County groups win community grants

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Community Foundation recently announced that — in partnership with many of its generous fundholders — $169,711.94 in Spark Connecting Community grants has been awarded to 64 nonprofit organizations for local projects in communities across the state, including some nonprofits that serve residents in multiple counties.
Of the total funding awarded, $77,950 was made possible by Giving Together, a program at the Community Foundation that shares grant proposals with fundholders and donors to give them the opportunity to co-fund projects.
Six of the grant-receiving organizations are inAddison County, or serve Addison County residents.
Spark Connecting Community is a competitive grant program at the Foundation that puts building and nurturing community front and center. The Community Foundation aims to support the work happening throughout Vermont’s 251 towns that builds social capital. These grants — where a small amount can make a big difference — are intended to light the spark that keeps Vermonters healthy and happy.
“This Spark round made it clear the extraordinary need — and the extraordinary creativity — that exists throughout Vermont right now,” says Sarah Waring, vice president for grants and community investments at the Vermont Community Foundation. “Applications included requests for basic needs like food and digital access, but also to build safe outdoor experiences for youth and community engagement, for art and creative mechanisms to renew social interactions, and for local advancement of racial justice and equity. They were overwhelming in their breadth, scope, and quantity. We are so grateful to our generous fundholder partners who have supplemented this grant round to fully fund more than 60 of the 100- plus applications.”
Local Spark Connecting Community Second Round 2020 Grant Recipients were:
Addison Central Teens received $2,500 to support the Racial Justice for Youth Project, a series of youthled racial justice events to be held in 2021, striving to make all teens and students of color feel welcome in the Middlebury community.
Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN) received $3,000 to support the Champlain Valley Community Table, a centralized, online platform that will connect eaters directly with local food and farm businesses.
Better Middlebury Partnership received $3,000 to support Find Your Wings: Middlebury, a public art project that will facilitate collaboration between local artists and community members, while encouraging activity in downtown Middlebury.
Federated Church of Bristol received $3,000 to support the FiveTown Community Life Center and Partnership’s use of their building to offer a safe place for small groups to come together, learn, and support one another, while also connecting these individuals to resources and community members.
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts received $3,000 to support the BIPOC Storytelling: I Am My Ancestor’s Wildest Dreams classes, creating space for BIPOC voices to be heard and for individuals to find connection and a sense of belonging through shared narratives of resilience, vibrant cultures, surviving, and thriving. Classes will practice the art of live storytelling and create a video to share.
Student Anti-Racism Network of VT received $1,000 to support student efforts across the state of Vermont to strive towards an actively anti-racist school system, including connecting with curriculum directors to advocate for anti-racism in curriculums, and hiring speakers and hosting workshops to promote inclusivity and equity.
Nonprofits interested in applying for the next round of Spark Connecting Community grants are encouraged to visit spark for more information. 2021 Deadlines will be announced in January.

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