Curtis Fund receives $1.5 million to establish the George and Mazy Preston Gift

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Curtis Fund receives $1.5 million to establish the George and Mazy Preston Gift

Tue, 10/26/2021 - 10:16am -- tim


This gift to fund scholarships is the largest donation ever to The Curtis Fund

Vermont Business Magazine The Curtis Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, is honored to announce a $1.5 million gift from the estate of George and Mazy Preston. During their lives, the Preston’s were known around Burlington—George was the President of the former Bero’s Jewelry Company and Mazy taught art at both the University of Vermont and at Adams School. The George and Mazy Preston Gift, as the estate has named it, is the largest gift ever received by The Curtis Fund since it was created in 1910.

“The George and Mazy Preston Gift will establish an endowment to meet the growing demand for our Credentials of Value scholarship program and continue making postsecondary education more accessible for so many,” says Shana Trombley, executive director of The Curtis Fund. “With this generous donation, we can provide a foundation and stability for our fastest growing program that generates around 170 scholarships annually.”

Credentials of Value are industry-recognized certifications that students earn by completing educational and/or training programs at postsecondary institutions, which lead to jobs that pay livable wages in fields like nursing, software development, and welding. For the 2021-22 academic year, The Curtis Fund is providing scholarships to approximately 700 students who are pursuing a postsecondary degree or certificate.

This gift will enable The Curtis Fund to help more students like Marc Moulin who is earning a Practical Nursing (PN) certificate at Vermont Technical College after being laid off from his job at a ski resort. Marc explains, “I’m very appreciative of the scholarship because it allowed me to cut back my hours at my part-time job at a nursing home so I can focus more on school.”

Terri Isidro also returned to school this year to earn a certificate at Burlington Code Academy’s Software Development Bootcamp. When asked why she decided to pursue a certificate program, Isidro notes, “You can go to college and yes, you’ll get a job, or you can do this program and get a lucrative job without going to a university and incurring the cost and time commitment that earning a degree takes.”

Every year, the demand for scholarships greatly outpaces resources. Planned gifts such as George and Mazy Preston’s allow individuals to make a transformative impact on nonprofits such as The Curtis Fund by simply leaving a bequest in one’s will. To learn more about The Curtis Fund’s scholarship program and how you can support it, contact Shana Trombley at

The Curtis Fund joined the Vermont Community Foundation family in 2018, after existing for more than 108 years as a private foundation. The Curtis Fund grants scholarships to students from every county in Vermont and to date has helped more than 11,600 students. Each year, the Curtis Fund provides scholarships for low-income students and/or students who will be first in their family to pursue a post-high school degree or certificate. The scholarships are for the longevity of the student’s postsecondary education.

Emma Eliza Curtis believed that education could change the course of a person’s life. When she died in Burlington in 1910, she left $120,000 in trust to provide financial assistance to young Vermont men and women to pursue a postsecondary education. Since then, the Curtis Fund has grown that bequest to more than $35 million, with annual grants of approximately $1.5 million. Learn more at

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 or call 802-388-3355 for more information. For information on our COVID-19 response, visit

Source: The Vermont Community Foundation 10.26.2021