Through Its Spark Connecting Community Program
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Community Foundation announced today that its Spark Connecting Community grant program has awarded $48,080 to 17 nonprofit organizations for local projects focusing on creative placemaking in communities across the state. The grants are made in partnership with several generous fundholders who contributed through Giving Together, a program at the Community Foundation that shares grant proposals with fundholders and donors to provide an opportunity to co-fund projects.
“COVID-19’s impact on museums, art centers, downtown associations, and local gathering spaces has been severe, yet organizations have demonstrated remarkable creativity and resiliency,” says Sarah Waring, vice president for grants and community investments at the Vermont Community Foundation. “We’re thrilled to show our support by dedicating this round of Spark to projects that use arts, design, and cultural activities to strengthen community identity. Enormous thanks to our fundholders who helped grow the number of grants to support hundreds of individuals from around the state.”
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.
The Spark Connecting Community program will reopen in 2022. Visit vermontcf.org/spark for more information.
Spark Connecting Community Second Round 2021 Grant Recipients
BarnArts Center for the Arts Company received $3,000 to support the Haunted Village Theater. Local actors will guide tours around Barnard, visiting five separate outdoor locations. Each stop, incorporating local lore and history, will include ghost stories or rehearsed performances. County to be served: Windsor
Black River Innovation Campus received $3,000 to support the Tiny Desk Community Music Series. In partnership with the River Valley Technical Center AV program, the Black River Innovation Campus will unite students and local musicians in the production of a concert series, exposing youth to sound production and equipment, and concluding in live performances for the community and digital recordings. County to be served: Windsor
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center received $3,000 to support the 2022 Artful Ice Shanties Design-Build Competition, inviting artists and artisans to build and display creative ice shanties. The exhibtion of shanties will serve as the centerpiece of a free, family-friendly festival that celebrates the region’s heritage of ice fishing and artistic expression. County to be served: Windham
Calabash Gardens received $3,000 to support the Farm-to-Plate: Community Cultural Exchange. In partnership with the Bradford Public Library, Calabash will host a retreat including the art, poetry, music, and food of local, BIPOC artists, musicians, writers, and chefs. To encourage access and cross-community engagement, the experience is to be offered to the migrant farming community and other BIPOC residents free of charge. Counties to be served: Statewide; Orange
Chittenden Public Library received $3,000 to support One Community, Many Points of View: A Year of Creativity, Connection, and Celebration in Chittenden. The project will invite area residents to participate in six community events hosted by different town organizations. The project includes a year-long, community-generated photograph display at the town transfer station. County to be served: Rutland
Five Town Friends of the Arts received $3,000 to support Five Town Art Spark: Igniting the Arts and Culture in Bristol and Surrounding Towns (5TAS). 5TAS will provide artistic and cultural events, including free concerts, poetry and art-making workshops, and historical presentations in Bristol during the winter months, providing social opportunities and exposure to the arts. County to be served: Addison
Montpelier Alive received $3,000 to support the Montpelier Community Bench Project, the creation of whimsical, artist-designed, M-shaped benches to bring community members together and add a spark of creativity to Montpelier's streets. County to be served: Washington
Montpelier Conservation Commission received $2,500 to support the UVM PLACE Program for Montpelier, a place-based landscape and community engagement program that will gather Montpelier residents in a shared effort to learn, understand, and celebrate cultural and natural history, people, and built and natural environment. County to be served: Washington
Northfield Community Development Network received $3,000 to support Community Built Connections, which will use an artistic approach to expanding pedestrian infrastructure in Northfield through participatory design, connecting residents to nature, and engaging the community in future development. County to be served: Washington
Otter Valley Unified Union School District received $3,000 to support the OV-Explores Afterschool Program, which will provide students a chance to explore their creativity through a variety of activities, including marital arts, maker time, broadcast club, robotics, and more. County to be served: Rutland
Soul Steps received $3,000 to support Community Workshops and Performances, which will teach African American step dance workshops and interactive performances to Bennington youth, exposing them to the dynamic art form and its cross-cultural history while fostering age-appropriate reflections on race, systems of oppression, and inclusivity. County to be served: Bennington
Summer Street Music Series received $3,000 to support its second Black Voices Matter event, a community concert in downtown Bradford celebrating both local and visiting BIPOC musicians. County to be served: Orange
Swanton Enhancement Project received $3,000 to support its Downtown Mural Project, which will include the development of a mural and introduction of a new public art program, revitalizing an area planned for recreational development and inspiring pride in the community’s cultural and historical village center. County to be served: Franklin
The Vermont Granite Museum of Barre received $3,000 to support continued work on its Multi-Use Path and Sculpture Park, promoting accessibility to green spaces and making granite art available year-round to the residents of Barre and other Vermonters. Counties to be served: Statewide; Washington
Town of Wolcott received $950 to support the Community Garden and Park & Public Spaces Logo Contest. Open to the community, participants will be invited to create a logo that represents the unified public space linking the Community Library, Community Garden & Park, picnic gazebo, Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) trailhead, and Town Office. County to be served: Lamoille
Varnum Memorial Library received $2,630 to support Cambridge Court: Where Seniors and Teens Exchange Tales, a project to record Cambridge seniors sharing stories of their lives. The interviews, recording, and editing will be conducted by Cambridge students grades 7-12. County to be served: Lamoille
Zack's Place Enrichment Center received $3,000 to engage program participants and community members in the production of a musical—Beauty and the Beazt (the ‘Z’ is for Zack’s Place!). The performance will be planned and performed by special needs participants and include the creation of a documentary film about the process, to be presented at film festivals throughout the world. County to be served: Windsor
The Vermont Community Foundation inspires giving and brings people and resources together to make a difference in Vermont. A family of hundreds of funds and foundations, we provide the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise that make it easy for the people who care about Vermont to find and fund the causes they love.
The heart of the Community Foundation’s work is closing the opportunity gap—the divide that leaves too many Vermonters struggling to get ahead, no matter how hard they work. We are aligning our time, energy, and discretionary resources on efforts that provide access to early care and learning, pathways to college and career training, support for youth and families, and community and economic vitality. We envision Vermont at its best—where everyone has the opportunity to build a bright, secure future. Visit vermontcf.org or call 802-388-3355 for more information. For information on our COVID-19 response, visit vtcovid19response.org.