We envision a Vermont where college and career training contribute to greater equity and resilience and where no promising job goes unfilled for lack of a qualified applicant.
We help make the education and training pathways to Vermont’s promising jobs more accessible, more affordable, and more visible. We partner with the Vermont Department of Labor to identify and promote Vermont’s most promising jobs for the next 10 years and use that data to inform our work.
In all we do, we’re committed to a relational approach that centers equity and the potential of Vermont’s greatest resource – its people.
As a foundation, we maintain core beliefs:
We believe in the talent and potential of Vermont learners of all ages. We know that as a state, we can’t afford to leave their talent on the table.
We believe that education and training after high school is one of the greatest levers for closing opportunity gaps.
We believe that public colleges and training providers with a track record of serving Vermonters at scale, particularly those from low-income backgrounds and who are first-in-family to pursue a credential after high school, are vital to Vermont's success.
We believe the image most of us have of a college student—the quintessential 18-22-year-old who recently graduated high school and is now studying full-time on a residential campus and living the idyllic college life—needs updating.
We believe that a decade of exclusively funding this issue in Vermont has led to some insights about how to thoughtfully fund equitable career pathways.
History of the McClure Foundation
We were established in 1995 as the first supporting organization at the Vermont Community Foundation as a way to structure and continue the family tradition of collaborative, entrepreneurial philanthropy practiced by our founders, Lois McClure and her late husband, J. Warren “Mac” McClure. The McClure family’s giving philosophy has been clarified through over half a century of family philanthropy.
The first thirteen years of the McClure Foundation was spent building the fund balance and supporting broad charitable issues. In 2008, after considering many issues and opportunities critical to Vermont communities, we focused our philanthropic lens on promoting equitable access to postsecondary and career education. In partnership with the Community Foundation, we published a report on ways philanthropy can affect the issue and created the College & Career Training Fund, which remains a vehicle through which philanthropists and funders can pool resources and support strategic initiatives and programs across the state.
Since 2008, we’ve awarded well over $5M to programs that build equitable access to affordable and high-quality education and training after high school that will prepare Vermonters for secure and successful employment. Funding strategies that guide our investment include: investing in students facing the biggest obstacles, raising college aspiration rates, changing the narrative around jobs, and partnering with others. Learn more about our current priorities and about how to apply for a grant.
As we enter our 25th anniversary year, we take time to reflect on the life histories and insights of our founders, Lois and Mac. Even as our understanding of the needs and opportunities facing Vermonters and Vermont communities evolves, our work continues to be guided and inspired by the experiences, values, and visions of our remarkable founders.
We welcome you to read the life histories of J. Warren “Mac” McClure and Lois McClure as compiled by our board president Barbara Benedict.