

Essex County

Brighton Community Forum received $2,500 to support the Friday Night Live Concert Series, a summer-long, free, community building, live music series at Island Pond for locals and visitors.

Franklin County

Franklin Caring Communities received $2,500 for The Health Project: Healthy Cooking For Kids which will educate the community through a service project that serves as a platform for youth empowerment, peer mentoring, and showing youth how valued they are within the community.

Franklin Natural Resources Conservation District received $2,500 for the Woods and Farms Adventures Day Camp for underprivileged St. Albans youth, engaging them in nature-based activities that connect them to the land and help them envision careers in science and environmental stewardship.

Northern Forest Canoe Trail received $2,500 for a project in partnership with the Vermont River Conservancy that will create a river access, community-gathering place, and natural area along the Missisquoi River in Richford.

Lamoille County

Johnson Arts Council recevied $2,500 to build a community wood-fired oven to serve as a focal point in town for bringing people together and to engender a sense of pride and commitment to the town of Johnson.

Orleans County

Town of Irasburg/Leach Public Library received $971 for the TECHY KIDS Program which engages the endless imaginations of upper elementary and middle school children in a summer program of futuristic studies through Lego Robotics and Computer 3-D Design.

Wonder & Wisdom recevied $2,500 for a community collaboration effort that through volunteer work days, service-learning projects, and arts and cultural events, will engage the community to enhance the new greenspace in Craftsbury Village.

Worksong Project received $1,000 to bring Bennett Konesni and Edith Gawler, musicians, farmers, and teachers from Maine, to Craftsbury to teach worksongs and lead work parties at farms and schools in the area, culminating in a community dance and concert.

Upper Valley: Orange & Windsor Counties

All-4-One received $2,054 for the Springfield Community Park Project, a partnership with the Springfield Park and Recreation Department to bolster the morale of the community and encourage family participation by providing picnic tables, trash barrels, and barbecue grills around the community playground area.

Brookfield Community Partnership received $2,500 for Family Fun Days at the Brookfield Old Town Hall, providing a series of high-quality, affordable events for young families in the greater Brookfield area.

Two Rivers Supervisory Union received $1,000 to provide summer landscaping work for young women residents of the Windsor Youth Service which will create a park next to the Cavendish Town Elementary School that will add educational and recreational opportunities for the students and an attractive green space for town residents.     

Vermont Works for Women received $2,500 to bring Rosie's Girls Build Camp to Randolph for middle school girls to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and related trades through hands-on activities with math, science, creativity, and power tools.

West Fairlee Center Church received $1,044.30 for a summer concert series bringing the community and its visitors together for live music and an opportunity to meet the musicians after their performances.

White River Partnership received $2,500 for the Rikert River Access Area Stewardship Project, engaging interested community members in the improvement and stewardship of Sharon's newest public space.

Washington County

Barre Historical Society received $2,500 to restore a 1913 wood-fired bakery in a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places so that culinary programs, local teens, and community may come together to bake bread.

Kellogg-Hubbard Library received $2,500 to bring internationally recognized magic and American heritage music programs to families from more than six Vermont towns.

NAMI Vermont received $2,500 to fund two confidential, peer-led, recovery support groups at the Central Vermont Medical Center, serving people living with mental illness in the Berlin area.

North Branch Nature Center received $2,500 for Project OwlNet: an owl banding and monitoring program at the North Branch Nature Center aimed a helping scientists to better understand various aspects of the migratory owl’s life cycle and offering public banding demonstrations to hundreds of visitors of all ages.

Northfield Middle and High School received $1,000 for a mural project that will replace the graffiti covered entrance to downtown with a mural created and executed by students and supported by the community.

Vermont College of Fine Art received $2,500 for the Young Writers Network which will bring an accomplished young adult author to the Canaan School for a four-day residency to work with students to explore how writing can help us understand ourselves, appreciate our communities, and form stronger connections with others.

Windham County

Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center received $2,500 for The Great Outdoors with In-Sight Photography Project for teens, using the camera as a lens to investigate and nurture a deeper appreciation of the natural world around us.

Green Mountain Conservancy received $2,500 for the Somerset Greeter Program which protects the resevoir from invasive plant species through inspections of boats entering the water at the boat access point.

The Root Social Justice Center received $2,500 to embark on new programming to support, build, and organize a vibrant and connected community of people of color in Southern VT, including Soul Food Sundays where people share food, socialize, and heal.

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