Vermont Pride & Prosperity Network launches during Pride Month

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Partner organizations collaborate to support the financial health and wellness of LGBTQIA2S+ community members.

Vermont Business Magazine Mercy Connections and partners announce the Vermont Pride and Prosperity Network, a collaboration with Pride Center of Vermont, Small Business Administration, and the Office of the Vermont State Treasurer. The group aims to build power and prosperity for LGBTQIA2S+ business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in Vermont through connection, education, and celebration.

The Vermont Pride and Prosperity Network is generously supported by the M&T Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB), as it awarded Mercy Connections with a funding commitment of $225,000 over the course of three years.

Heidi Stumpff, Vermont Regional President for M&T Bank said, “We have been a long-time supporter of Mercy Connections because we believe strongly in their mission to empower people to make significant life changes through education, mentoring, entrepreneurship, and community. We are proud to partner with Mercy Connections as they launch the Vermont Pride and Prosperity Network, and we are deeply committed to the equity and social justice that this program will bring.”

The grant is part of the second round of giving through the Amplify Fund, providing more than $8.2 million to 68 lead non-profit organizations throughout New England, Long Island and Rockland County, New York.

“Mercy Connections is grateful to the M&T Charitable Foundation for investing in this crucial initiative, which will allow for a more inclusive economy. Economic inclusion creates a stronger economy for all Vermonters,” said Lisa Falcone, Executive Director of Mercy Connections.

The Vermont Pride and Prosperity Network is currently onboarding additional small business support organizations, as well as LGBTQIA2S+ and BIPOC-led initiatives to join the Network’s founding organizations.

“Nearly 30% of LGBTQIA2S+ Vermonters live in poverty and are twice as likely to experience food insecurity. I hope that this Network connects our community around financial realities and opportunities so that we can create new systems for financial prosperity—for us and by us!” said Claire Wheeler, Director of Inclusive Entrepreneurship at Mercy Connections.

The first event of Pride and Prosperity will be hosted by the Office of the Vermont State Treasurer, called “Queerness in Business.” It will take place on June 20th at VSAC in Winooski and will feature David Auten and John Schneider of The Queer Money podcast.

The event will also include a business owner panel centering around discussions for LGBTQIA2S+ Vermonters and allies about pathways to prosperity in the Green Mountain state.

For further information, please contact Claire Wheeler, Director of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, at [email protected] and to learn more, visit

Mercy Connections, a nonprofit founded in 2001, is a community-based, multi-cultural education and social justice organization that supports and advances the lives of underserved Vermonters through education, mentoring, entrepreneurship, and community.

Source: 6.10.2024. BURLINGTON — Mercy Connections

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