What do four hundred electricians, more than two thousand nurses, and nearly five hundred software developers have in common? These are the kinds and numbers of promising jobs expected to open in Vermont in the next ten years. However, these and other promising Vermont jobs largely require education and/or training after high school. As few as 37% of Vermont’s low-income high school students pursue such education after graduation. With that gap in mind, we envision a Vermont where all people have abundant opportunities for career education and advancement and where and no promising position goes unfilled for lack of a qualified applicant. We believe that as philanthropists, educators, and legislators communicate and collaborate to improve and promote educational opportunities within the state, Vermont’s most important resource — its people — become more fully empowered.

What We Fund

For the 2017-18 school year, the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation will focus its funding on projects that create systemic improvement in the access all Vermonters have to postsecondary and career education.

Funding priority will be given to projects that:

  • Encourage equal access to work-based learning* and high-quality career and technical education programs for Vermont students in grades 6 through 12 that articulate pathways to further education and training; 
  • Promote postsecondary attainment for low-income students, first-generation college students, adult learners, and/or veterans who are enrolled in the Vermont State Colleges;
  • Promote strategies identified by and aligned with the statewide effort to increase the percent of working-age Vermonters with a postsecondary degree or credential of value;
  • Further the equitable implementation of recent state legislation including Flexible Pathways Initiative (Act 77), workforce development (Act 51), and other postsecondary access and attainment efforts;
  • Support employer partnership in efforts to align the training, certification, and degree programs at Career & Technical Education Centers, Vermont State College institutions, and elsewhere with Vermont’s workforce needs; and/or
  • Expand the reach of our Pathways to Promising Careers resource and/or further access to the education and training pathways to the high-pay, high-demand jobs featured in the resource. 

*Work-based learning experiences are activities that involve actual work experience or that connect classroom learning to employment and careers.

Funding priority will be given to organizations/entities that:

  • Are public institutions or that strengthen our state’s public institutions, including schools, colleges, and libraries;
  • Have a statewide reach or the potential for a statewide reach;
  • Have a history of data-driven, collaborative programming;
  • Work together to increase reach and share best practices; and
  • Have sustainable sources for general operating funds and need specific, short-term assistance to ramp up distinct programs of interest to the Foundation.

Grant Amount

The Foundation’s primary interest is in funding projects with statewide impact that are aligned with multi-sector postsecondary attainment or workforce development efforts; these grants tend to range from $25,000 to $60,000. Grants for local projects (with the potential for replication or scaling) tend to range from $10,000 to $25,000. In 2016, grant amounts ranged from $10,000 to $60,000; the list of grants given for the 2016-17 school year is available here.

Application Process

Our current round of funding will support projects that run from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. The first step to be considered for funding is to submit a short Letter of Interest. The 2017 deadline for submitting a Letter of Interest was 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 6.

All requests for funding from the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation must be submitted electronically via the Vermont Community Foundation's Online Grants Manager. Visit the Online Grants Center to learn how to use the Grants Manager, including accessing your existing account or registering for the first time. 

A select number of Letter of Interest submissions will be invited to complete a full application in late February. The full application was due on Friday, March 31.


Carolyn Weir, philanthropic advisor for the McClure Foundation, is available to answer questions about the grant process and/or to discuss how your project lines up with Foundation priorities. You can reach Carolyn at cweir@vermontcf.org or 802-388-3355 ext. 239.