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

Seeking Requests for Proposals

​Southern Vermont College’s course Philanthropy – Investing in the Community is in its fourth year with a generous $5,000 funding commitment from The Bank of Bennington. The Bank’s funding has helped the students grant $15,000 to nine local organizations who do important community work. This spring, Philanthropy students will not only develop philanthropic funding campaigns from idea generation through requests for proposals to granting awards, but also work to collaboratively leverage additional funding for their grant-making. The students prepared requests for proposals (RFPs) in these designated giving areas and released them to the community this month. The deadline for initial letters of interest is March 31, and grant applications are due April 12. Following the submission deadline, students will schedule site visits and interviews with applicants to assist in their grant-making decisions. For questions, contact Professor Jeb Gorham at

The student teams have shared the following Requests for Proposals:

B-Youth Drug Awareness Grant

Southern Vermont College student philanthropists are inviting non­profit organizations to apply for funding that supports programs educating youth about drugs. The purpose of this grant program is to help build and sustain a stronger community and create more awareness of the substance abuse issues in Bennington County and surrounding areas.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there is a high degree of drug abuse in young Vermont teens between ages 12-­17. Marijuana and alcohol abuse are most reported. Vermont’s children have the highest rate of drug abuse compared to the rest of the states in the U.S. For example, 20% of 12-­17 year olds in Vermont had reported past 30­-day binge drinking and alcohol use, compared to the rest of the U.S. with an average of 15%. It was also found that marijuana use was more prevalent in Vermonters in the age ranges of (12-­17), compared to adults in the area, aged 26 and above. 

Community Open Space Grant

We are a team of students who are deeply committed to​ sustainability, integrity​, and innovation. ​Our goal is to award funds to an organization that aims to either improve the general environment or enhance or reconstruct pre­existing open spaces in our community.  
“In the last two decades, population growth in Vermont and the development of large residential parcels have reduced productive habitat by fragmenting it into smaller and smaller areas” (Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, 2011). Our community is specifically lacking the public open space to perhaps ride a bike, take a nature walk, or enjoy a nice picnic lunch. According to the 2009 Bennington Parks and Open Space plan, the established standard by the National Recreation and Park Association is 1 mile of trailing systems per every 5,000 population. (Including 4 miles of trails/greenways). Bennington, VT currently has 1 mile in place and 1 mile under construction, less than expected for a town with a reported population of 15,764 people (Bennington Planning Commission 2009). This year, the purpose of our grant is to initiate improvements within the community, in efforts to increase appreciation and utilization of natural open spaces in the area.  

Youth Health and Wellness Grant

Southern Vermont College encourages students to actively integrate their classroom learning with real world experiences while engaging in the local and regional community in meaningful ways. Our team is taking advantage of this opportunity to give back to the community to support a cause that we are very passionate about. As grant makers we are physically active and would like to support programs that promote a healthy lifestyle for youth. In fact, we strongly believe in fitness, communication, supportiveness and thoughtfulness and have identified these as our core values. We want to fund an existing organization or program that not only gets youth physically active but also instructs and educates youth about physical activity. It is extremely important to us that any organization that applies for our grant sees the importance of educating youth about being fit and physically active and will utilize our grant to help better our community.

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