SVC Student Philanthropists Collaborate with The Bank of Bennington to Invest in the Bennington Community

Seeking Requests for Proposals

Southern Vermont College’s Philanthropy-Investing in the Community class has provided students the opportunity to share $5,000 in grant funding (supported by The Bank of Bennington) with Bennington County organizations. The class has been purposefully organized into three teams, each with a passion and interest in a specific area of need. NOTE: RFPs are now being released to the community, and organizations will have four weeks to submit applications. The deadline for RFP submissions will be April 18, 2014. For questions, contact Professor Jeb Gorham at

The student teams have shared the following Requests for Proposals:

housing enrichment Grant

A team of Southern Vermont College student philanthropists are inviting nonprofit organizations to apply for funding that supports housing enrichment. The purpose of this grant program is to build and sustain strong communities and create economic opportunities in low-income areas within Bennington County. According to the US Census of 2010, Bennington County had 31,143 residents that were 16 years and older. Of these residents, only 18,138 (58%) were actually employed during the time of the census. 

CLICK HERE for the Request for Proposal for Housing Enrichment Grant.

impoverished youth Grant

Our Southern Vermont College Student Philanthropy team will grant funding that supports youth affected by poverty in Bennington County. In 2009, Bennington County recorded a poverty rate of 26.6%, compared to the state rate of 15%. In 2011, there were 71,050 families with 125,164 children in the state of Vermont. Almost 14% of these children were from poverty stricken families. In Bennington County, there are over 7,000 children. According to city-data, over 23% of these children are living in poverty. In 2012, Vermont was ranked 5th in the country for lowest poverty rates. However, as data indicates, there is poverty in Vermont. Bennington County has the fourth highest poverty rate in the state at 13%.

CLICK HERE for the Request for Impoverished Youth Grant.

local healthy food grant

For three years, Southern Vermont College philanthropy teams have been awarding funds to nonprofit organizations committed to positively impacting Bennington County. This year, our student philanthropy team will support one or more eligible organizations intent on encouraging the consumption of local foods in order to promote health and fight obesity, while boosting economic growth and environmentally sustainable farming practices. Obesity is a major cause of illness and contributing factor to death in men and women across the United States and in Vermont, which ranks ninth in children considered either overweight or obese (CDC 2010). A diet high in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of many leading causes of death, so assuring the availability of affordable whole foods would directly address the health and welfare of our residents. Access to whole foods is especially difficult for those living in the downtown portion of Bennington, which is classified as a food desert by the USDA. A food desert is any area where the median family income is less than 80% of the state’s median and at least 500 people in the census tract live more than one-half mile from the nearest full-service supermarket or 100 households live over one-half mile and do not have access to a vehicle (USDA, 2013). Local food is less dependent on oil for transportation, pesticides and processing, so it is generally less expensive and fresher, therefore better tasting and more nutritious. Buying local food keeps the control of our food supply in the hands of the farmers producing food in the same communities where we live. Consuming local food is an investment in the health of our citizens and in an economically and environmentally sustainable future.

CLICK HERE for the Local Healthy Food Grant.