Innovations and Collaborations Grant Program at the Vermont Community Foundation awards $222,000 to 13 nonprofit organizations this fall

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup
The Vermont Community Foundation
802-388-3355 ext. 285
[email protected]

The Vermont Community Foundation announced that its Innovations and Collaborations grant program awarded $222,000 to 13 nonprofit organizations in Vermont this fall. Awards ranged from $10,000 to $20,000 and several Foundation fundholders partnered with the Community Foundation in supporting the selected organizations.

“Through these grants, the Community Foundation and our fundholders support nonprofits that come up with new ways of working and reach across issue areas to collectively solve community problems,” says Stuart Comstock-Gay, president & CEO of the Community Foundation. “Innovations and Collaborations grants champion the kind of work that encourages cooperation among different organizations and has the potential to create best practices for others.”

This round of funding included support to preserve a parcel of pristine sugarbush forest for future generations of Nulhegan benakis and support to help improve labor and living standards for
farmworkers. In this inaugural year of the Innovations and Collaborations grant program, grant awards totaled over $400,000.


Global Campuses Foundation was awarded $20,000 to expand their model of self-directed campuses of learning for people with differing abilities to a statewide scale. The Vermont Department of
Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living (DAIL) is a partner in the project.

Public Assets Institute was awarded $20,000 for its Health Care Reform Information and Education Project, which will work to put the health care reform debate on a fact-based footing.

YWCA of Vermont was awarded $20,000 for Camp Outright, a week-long residential summer camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allied youth that builds strong peer-to-peer connections, emphasizes healthy behaviors, and engages youth as leaders. Outright Vermont is a partner in the project.


John W. Graham Emergency Shelter was awarded $15,000 for the No OneLeft Outside program, which works to remove the barriers to wellbeing faced by those with psychiatric- and addiction-related disabilities in Addison County. Project partners include Pathways to Housing, the Vermont Department of Mental Health, and Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC).

Southwestern Vermont Health Care Corporation (SVHC) was awarded $20,000 for the “Good Food, Good Health” project, which will improve nutrition education and access to good food for seniors in Bennington County. Bennington County Meals on Wheels is a partner in the project.

VSA Vermont was awarded $20,000 to help bring Universal Design for Learning (UDL) techniques to the Burlington School District, to expand its capacity to provide flexible, effective teaching for students with a variety of abilities and cultural backgrounds. Integrated Arts Academy, Champlain College Emergent Media Center, and Burlington City Arts are partners in the project.

Local Motion was awarded $15,000 for its Bike for Life program, which works to remove barriers to everyday bicycling at the individual, family, school, and community levels in Burlington’s Old North End. The Sustainability Academy at Barnes Elementary School, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), Vermont Department of Health, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Vermont Agency of Transportation, and the Vermont Public Health Association are partners in the project.

Migrant Justice was awarded $20,000 to launch a new internship program to strengthen ties between Migrant Justice and Vermont Law School to help improve labor and living standards for farmworkers, increase milk prices for farmers, and provide consumers with socially-just local milk products. Fairfield Community Center; Juntos Student Groups at UVM, St. Michaels College, and Middlebury College; and Vermont Law School are partners in the project.

Vermont CARES was awarded $11,000 for its innovative “Testing
Together: HIV Testing for Couples” program, which encourages at-risk partners to get HIV tests jointly and communicate directly about their possible future HIV risks as a couple and individually. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

Vital Communities was awarded $16,000 for its School Farm-Raiser program, an alternative school fundraising program in which students build markets for local farmers by selling local farm shares, fresh produce, and other local farm goods.

Northern Forest Center was awarded $15,000 for the Northeast Kingdom Model Neighborhood Project, a multi-year effort to incentivize the installation of state-of-the-art wood pellet heating systems. Maine Energy Systems, Northern Community Investment Corporation, Stonyfield Farm, and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) are partners in the project.

Abenaki Helping Abenaki (AHA) was awarded $20,000 for its “Nulheganaki Tribal Forest Initiative: A New Dawn” project, which seeks to preserve a modest parcel of pristine sugarbush forest for future generations of Nulhegan Abenakis that will serve as a home for community gardens, an operational sugarhouse, and youth cultural programs. The Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and Vermont Land Trust are partners in the project.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) was awarded $10,000 for an Ottauquechee Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (OCISMA) project to establish demonstration sites along the Ottauquechee River to heighten public awareness and involvement of the community in invasive plant management. Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; VT Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation; Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Lakes and Ponds Section; Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District; the Nature Conservancy; and National Fish and Wildlife Refuge are OCISMA members and partners in the project.


The Vermont Community Foundation is a family of hundreds of funds and foundations established by Vermonters to serve their charitable goals. It provides the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise to make giving easy and inspiring. The Foundation also provides leadership in giving by responding to community needs and keeping Vermont’s nonprofit sector vital. Together, its funds and programs provide more than $12 million a year in grants and other investments in Vermont. Visit or call 802-388-3355 for more information.

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