Stories of Impact

The Community Foundation's family of funds supports a wide range of nonprofits across the state. We're regularly inspired by the work of our grantees. We invite you to read (and watch!) a few of their stories.

A Military Mentor

Community College of Vermont

There are not many out there who understand what it’s like to be a college student with PTSD—Kyle Aines does. Unlike many of his peers in Tinmouth, Kyle did not go directly to work or college after graduating from high school. Instead, he joined the U.S. Army and trained as a combat medic. Just over a year after leaving Vermont for Basic Training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, Kyle was sent to Iraq, where he completed two tours.

Today, Kyle's experiences help to inform his work helping students as a Veteran & Military Services Resource Advisor at Community College of Vermont (CCV).

Read his story.

Engineering Successful Futures

The Governor's Institutes of Vermont

It doesn’t look like the little LEGO robot could save lives, but one day something like it just might; the device is a prototype for a robot that finds injured people in disaster zones. Two teenagers stand nearby and watch the robot they created traverse a college hallway. Taking notes, they observe and brainstorm ways to improve on their work.

Many students might not able to do anything like this in their high school classes during the year—but at the Engineering Institute at the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV), they can explore what it will be like to pursue careers in engineering.

Read their story.

Camping Out

Camp Outright

At first listen, it sounds like a typical summer camp. Teens in colorful shorts and T-shirts shout and greet one another as they emerge from their cabins to spend the August day together. Newcomers to the camp laugh nervously as they listen to the boisterous stories told by confident veterans around cafeteria tables. In the sweltering heat of the afternoon, the sounds of splashes resonate across the grounds as a group leaps into the water together, shrieking at the sudden cold. In a quieter corner of the camp, shaded by trees, campers attending for their final year huddle together as one of them performs a bright melody on a ukulele, crooning a cover of a popular song.

Read their story.

Their River, Their Story

Mad River Valley TV

The first face you see in the documentary is not one you would expect. After the title screen for “The Mad River: It’s Our River and Yours,” fades, the camera focuses in on its first interviewee, seated in a low red chair next to a whiteboard, hair tucked back by a small, pink barrette. The young Waitsfield Elementary School student’s eyes flicker around the room as she explains that the Mad River is “mad,” not because of heavy currents, but because it flows north instead of south, as few other rivers do.
Read their story.

Music in Prisons


Three young men play cellos in a large, white, windowless room. Bach resonates in the space, a rich sound unfamiliar in this place of locking doors, rattling keys, clinking chains, and the footsteps of security guards. Much of the audience sits with heads bowed and hands folded, attention turned inward. After the final cadence fades, one of the prisoners, a large man, looks up and asks, “What’s the story behind that music? I need to know.” Read their story.

More Veggies for More Vermonters

The Food and Farm Initiative

Since 2012, our Food and Farm Initiative has awarded more than $1 million to organizations around the state to connect the state's vibrant local food movement with the fight to end hunger. Food Connects in Brattleboro and the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick are two of the grantees. Watch their stories.

Neighbors Teaching Neighbors

Bethel University

How do you build community? There are as many answers to this question as there are communities. But one method emerging in the small town of Bethel is particularly unique. It’s known as Bethel University (BU for short), and it’s free. Read their story.

Syrup for the Birds

Bird Friendly Maple Project

Vermont Maple Syrup. It’s something we’re proud of in this state. It is, in fact, one of our most famous exports. It calls up images of pancakes doused in rich amber, sugarhouses full of sweet steam, and boots tromping through the forest to collect the sap that drips from trees into galvanized buckets with a steady plunking sound, like a leaky faucet. It doesn’t usually call up images of song birds. Read their story.

Becky's Story

Addison County Parent Child Center

In 2014, the Community Foundation presented Michael and Cindy Seligmann and the Addison County Parent/Child Center with the 2014 Community Impact Award. Becky is one of many people whose family has been helped by the Parent Child Center.  Watch her story.

Horses as Mentors

Vermont Horse-Assisted Therapy

Imagine a warm summer day in Vermont. The trees are deep green, the hills are hazy. A group of riders and horses have gathered in the heat. At a distance this might look like any other group riding lesson; up close, it is far more personal. These riders, girls and young women, have a wide variety of backgrounds; some of them are living with physical or mental disability, some come from low-income families, and a few from relatively stable lives. They all have this in common: horses. Read their story.