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 principle for the family's philanthropic work. Read more.

Current Funding Efforts and Priorities

If you are not already familiar with the nature and scope of our funding efforts, we urge you to review the Summary of our Current Funding. Our deadline for accepting Letters of Interest for our 2014-15 grant round was February 27, 2014.

Funding in Support of Postsecondary and Career Education


A summary of grants made in the 2007-8 to 2016-17 school years

Jump to:
I. COLLABORATIONS/ONGOING PROGRAMS 
II. PATHWAYS TO PROMISING CAREERS INITIATIVE
III. COLLABORATIONS IN SUPPORT OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE
IV. FUNDING IN EARLIER YEARS


I. COLLABORATIONS/ONGOING PROGRAMS

Community College of Vermont (CCV)
Introduction to College Studies Program Expansion
Funding for School Years 2008-9 through 2016-17

Introduction to College Studies (ICS) is designed to motivate high-school 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 says that the opportunity to imagine going to college is why 71% of ICS grads enroll in college within 16 months after graduating from high school, an 18% increase over the direct enrollment rate for the state. Funding Partners: Bari and Peter Dreissigacker, State of Vermont, Local Donors.

The ICS Program, funded at Fair Haven High School in 2012-13 and through the following four school years, consists of an intensified effort to enroll and support high school students in CCV’s Introduction to College Studies courses who participated in the College for Every Student (see Section IV) program co-funded by the McClure Foundation in 2008 and 2009. This five-year “kickstart” ICS program enhances student, faculty, and counselor development training and features meal vouchers, free textbooks and course materials, and scholarship funds that make the course more accessible and appealing to students. 

Spectrum Youth and Family Services
Youth Development Program

Funding for 2013-14 through 2016-17

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. 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. Funding partners: Vermont Department of Children and Families, TD Charitable Trust, Champlain Investment Partners, Angell Foundation, People's United, and numerous individual donors.

Johnson State College
Summer Bridge Program
Funding for 2016-17

With funding from the McClure Foundation, Johnson State College will pilot a Summer Bridge program that enhances the academic preparation, motivation, and retention of 50 first-time, low-income, first-generation, and/or disabled students. 


II. ALIGNING JOBS TO SCHOOLING: PATHWAYS TO PROMISING CAREERS INITIATIVE

The Philanthropic Leadership Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation
Most Promising Jobs Campaign and the Pathways to Promising Careers Resource

Funding for 2010-11 through 2016-17

The Most Promising Jobs Campaign is a statewide effort to promote the digital and print Pathways to Promising Careers Resource, which identifies the highest-paying, highest-demand jobs projected for Vermont and the educational requirements needed to obtain them. Created in partnership with the Vermont Department of Labor, the McClure Foundation's "Pathways" resource identifies sixty-seven careers expected to have at least 150 job openings over the next decade and pay above the average Vermont hourly wage of $21.18. Over 20,000 brochures featuring the jobs are now being used by high schools, colleges, career counseling organizations, nonprofits, and libraries across the state. The website was beta tested with Vermont National Guard members prior to their return from Afghanistan in late 2010. Funding Partners: Bari and Peter Dreissigacker and the Philanthropic Leadership Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation.

Community College of Vermont
Veteran Student Services

Funding for 2010-11 through 2016-17

This initiative enhances individual education and career counseling services and support for veterans and their families at all 12 Community College of Vermont locations. Since the support for this initiative began in spring semester 2011, CCV has seen meaningful successes in the enrollment, persistence, and graduation of military-connected students. Enrollment of military-connected students was 250% higher between 2011 and 2014 than it was in the three years prior to the funding. And veteran students persist from semester to semester and graduate at higher rates than the overall population -- amazing considering that 50% of the student veterans are first-in-family to go to college. Funding Partners: Bari and Peter Dreissigacker, Dave Stiller, and the Philanthropic Leadership Fund.

Community College of Vermont
Career Advising Services
Funding for 2015-16 through 2016-17

A recently-secured three-year federal TAACCCT IV grant allows CCV to bring in-person, on-site career advising to CCV students for the first time. McClure Foundation funding will help CCV enhance advising services by hiring four part-time career advisors for the 2015-16 school year. Advisors will have over 1,500 meaningful interactions with students at all 12 campuses on informed career decision-making, use of career resources, and good planning. Reaching first-semester students with an undeclared academic program will be a top priory in the first years of the program. The funding has also allowed CCV to rebrand its 12 Learning Centers as Learning and Career Centers.

Community College of Vermont
Job Hunt Helpers Program

Funding for 2015-16 through 2016-17

McClure Foundation funds supported a new partnership between CCV and the Vermont Department of Libraries to place CCV student interns in six Vermont libraries as job hunt helpers for Vermont residents. These interns work with Vermont citizens who need assistance using computer technology to explore careers and online education, prepare resumes ,and search for and apply online for jobs at the town libraries in Barre, Brattleboro, Newport, Rutland, St. Johnsbury and Winooski. The project is designed to increase digital literacy in Vermont by helping Vermonters use online resources and career development software to identify, prepare for, and pursue their career goals.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
STEAM Ship Program Expansion
Funding for 2016-17

With funding from the McClure Foundation, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum will expand its STEAM Ship program to Mount Abraham Union High School and enhance its model for how museums offer educational lprograms during and after hte school day that are matched with students' personalized learning plans. 

Vermont Journalism Trust
Funding for 2011-12 through 2016-17

 McClure Foundation funding to Vermont Journalism Trust enhances VT Digger's capacity to report on college readiness, workforce development, and education issues. In 2014, with the hiring of its first full-time education beat reporter, VTDigger produced more than 100 stories about early childhood, public K-12, and higher education issues. In addition, it published dozens of commentaries, studies, and press releases on those topics.

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
Dual Enrollment and Early College for Low-Income Students in Franklin County
Funding for 2016-17

With funding from the McClure Foundation, VSAC will pilot a program in which low-income high school students in Franklin County whose parents do not have college degrees receive personalized encouragement ot pursue dual enrollment and early college. 


III. COLLABORATIONS IN SUPPORT OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE

Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation
Windham Region Workforce Center for Excellence
Funding for 2016-17

With funding from the McClure Foundation, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation will launch the Windham Region Workforce Center for Excellence and better engage the private sector in helping build a workforce pipeline in the region.

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) Implementation to Improve Postsecondary Education Outcomes
Funding for 2015-16 - 2016-17

As Vermont schools wrestle with how to implement PLPs as mandated by Act 77, VSAC will offer professional development to 72 schools with a particular focus on Northeast Kingdom schools and schools with 50% or more students receiving free and reduced lunch. Professional development will include regional and in-school trainings that offer support to educators, administrators, and counselors regarding the AOE’s PLP self-assessment, the PLP Resource Guide, strategies for student and parent engagement, and use of the Naviance PLP Network. Year one outcomes include the percentage of schools that have a formal PLP committee; use the PLP self-assessment, develop a three-year PLP implementation plan including benchmarks; and implement 7th and 9th grade PLPs in year one. Long-term outcomes include more students achieving career and postsecondary readiness, completing high school, and continuing education or training after high school. The Vermont Department of Labor is a program partner.

Vermont Works for Women/Vermont Technical College
Engaging Girls in STEM and Trades Career Exploration
Funding for 2015-16 and 2016-17

Vermont Works for Women and Vermont Technical College (VTC) have a longstanding partnership to host the annual Women Can Do Conference at VTC that reaches over 450 13-19 year-old girls. For the 2015-15 and 2016-17 school years, the two organizations will host the 17th and 18th year of the conference and pilot a one-week Rosie’s Girls Leadership camp for 16 high school girls in grade that matches them with a year-round female STEM mentor. The impetus for gendered STEM programs include: the enrollment of girls in STEM/trades program at Vermont CTE centers (15%); the gender gap at VTC within mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering technology (75% male/25% female); and last year’s job offer rate for VTC’s 89 engineering technology graduates (100%, mostly men).

Windham Southeast Supervisory Union
Dual Enrollment Program Replication & Middle School Leadership Training
Funding for 2014-15 and 2016-17

The Windham Southeast Supervisory Union (WSESU) operates a data-driven social competency curriculum from elementary school through high school that positively impacts the district's student graduation and postsecondary success rates and was the model for the Flexible Pathways Bill passed by the Vermont Legislature in 2013. The curriculum targets low-income and first-generation college students and includes 41 dual-credit course offerings, student mentoring, and strong professional development opportunities for staff. In 2014-15 and 2015-16, WSESU is sharing learnings from their experience with eight other interested school districts through indiviualized coaching, with a focus on how to seed long-term community, faculty, administrative, and student support for the program. In 2015-16, WSESU is piloting middle school leadership training teams that connect to college and workforce education and awareness. Funding partners: Vermont Community Foundation's Innovations & Collaborations Grant Program and the United Way of Windham County.

UP For Learning
Communicating School Redesign Course & Shaping our Future Together Campaign
Funding for 2016-17

With funding from the McClure Foundation, UP For Learning will foster public understanding and support for the Flexible Pathways bill and adoption of student-centered learning, building grassroots communications capacity at six schools, along with a state-level communications campaign implementation. 

Improving Access to Postsecondary Education in Vermont
Forums and Summits to Address Strategic Issues

Funded Fall 2009 - Fall 2014

For four years, the McClure Foundation's 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 postsecondary education. The 2013 summit, a smaller learning session for education funders exploring workforce development through work-based learning, featured keynote speaker Lawrence Miller, then secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. In 2014, in lieu of its own event, the McClure Foundation supported the Green Mountain Imperative Summit led by the Vermont Business Roundtable. Funding Partner: Vermont Community Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Permanent Fund.

IV. FUNDING IN EARLIER YEARS

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

Funding for 2010-11 through 2015-16

This funding provides scholarships for enrollment in an American Red Cross babysitter training course. Youth are recruited through a partnership with the Vermont Department of Libraries 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. Well over 1,000 Vermont youth have received the free training via funding from the McClure Foundation.  

The Tutorial Center 
Bridge to College Program

Funding for 2010-11, Fall Semester 2011, and 2012-13 through 2015-16

The Bridge to College program at the Tutorial Center in Bennington supports nontraditional learners 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.

Champlain College
Single Parents Program

Funding for 2012-13 through 2015-16

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 580 students. Funding Partners: The Board of Champlain College, The Stiller Foundation, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation, and numerous individual donors.

Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP)
Renewable Energy Careers Workshop
Funding for 2015-16

VEEP will develop and pilot an in-class workshop that will give Vermont high school students a deeper awareness of the growing employment opportunities in clean energy and an expanded background knowledge needed for those careers. Occupational projections data and employers in the energy sector make the case for the need for the program. In the 2015-16 school year, 250 students at public high schools and career & technical education (CTE) centers will complete the workshop. Funding partner: Efficiency Vermont.

Lund
New Horizons Education Program
Funding for 2015-16

The New Horizons Education Program is a licensed alternative high school placement program career that serves pregnant or parenting students from up to 15 different sending schools each year. The McClure Foundation is funding technology enhancements that will allow each New Horizons student access to a laptop for schoolwork, college and career research, and the Introduction to College studies class in partnership with CCV. Program partners: Community College of Vermont and the VT Agency of Education.

Community College of Vermont
Aligning Jobs to Schooling: Print & Digital Media Enhancement
Funding for 2011-12 through 2014-15

This integrated print and digital marketing campaign distributed community college and technical school information to underserved Vermont households and raised 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. The McClure Foundation believes that community colleges provide an accessible and affordable solution for many students and should be a highly-marketed alternative to for-profit universities offering continuing education opportunities online.

With the funding, CCV developed a print and online version of a comprehensive publication designed to acquaint Vermonters with CCV’s certificate and associate degree programs and show the degree requirements, career tracks, transfer opportunities, employment outlook, and earning potential for each.  CCV's new College and Career Guide is now available online and offers prospective students an interactive map to exploring their college and career options. 

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, Former Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Education and is composed of representatives from numerous public and private education-based entities in Vermont.The goal of the Council is to promote — through consensus, alignment, and advocacy — student-centered education systems with dramatically increased access for all Vermonters.Funding Partners: Tarrant Foundation, Redducs Foundation, Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, and Vermont State Colleges.

Lyndon State College
Kingdom Careers Connect Program
Funding for the 2014-15 school year

Only 51% of students in the Northeast Kingdom enroll in college after graduating from high school. To address regional college and career aspirations early in students' lives, the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship at Lyndon State partners with the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) and Navicate to offer the Kingdom Career Connect (KCC) program, a year-round career education program that reaches 300 area eighth graders. Through the program, students receive career awareness toolkits, participate in experiential learning activities, and attend the end-of-year career fair at which partners and employers host all 300 students on Lyndon's campus for workshops.

Navicate
Work-Based Learning Pathways Statewide
Funding for the 2014-15 school year

Providing high-quality work-based learning (WBL) opportunities for students is a key strategy of the Flexible Pathways Bill (Act 77) passed by the Vermont Legislature in 2013. In partnership with the Upper Valley Business & Education Partnership and the Vermont Agency of Education, Navicate will develop and deliver training designed to prepare school-based personnel to provide high-quality WBL experiences for Vermont high-school students. They will also develop a training curriculum designed to prepare Vermont employers to provide high-quality internship experiences for students at their work sites. In the first year of the program, Navicate will engage over 50 employer participants and at least 100 educators in at least 20 high schools across the state. 

Funding for the 2014-15 school year also provides for a half-time regional coordinator in the Northeast Kingdom to serve as a liaison with schools and employers to help them secure meaningful WBL opportunities for area students. 

Funding partners: Ben & Jerry's Foundation

Academy 21
Franklin Central Supervisory District

Funding for 2011-12 and 2012-13

Franklin Central Supervisory Union (Franklin County) includes five schools providing PreK-12 and adult education. Academy 21 was an innovative learning initiative that aimed to re-engineer education in teh district by focusing on personalized learning in order to allow success for every student. Innovations tailored students' experiences based on their needs and interest and included alternative assessments, staffing models, and school calendars. Academy 21 was the first district transformation model in Vermont, and the pilot program was canceled after the 2012-13 school year. Funding partners: Vermont Department of Education, the Gates Foundation--A Next Generation Grant.

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.