One of the leading families in the Community Foundation’s history—and indeed in Vermont's philanthropic history—is that of J. Warren and Lois McClure. One of the signature themes of this, our 25th anniversary year, is the idea that giving is best done while one is alive, with "warm hands." For Lois and her late husband, Mac, giving with warm hands allowed them to experience the joy of helping others and gave their children an opportunity to observe their philanthropic work.
That tradition has continued and grown for the McClure family—and the McClure Foundation, a supporting foundation of the VCF. Not only is the McClure Foundation giving now, they are building a stronger base for the future. In the past three years, the McClure Foundation has sharpened its focus to look at, and fund, needs around access to postsecondary education. On Thursday the 22nd, the McClure Foundation will host its third annual education summit for funders and education leaders. If you'd like to attend, please send a note to Drew Brooks.
What inspires us now about the McClure work on education is in part the sharp focus on making it accessible to kids who wouldn’t otherwise get there. The real challenge—and national research bears this out—is how to remove the barriers that prevent young adults, returning Vets, and all Vermonters from connecting with the educational opportunities available to them. That’s why the Foundation is supporting the work of—among others—the College of St. Joseph’s STEPS program to provide an education to the state’s foster kids, and to provide them support throughout their college years—addressing housing between semesters, counseling, and more.
That’s why the Foundation is also supporting the first-rate work of the Community College of Vermont (CCV), to provide advice and counseling for veterans. CCV, with McClure Foundation support, has hired a full-time resource advisor for veterans. Chara Vincelette, a member of the National Guard, works with veterans to understand resources available to them and to provide counseling as they figure out college life, and works with the college to make sure faculty and staff understand the needs of veterans.
And all the while, the McClure Foundation is working with other funders and building a network of philanthropists who are working on these issues.
Our hearts—and hands—are warmed all the time by the work of this family.