The Arts & Social Cohesion Grant Program at the Vermont Community Foundation Announces $250,000 in Grants

The Vermont Community Foundation is pleased to announce that its Arts & Social Cohesion grant program awarded $250,000 in grants to 29 organizations last year. The funding will support projects and events in the visual, performing, music, and literary arts that create opportunities for positive social interaction, engagement, and collaboration.  

“The artists and the projects represented in this list are a celebration of the diversity and creativity of our state,” said Andy Barker, the program officer for Health & Wellbeing initiatives at the Vermont Community Foundation.

More than half of the projects feature leadership from BIPOC artists, and many more are designed to foster new connections within communities and bring people together from different backgrounds and lived experiences. Notable projects include an arts therapy program serving the Afghan refugee community; an urban park revitalization project; an arts mentorship program for rural teens; a gospel music concert series; and family arts and play workshops.  

“The sparkling array of performances, collaborative murals, and participatory workshops funded through this program will connect Vermonters to each other through the arts,” said Holly Morehouse, vice president of Grants & Community Impact at the Vermont Community Foundation. “Coming out of a very isolating period during the pandemic years, VCF heard from the community that support for mental health and wellbeing was an acute need. When people feel a connection to their community, they experience real benefits to their physical and mental health. That’s what this grant program is about.” 

The Arts & Social Cohesion grant program was made possible by a VCF donor advised fundholder in alignment with the Health & Wellbeing impact area of the Foundation’s Opportunity Gap framework. The Arts & Social Cohesion grant program ran a single-year, competitive cycle in 2023.

“One of the benefits of working through a donor advised fund at the Vermont Community Foundation is the opportunity to partner with the Foundation to bring grantmaking, placemaking, and community to life through programs like this one,” said Stacie Fagan, vice president for Philanthropy at the Vermont Community Foundation.

The 29 grant recipients come from all parts of the state and are engaged in a wide variety of programming. Several projects focus on serving specific populations, including Brattleboro Museum & Art Center’s expressive arts therapy project led by, and serving, members of the Afghan refugee community. Similarly, the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV)received a grant for the African Youth Micro Cinema Project that will support high school youth creating narrative films that explore cultural norms, stereotypes, and archetypes of their communities. 

Other projects focus on cultural traditions and history, such as Out in the Open’s series of indigo dyeing workshops. Several projects emphasize expanding access to arts for the whole community, including River Arts of Morrisville’s plan to create “Morrisville Free University,” a series of free, fun, and enriching hands-on arts and crafts classes, and the Arts First project at Studio Place Arts in Barre, which will feature sessions for children and their families at the art center and a local playground. 

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 or call 802-388-3355 for more information.