Innovations and Collaborations grant program at the Vermont Community Foundation awards more than $200,000 to 15 nonprofit organizations

News Release — Vermont Community Foundation
June 18, 2014

Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup
The Vermont Community Foundation
802-388-3355 ext. 295
[email protected]

The Vermont Community Foundation announced that the Innovations and Collaborations grant program awarded $216,000 to 15 nonprofit organizations in Vermont in June. One of a number of competitive grant programs at the Community Foundation, Innovations and Collaborations supports projects that help nonprofits collaborate across sectors and regions to develop common solutions to community needs. Community Foundation fundholders partnered with the Foundation in making the grants, which ranged from $10,000 to $20,000 for new and continued projects.

“We’re excited to demonstrate through this grant program that Vermont nonprofit organizations are working together to create stronger, healthier communities across a spectrum of issues and concerns,” says Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup, philanthropic advisor for program and grants. “From youth media literacy to criminal justice reform, these grants demonstrate the best in Vermont partnerships proving that ‘better together’ is indeed a strategy that produces results.”

For the first time, a third year of continued funding was awarded for two projects—a collaborative effort to build health care and community support networks for LGBTQ elders in northeastern Vermont and the expansion of a social competency development curriculum in Brattleboro area public schools, which is helping to reduce bullying.

Other projects that received grants include Freedom & Unity TV, a series of youth-directed short films about Vermont from the makers of Freedom & Unity: the Vermont Movie and the Fairbanks Museum’s Water Works exhibit, which is turning downtown construction in St. Johnsbury into an opportunity for the public to explore urban engineering, earth sciences, and local history.


Burlington City Arts received $15,000 to support the launch of Generator, a new maker space in Burlington with 5,000 square feet of tools including 3D printers, laser cutters, and a woodshop, intended as a place for people of all ages to learn about design, engineering, and fabrication.

Partners: Champlain College and Laboratory B

Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity received $20,000 to increase the resilience of mobile home park communities by empowering residents to plan for emergencies with a series of workshops for community leaders and local and regional emergency planning personnel to increase coordination and build communication networks.

Partners: University of Vermont Department of Community Development & Applied Economics, and Vermont Division of Emergency Management & Homeland Security

Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium received $15,000 for Water Works: The Science Under St. Johnsbury, an interactive exhibit on urban engineering, earth sciences, and local history using the construction on Main Street while the town replaces old water and sewer lines as a focal point.

Partners: Catamount Arts, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, J.P. Sicard Construction, and Dufrense Engineering

Get Thee to the Funnery received $15,000 to expand the Barre Highgate Festival of the Arts, a stimulating arts education and empowerment program for children living in subsidized housing.

Partner: Barre Highgate Apartments

Goddard College/WGDR Radio received $20,000 for Indie Kingdom, a mentoring program to help high school students develop media-literacy skills as they write, produce, and perform broadcast-quality radio segments.

Partners: Cabot High School, Montpelier High School, and River Arts Center

Housing Trust of Rutland County received $20,000 to hire a full-time community organizer to facilitate, develop leadership and group skills, and provide support for citizen efforts to build community and improve a blighted neighborhood.

Partners: NeighborWorks of Western Vermont

Mary Johnson Children’s Center received $15,000 for Rural Fun Delivery, a project that will provide meals, social support, and engaging activities for underserved children and youth in rural Addison County this summer.

Partners: Counseling Service of Addison County and Addison Northeast Food Collaborative.

UVM Extension received $20,000 to establish greater coordination and increase local capacity for managing invasive species in Vermont by developing a statewide strategic plan and online tools to increase information sharing.

Partners: Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Vermont Department of Forests Parks & Recreation, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Upper Valley Arts received $16,000 to support Freedom & Unity TV, a supplemental project to Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie, designed to inspire and support young Vermonters to make short films about Vermont from their perspective.

Partners: Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont Access Network

Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival received $10,000 for ONE Strings, a program which provides in-school strings instruction and related activities, and seeks to eliminate traditional barriers to entry for instrumental instruction.

Partners: Integrated Arts Academy, Burlington City Schools, Vermont Youth Orchestra, and Burlington City Arts

Salvation Farms received $10,000 to continue developing a prison-based vocational program in which residents of the Southeast State Correctional Facility process Vermont crops that would otherwise go to waste, gain skills, and help integrate more affordable, healthy food into the charitable food system.

Partners: Vermont Department of Corrections, Southeast State Correctional Facility, Black River Produce, and Vermont Foodbank

Umbrella of St. Johnsbury received $10,000 for their FRESH Food Kitchen, a workforce training program for women in the Newport region. The program trains women in food preparation skills while preparing meals for local senior meal programs.

Partner: Vermont Works for Women’s FRESH Food Program

Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform received $10,000 for the Vermont Justice Coalition, a group of 21 active organizations and leaders working together to build a coordinated, multi-sector approach to corrections reform.

Partners include: American Civil Liberties Union, Community Justice Network, Vermont Department of Corrections, Human Rights Defense Center, Mercy Connections, Howard Center’s Safe Recovery Program, Vermont Law School, Criminal Law Society, and Vermont Works for Women

RU12? Community Center received $10,000 to continue advocating for quality health care and “Safe Space” services for LGBTQ elders in northeastern Vermont.

Partners: Area Agency on Aging for Northeastern Vermont and Northeastern Vermont Area Health Education Center.

Windham Southeast Supervisory Union received $10,000 to further institutionalize their social competency and restorative practices curriculum.

Partners: Windham Regional Collegiate High School, SIT Graduate Institute, Brattleboro Community Justice Center, and Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition.

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 effective. The Foundation also provides leadership in giving by responding to community needs, mobilizing and connecting philanthropists to multiply their impact, and by keeping Vermont’s nonprofit sector vital with grants and other investments in the community.
Visit or call 802-388-3355 for more information.

Press Release

Comment Policy requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Be succinct and to the point. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer. If your comment is over 500 words, consider sending a commentary instead.

We personally review and moderate every comment that is posted here. This takes a lot of time; please consider donating to keep the conversation productive and informative.

The purpose of this policy is to encourage a civil discourse among readers who are willing to stand behind their identities and their comments. VTDigger has created a safe zone for readers who wish to engage in a thoughtful discussion on a range of subjects. We hope you join the conversation. If you have questions or concerns about our commenting platform, please review our Commenting FAQ.

Privacy policy
Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Innovations and Collaborations grant program at the Vermont Community..."