The McClure Foundation continues to be guided by a long-term vision of a vibrant state economy that supports optimal quality of life for Vermonters. We believe, as does Lawrence Miller, Secretary of the VT Agency of Commerce & Community Development, that educational attainment is the bedrock of economic development.
Our funding supports both systemic change and key programs guiding Vermont education toward a more flexible, relevant, competency-based model in order to promote the development of a stronger workforce for the good of all Vermonters. Both listening to practitioners within the state and convening with funders working on behalf of similar goals across the country keep us informed and energized. This fall, a few key themes resonated from meetings such as the 2013 Grantmakers for Education Conference in Texas, Vermont’s PreK-16 Council sessions, and our own learning seminars for local funders. We’d like to pass them along:
The struggle is real for all citizens in this time of economic challenges and social change; for students coming of age in our middle and high schools, the struggle can be intense. More students are spending less time interacting with positive adults, finding themselves without consistent models or mentors — and without the academic and soft skills to transition successfully from school to the world of work. Too many have been impacted by deprivation, drug abuse and despair in their homes or communities.
The quality of an education should not be tied to one’s zip code. In order to realize the potential of every Vermonter, our weaker schools need strong leadership to set high standards and the resources to offer a variety of relevant learning experiences to our young people. Adult learners, as well, deserve the opportunity to find support and resources at the local level.
Philanthropy can help to move things forward in a persistent, patient manner. Policies change, personnel turn over, and it falls to any and all of us to keep the long-term in view and to both support and hold accountable those entrusted with educating Vermonters. That’s because anyone with spare time, talent, and treasure (and the will to persist!) is a potential philanthropist.
The McClure Foundation will continue to learn from those working day-to-day with students and will continue to channel funds to foster effective, efficient, public/private collaborations to develop the potential of every Vermonter to be a productive communicator, problem solver, and team player. We hope that you, too, will stay informed and reach out by supporting efforts to better your own schools and communities. In the spirit of the season and coming new year, we urge you to recognize and respond to opportunities — both large and small — to make a difference on behalf of others.