NEWPORT — The Northeast Kingdom (NEK) Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation has granted $124,449 to 23 organizations in Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia counties this fall.
The awards represent a combination of grants to organizations supporting youth and education, community engagement, and increasing access to healthcare and outdoor recreation opportunities.
This year was one of the fund’s largest grantmaking years to date.
Echo Lake Protective Association received $2,400 to support Charleston School Outreach: Echo Lake Explorers and Ecosystem Stewardship. Charleston elementary and high school students will visit, explore, and learn ways of caring for Echo Lake, encouraging a new generation of lake stewards.
Encore After School and Summer Programs at North Country Supervisory Union received $5,000 to support NEK Youth Leaders, preparing youth for meaningful community engagement through participation in social and leadership-based clubs to make positive change in their communities.
Helping Other People Everyday (HOPE) received $14,500 in general operating support to be distributed over the next two years.
John Woodruff Simpson Memorial Library received $4,300 to support archiving of historic materials at the library and to begin gathering oral histories related to Jean Simpson, the community, and the history of the library and its neighborhood, which will include rotating exhibitions and displays, genealogy workshops, and presentations.
Kingdom Community Services received $4,160 to expand food shelf services by utilizing a new staff person to grow the volunteer base, as well as host listening sessions to understand barriers to access. The grant will also support a 24/7 community fridge and pantry.
Kingdom County Productions received $5,000 to support AccessArts, a program ensuring equitable access to its programs by offering free and reduced ticket prices to area students and residents.
Leach Public Library received $5,000 to support a variety of enrichment activities for youth in the Irasburg community. Programs will include creative activities, such as watercolor painting, puppet-making, and 3-D printing, as well as outdoor recreation, magic, STEM-based activities, and more.
Orleans Essex VNA & Hospice received $5,000 to provide improved foot care for clients in need of upgraded nailcare tools, which will increase comfort and reduce skin injury for medically compromised clients.
Peacham Children’s Center received $5,000 to construct a safe and functional outdoor play area for the childcare center.
Rescue Ice Hockey in the Northeast Kingdom received $5,000 to support the reopening and improvement of the Fenton Chester Arena. Grant funds will assist with the installation of LED lighting above the skating surface, lowering operating costs and energy use.
Salvation Farms received $5,000 to support Northeast Kingdom Gleaners, a program to connect NEK community members with local farms, moving surplus produce from the farm to the nutritionally-insecure.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) received $5,000 to support trail improvements at Long Pond in Greensboro. TNC will hire NorthWoods Stewardship Center to build a footbridge and lead trail improvement.
Town of Hardwick received $3,575 to improve the streetscape in its historic downtown, engaging a local designer in the development of new pole banners, points of visual impact, and a signal of welcome for locals and visitors alike.
Town of Sutton received $2,764 to support Sutton Window Dressers. The window dressers program will provide interior storm window inserts to individuals who, due to income or other circumstances, cannot afford them. This will reduce energy use and heating expenses.
Vermont Children’s Theater received $5,000 to support its Alumni Show, a musical production to serve NEK young adult actors who, due to the pandemic, missed two years of performances. The production will also provide an employment opportunity for local directors.
Vermont River Conservancy received $4,250 to support the Nulhegan River Wild and Scenic Initiative, a collaborative effort between community members, conservation groups, and the National Park Service, to coordinate a study of the Nulhegan River and explore potential designation as a Wild and Scenic River.