Giving with Warm Hands: Our History

When Warren and Lois McClure established the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation in 1995, the longtime philanthropists already had a deep understanding of how community foundations respond to needs over time.

Giving with "warm hands" is a guiding principal for the family's philanthropic work. Read more.

Funding in Support of Postsecondary and Career Education

A summary of grants made in the 2007-8 to 2013-14 school years

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Community College of Vermont (CCV)
Introduction to College Studies Program Expansion
Funding for School Years 2008-9 through 2013-14

Introduction to College Studies (ICS) is designed to motivate students to pursue a college education and to clarify the processes involved. This annual program expansion promotes ICS in high schools with high proportions of potential first-generation college students and is designed to introduce students to college campuses and culture and to help students hone their time management and study skills. Participants who successfully complete the course earn a voucher for a free college course at any Vermont state college (CCV, Vermont Tech, Castleton State, Lyndon State, Johnson State, or UVM). Funding Partners: Bari and Peter Dreissigacker, State of Vermont, Local Donors.

ICS Program, funded at Fair Haven High School in 2012-13, 2013-14 and through the following school year, consists of an intensified effort to enroll and support high school students in CCV’s Introduction to College Studies courses in order to follow through with Castleton Elementary and Middle School students who participated in the College for Every Student (see Section IV) program co-funded by the McClure Foundation in 2008 and 2009. This three-year “kickstart” ICS program enhances student, faculty, and counselor development training and will feature classes located closer to the student population. 

American Red Cross Vermont and New Hampshire Valley Region
Babysitting Training Scholarships

Funding for 2010-11 through 2012-13; Support pending for 2013-14

This funding provides scholarships for enrollment in an American Red Cross babysitter training course. Youth are recruited through a partnership with the 14 Parent Child Centers (PCC) across Vermont to ensure that a geographically-diverse population has the opportunity to learn basic childcare skills and gain first-time job experience, with a recruitment focus on those 11-15 year olds in charge of younger siblings or neighborhood children while parents work. In addition, coordination with the Vermont Department of Libraries is bringing the course to Vermont’s 180+ public libraries for access by students around the state during school vacation times. Funding partners: Numberous individual gifts. 

The Tutorial Center Bridge to College Program
Funding for 2010-11, and Fall Semester 2011, 2012-13, and 2013-14

The Bridge to College program at the Tutorial Center in Bennington supports adults who want to go to college but whose skills are not yet “college-ready.” These nontraditional students are mostly adults and include veterans, low- to moderate-income Vermonters, adults re-entering the workforce, and some formerly incarcerated students. They predominantly have their GEDs and high school diplomas and their ages average 25-30 years. This is a two-semester course that includes career counseling and is taught by instructors from both the Community College and the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. The program usually enrolls 12-15 students each semester.

Single Parents' Program at Champlain College
Funding for 2012-13 and 2013-14

Single Parents Program helps low-income single parent students gain needed skills to become more financially independent. The program provides advocacy, workshops, resources, and case managers to remove barriers to academic success. Program elements include the save-the-day emergency fund, peer advising, financial literacy courses, career counseling, etc. Since 1987, the program has graduated over 560 students. Funding Partners: The Board of Champlain College, The Stiller Foundation, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation.

Spectrum Youth and Family Services
Funding for 2013-14 

Spectrum’s Youth Development Program (YDP) helps approximately 200 youth (ages 15-22) from Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties who are currently living in or aging out of foster care to obtain the life skills they need to transition to a successful adulthood. The work focuses on helping young people plan for the future, identify obstacles, explore interests, and break down barriers to independence. Spectrum believes that education is key to breaking the cycles of poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, homelessness, mental illness, and incarceration that threaten this already vulnerable population — and they emphasize helping youth obtain postsecondary education, particularly through application and enrollment processes. YDP staff help teens research schools and visit campuses, schedule and fund SAT tests or other college entrance exams, apply to colleges or identify other education opportunities, apply for financial aid, register for classes, and cover the cost of text books, supplies, and computers. Once youth are enrolled, YDP staff provides ongoing emotional support, life skills instruction, and help with transportation. The goal is to help these youth develop successful, self-supporting, and actualized lives. Spectrum has a current cohort of 38 youths enrolled in some sort of post-secondary education/training: ranging from the Advanced Welding Institute to Meredith College. The McClure Foundation grant is made to provide each with individualized support to enable completion of at least one benchmark this year: a certificate, the Introduction to College Studies class, CCV’s Pathways, or other coursework or programs.


Pathways to Promising Careers — Part 1
Creation of the Pathways to Promising Careers Website
Funding for 2010-11 through 2013-14

The Pathways to Promising Careers Website is part of a statewide outreach and information campaign to publicize information about careers in demand in Vermont. Careers that offer median and higher salaries are highlighted, and linked to Vermont Department of Labor information detailing the academic and training requirements needed for those careers, and the institutions in Vermont that offer relevant training and education. This site was beta tested with Vermont National Guard members prior to their return from Afghanistan in late 2010. Funding Partners: Bari and Peter Dreissigacker, The Philanthropic Leadership Fund, et al.

Pathways to Promising Careers — Part 2
Counseling and Support to Returning Vets and their families through CCV

Funding for 2010-11 through 2013-14

This initiative enhances individual education and career counseling services and support for veterans and their families at all 12 Community College of Vermont locations. Through the strong leadership of Chara Vincelette, Director of Veterans Services at CCV, the Community College of Vermont has seen a significant increase in military-connected students (veterans and dependents of veterans receiving benefits) enrolled at CCV since  Spring '11 and is the institution serving the highest number of military connected students in Vermont.  In addition the Veterans Services coordinator that this grant supports, CCV has developed a one credit Combat-to-Classroom class that is offered to veterans at various CCV campuses throughout the year. Funding Partners: Bari and Peter Dreissigacker, The Philanthropic Leadership Fund, et al.

Pathways to Promising Careers — Part 3
Aligning Jobs to Schooling: Vermont Community Awareness

Funding for 2011-12 through 2013-14

This integrated marketing campaign will distribute community college and technical school information to underserved Vermont households and aims to raise awareness of educational resources among community leaders and citizens. Americans are presented with a panorama of educational opportunities and with opportunities on how “easy” it is to get loans to pay for these opportunities. This picture has been further complicated in recent years by the aggressive marketing efforts of for-profit universities offering continuing education opportunities online. The McClure Foundation has held that community colleges provide an accessible and affordable solution for many students.

The long-term goal for this campaign is enhanced community ownership of Vermont's superb community college system. CCV has developed a print and online version of a comprehensive publication designed to acquaint Vermonters with CCV’s 12 certificate and 18 associate degree programs, and show the degree requirements, career tracks, transfer opportunities, employment outlook and earning potential for each. This brochure is shared with high school counselors, distributed at college fairs, and mailed to Vermonters who have indicated an interest in attending or returning to public colleges in Vermont. CCV's new College and Career Guide is now available online, and a new interactive version will be available when the new CCV website is unveiled in November. Funding Partner: Community College of Vermont.

The second aspect of this initiative is a matching grant to the Vermont Journalism Trust to enhance their capacity to report on college readiness, workforce development, and education issues.


PreK - 16 Council
Funding Support for Council Work

Funding for 2010-11 through 2013-14

The goal of the PreK-16 Council is to revamp current policies and systems that may be barriers to Vermont students reaching their potential. This statewide council is the brainchild of Tim Donovan, the Chancellor of Vermont State Colleges and Armando Vilaseca, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Education and is composed of representatives from numberous public and private education-based entities in Vermont. House representative Peter Peltz has recently been elected to serve as council Chair. 

The goal of the Council is to promote — through consensus, alignment, and advocacy — student-centered education systems with dramatically increased access for all Vermonters. Specifically, stronger educational alignment between educational entities will: 

  • Ease the student transition between institutions as teacher expectations and student readiness will be clear and consistent
  • Address gaps and weaknesses early on in a student’s career
  • Reduce the need for remediation as students pass from one institution to the next
  • Better align employer needs with academic offerings
  • Reduce overlap in academic course offerings
  • Clarify both academic and career readiness standards

These benefits can reduce education costs by eliminating inefficiencies and clarifying expectations.   Funding Partners: Tarrant Foundation, Redducs Foundation, Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, and Vermont State Colleges.

Academy 21
Franklin Central Supervisory District

Funding for 2011-12 through 2013-14

Franklin Central Supervisory Union (Franklin County) includes five schools providing PreK-12 and adult education. This learning innovation initiative, Academy 21, will reengineer education in the district by taking apart the traditional school model and putting it back together with the goal of personalizing learning in order to allow success for every student. Innovations will impact every part of a learner’s day, from how students learn to how their learning is measured and from the shape of the school day/week/year to how the school is staffed, in an effort to tailor students' experiences based on their needs and interests. The Academy 21 model is expected to promote far greater integration with the local community college branch and local businesses and is expected to achieve overall cost savings. This initiative offers the first district transformation model in Vermont. Its systemic approach builds on existing innovation that has been seeded across the district over the past three years. Funding Partners: Vermont Department of Education, the Gates Foundation--A Next Generation Grant.

Improving Access to Postsecondary Education in Vermont
Forum to Address Strategic Issues

Funded for Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

For four years the Fall Education Summit brought together many of Vermont’s key political, education, and philanthropic leaders and practitioners to inform and collaborate to improve access to post-secondary education. The 2013 event will be a smaller work-based session exploring workforce development through work-based education. Keynote speaker will be Lawrence Miller, secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Funding Partner: Vermont Community Foundation.



College of St. Joseph, Rutland
STEPS Program

Funding for School Years 2008-9 through 2011-12

The CSJ STEPS Program is a partnership with the Vermont Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) to increase the percentage of Vermont foster youth who can consider college by providing them year-round with resources and support systems to promote their college success. Funding Partners: John Merck Fund, Carris Reel, Vermont Country Store, Vermont Department of Children and Families, VSAC, Numerous Private Foundations and Individuals, Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation, Jane’s Trust.

Vet-to-Vet Services
Funding for 2011-12

This funding will bring the Vet-to-Vet WRAP course to Vets whose recovery has progressed to the point where they are now considering continuing their education. WRAP is a highly effective peer-to-peer recovery program for Vets suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. In addition, the program serves over 50 unique Vets a month and hosts three weekend WRAP sessions in White River Junction. This funding will assist also in updating the Vermont Vet-to-Vet chapter website.

Community College of Vermont
Expansion of the Lumina Foundation’s Achieving the Dream Initiative into Vermont

The goal of Achieving the Dream is to help more students reach their individual goals--which may include obtaining a better job, earning a community college certificate or degree, or attaining a bachelor’s degree. The Community College of Vermont identifies student populations that currently experience low rates of success, develops interventions to improve student outcomes, and measures changes in student success. This grant was co-funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Vermont Community Foundation.

Barre Technical Center:  Pre-Tech Outreach Program

Funding was provided for the initial two-years Barre Tech Center's pilot program before it could be self-sustaining. The objective of the program is to re-engage 9 graders at high risk of dropping out through an outdoor, physical classroom environment. Academic supports are in place and students receive full credits upon completion. Funding Partner: Vermont Department of Education

Windham Regional Career Center
Early Intervention for Academic and Career Readiness

The Early Intervention program is designed to address weaknesses among entering Windham Regional Career Center students so their academic and workforce readiness gaps can be addressed while they are still in high school—increasing their readiness and likelihood of post secondary success and reducing their costs by eliminating the need for college or post secondary remediation.

College for Every Student:  Partnership with Castleton Elementary and Middle Schools

College for Every Student (CFES), formerly the Foundation for Excellent Schools, helps underserved students prepare for, gain access to, and succeed in college by partnering with elementary, middle and high schools.  

Linking Learning to Life:  College Connections Program

The College Connections Program offers sophomores, juniors, and seniors from high schools and alternative education programs, as well as out-of-school youth, options for exploring post-secondary education prior to graduation. The program targets students meeting one or more of the following criteria: first generation college goers, those from low-income families, English as a Second Language learners, minority students, and students with identified disabilities.

Vermont Technical College:  Summer Bridge Program

Vermont Technical College provides a Summer Bridge Program to applying students who need remedial support in either English or Math. In some cases, acceptance to the college is contingent on the successful completion of the program. The college subsidizes the program and has kept the tuition constant for the past ten years. 


The J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation maintains close ties with educational leaders and practitioners in Vermont to fund collaborations that will enable more young people and adults to fulfill their potential and contribute to a vibrant, creative Vermont economy. The Foundation welcomes inquiries from those individuals or foundations who have an interest in partnering with us to promote this goal through connecting communities, business, government, and philanthropic organizations.