The Samara Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation is pleased to announce $86,710 in grants to 23 organizations across the state in this year's competitive grant round.
These grants include funding for LGBTQ+ events, projects, and organizational operating support. The Fund also gave 19 scholarships totaling $18,320 to graduating seniors from across the state.
Combined with three out-of-cycle grants, this is an unprecedented $112,230 in grants and scholarships in a single year from the Samara Fund since it moved to the Vermont Community Foundation.
This grantmaking was made possible by donors to Our Work is Not Done: Campaign for the Samara Fund, as well as ongoing donors to the fund. Grantmaking this year reflects the newly released values and priorities of the Samara Fund. The core values include:
• Being anti-racist and anti-oppressive by practicing intersectionality, power-shifting, and transformative justice both internally and externally. This includes being proudly trans-inclusive in every level of Samara's work.
• Being transparent with the community and funders about how Samara works.
• Queering fundraising and redistributing wealth for a bigger impact on the Vermont LGBTQ+ community.
• Prioritizing accessibility, gratitude, and accountability while queering Samara's work to make it fun, connective, and sustainable.
Samara funding priorities are:
• Queer- and trans-led projects and organizations.
• Projects that center, are led by, or prioritize BIPOC and/or trans Vermonters.
• Elders and youth.
• Queers with disabilities.
• Work that is harm reduction (including HIV/AIDS prevention and advocacy).
• Projects working meaningfully beyond Chittenden County.
• Smaller-budget projects.
• Long-term projects.
Samara Fund 2023 grant recipients in Windham County include:
• AIDS Project of Southern Vermont in Brattleboro, which has received $4,000 for general operating support. These funds will support the work of harm reduction and prevention, including outreach programs aimed at educating LGBTQ+ and others in rural communities about HIV prevention and safe practices.
The funds will also support direct services, including access to medical care, mental heath and substance use resources, and assistance with housing and transportation. Their primary population served includes HIV+ individuals and their families and partners in Windham, Bennington, and southern Windsor counties.
• Epsilon Spires in Brattleboro has received $2,500 for Connecting Queer Farmers and Community with Pop-up Dinners and Drag Performances. This project expands upon their recently successful "Golden Girls Drag Brunch"and will support two future thematic drag events with a sliding-scale ticketing structure paired with pop-up community meal experiences that are artist-led and curated by queer performers, culinary artists, and local farmers.
• Out in the Open in Brattleboro has received $5,000 for Rural LGBTQ+ Movement Building. These general operating funds will support work throughout the state with rural LGBTQ+ Vermonters including summits, retreats, fellowships, peer support and social groups, and community organizing.
• The Root Social Justice Center in Brattleboro has received $5,000 to support ongoing programming including Youth for Change, a mutual aid support network, affinity spaces, and more.
• Twin States Network of Guilford has received $1,000 for administrative expenses, including the salary of their executive director.
Visit vermontcf.org/samara for more information about the Samara Fund.
This Town and Village item was submitted to The Commons.