Area LGBTQ groups receive grants from Samara Fund

The Samara Fund, a component fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, has granted $38,105 to several nonprofit organizations in its ninth annual competitive grant round.

With pandemic safety measures in place, LGBTQ organizations are facing increased programming costs to maintain close connections with the people they serve.

Community connection is vital to supporting LGBTQ Vermonters, especially youth and those living in rural areas, many of whom are struggling with mental health, isolation, and food insecurity, among other challenges stemming from the pandemic.

As a result, this year the Samara Fund's grant committee prioritized programs that serve LGBTQ youth and allies, extending or establishing new services in rural and underserved areas of the state, support and services for transgender Vermonters, LGBTQ-competent health care and HIV/AIDS supports and services, and anti-bullying programming.

Local grantees included:

• AIDS Project of Southern Vermont: $3,500 to provide direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS and prevention services to those at most risk in Windham, Bennington, and southern Windsor counties.

• Epsilon Spires in Brattleboro: $2,105 to support Drag Queen Story Hour: Introducing glamorous, positive queer role models to children through books.

• Out in the Open in Brattleboro: $3,500 to support programs and services that create connections and community for rural LGBTQ people living in southern Vermont.

• New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro: $3,500 in support of LGBTQ youth circus scholarships.

• Twin States Network: $3,500 to support its peer-based support services for individuals living with HIV in Vermont and New Hampshire.

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