Our grantmaking

We use grants to make postsecondary education the easy choice for young Vermonters because we believe that college and career training open the door to lifelong opportunity. Read on for more information about our giving philosophy and processes.

Over fifteen hundred electricians, nearly 4,000 nurses, and over 2,700 software developers and testers: these are the kinds and numbers of high-pay, high-demand jobs expected to open in Vermont in the next ten years. While we know that these and other promising jobs require education or training after high school, fewer than half of young people in Vermont enroll in degree programs directly after high school, which is the lowest in New England according to the New England Secondary Schools Consortium. That continuation rate is even lower -- 31 percent -- for Vermont students from low-income backgrounds.

With this data in mind, we use grants to help make the education and training pathways to Vermont’s most promising jobs more visible, more accessible, and more affordable. Embedded in our vision are public college and career training systems that drive equity and resilience. In all we do, we’re committed to a relational approach that centers equity and takes the long view.

What we fund

Pre-pandemic, we offered a competitive grant program that supported growth-stage efforts and programs seeking funding to pilot a model or a big idea, demonstrate effectiveness, expand delivery, or improve systems coordination. These multi-year grants typically ranged from $25,000 to $75,000/year. During the pandemic, we paused our competitive grant program to provide capacity support to core partners. We continue to support organizations including the Community College of Vermont, the Vermont School Counselors Association, and Serve Learn Earn with this type of multi-year capacity support.

Through our invitation-only grant processes, we proactively invite grant proposals ranging from $10,000 to over $100,000 for systems development or systemic change efforts. Our current two priority areas for these grants are: 1) equitably scaling and sustaining Vermont's Free Degree Promise, and 2) public educator workforce development and diversification. If your work aligns with one of these priorities, please contact us to discuss funding opportunities.

We also award multi-year "sustaining" grants to ongoing and mission-aligned programs, networks, and events. These smaller grants typically range from $1,500 to $5,000 annually and are proactively awarded without any reporting requirements. Read more about the Foundation’s sustaining grants. 

Alongside the release of the updated Vermont's Most Promising Jobs resource with the Vermont Department of Labor, we launched a mini-grant program that awards $250 - $2,500 to schools, libraries, and community organizations that help young Vermonters plan and prep for life after high school. If you have an idea for how a small amount of funding would boost career exploration and postsecondary planning for young Vermonters in your community, please contact us. We promise a speedy turnaround on funding decisions and no formal proposal or reporting requirements.

A core value of the McClure Foundation is working in coordination with others. To that end, our funding strategies are intentionally aligned with the Vermont Community Foundation’s commitment to closing the Opportunity Gap, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Accelerate ED Initiative, and the state of Vermont's postsecondary attainment goal that 70% of working-age residents will have a postsecondary credential of value by 2025. We are also committed to learning from and alongside other education equity, postsecondary attainment, and workforce development practitioners and funders.

Who may receive funding

Grant applications are accepted from organizations that are located in or serve the people of Vermont. Organizations must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or be a public agency, school, or municipality in the state of Vermont. Nonprofit organizations or community groups who do not have 501(c)(3) status may apply for grant awards if another eligible organization acts as a fiscal sponsor.

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available by the McClure Foundation.

Grant applicants must employ staff and provide services without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability.

How to contact us

At any time of year, we encourage you to reach out to Executive Director Carolyn Weir at cweir@vermontcf.org or 802-388-3355 x239 to discuss how your idea or project lines up with Foundation priorities.