The VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation has committed $12.3 million in grants and awards to help Vermont build back from catastrophic flooding that swept through the state last summer.
The funds have helped farmers who lost crops and equipment, communities that saw their downtowns swamped, renters and homeowners who experienced extensive property damage, and businesses that faced costly renovations to reopen. Thanks to the generosity of people all over Vermont and beyond, the Flood Fund has raised $12.7 million as of today to advance Vermont’s recovery from one of the worst weather disasters in state history and develop strategies to mitigate flood damage in the future. Of the $12.3 million allocated from the fund, $7 million has been distributed and another $5.3 million has been committed.
Now, six months after the disaster, the focus of the fund has shifted to longer-term efforts to assist Vermont people and communities.
“That the work of recovering from these floods would take time has never been in doubt. Gifts to this fund have been critically important to help Vermont set the stage for lasting flood resilience. The issues are difficult and complex, but collective effort made possible by donations to the VT Flood Fund is helping communities build back better,” said Dan Smith, president and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation. “To everyone who gave, we are deeply grateful for reinforcing the idea that people in Vermont and from all over still look out for one another. We will carry the work of this fund forward to help Vermont communities in the years to come.”
The VT Flood Fund is building momentum for resilience on multiple fronts. This includes: Work to help property owners rebuild with energy-efficient heating and cooling systems that are installed above the water line instead of in flood-prone basements; construction of new affordable housing outside flood zones; and support for nonprofits that are helping to remove idled, failing dams that aggravate flood risk downstream. Meanwhile, grants to farmers have helped keep a vital part of the rural economy in business. And by targeting recovery of hard-hit downtowns, the fund has played an important role in stabilizing job centers, so they are better positioned to frame complex, big-picture recovery strategies.
Funding is also supporting communities as they consider creating green space in flood-prone areas and sort through the multi-year process of property buy-outs. More than $1.5 million has been committed to home repairs and rebuilding, and up to $1 million has been committed to local long-term recovery groups.
Of the total Flood Fund grants and commitments, about 29 percent has been tapped to support community and climate resilience; 24 percent to housing and home repair; 19 percent to critical needs, immediate response, family and individual assistance; 18 percent to farms, agriculture, and watersheds; and 10 percent to business recovery, nonprofits, arts, and vulnerable individuals.
Much of the work made possible by the Flood Fund meshes with the broad goals and work of the Vermont Community Foundation. As active giving to the Flood Fund winds down, the Community Foundation encourages people to remember that there are ways to continue giving to create a strong, resilient Vermont for all.
“Two things stand out from the flooding of summer 2023. The first is that giving together can generate transformative impact,” said Stacie Fagan, vice president for Philanthropy at the Vermont Community Foundation. “Almost $13 million was gifted by nearly 9,000 donors, companies, foundations, and nonprofits. This meant immediate grantmaking and the ability to put flexible, nimble dollars to work as the crisis evolved and changed. The second is that we have an opportunity to invest in ways that are smarter, by rallying together every day and not just in times of crisis, to build stronger and more resilient communities.”
Giving together allows for bigger grants and investments in better strategies to reduce future impacts of weather-related disasters, Fagan added. “The Vermont Community Foundation is helping donors give together every day and we hope people will continue to invest in Vermont by working with us.”
Learn more about making a meaningful impact on flood recovery and other important issues in Vermont through a business or individual donor advised fund (DAF) at the Vermont Community Foundation. To schedule a call with a philanthropic advisor, please reach out to Alyssa DeBella at [email protected] or 802-388-3355 ext. 182.
The Vermont Community Foundation was established in 1986 as an enduring source of philanthropic support for Vermont communities. A family of more than 900 funds, foundations, and supporting organizations, the Foundation makes it easy for the people who care about Vermont to find and fund the causes they love. The Community Foundation and its partners put more than $60 million annually to work in Vermont communities and beyond. The heart of its work is closing the opportunity gap—the divide that leaves too many Vermonters struggling to get ahead, no matter how hard they work. The Community Foundation envisions Vermont at its best—where everyone can build a bright, secure future. Visit vermontcf.org to learn more.