Applications are now closed for 2023. VCRD anticipates opening a new round of applications in the fall of 2024 as funding allows.
VCRD launched the Climate Catalyst Innovation Fund in 2021 to support local innovators developing solutions that move Vermont closer to its climate and energy goals. The objective of the fund is to support projects for which a small grant could have a meaningful impact.
The Vermont Council on Rural Development, in collaboration with the Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity (VLITE), Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU), Vermont Community Foundation Flood Response & Recovery Fund, the Sunflower Fund, the Ruth H. Brown Foundation, and the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation supported $82,500 in small grants in 2023 to support local innovators developing solutions that move Vermont closer to its climate and energy goals. The objective of the fund is to support innovative local projects for which a small grant could have a meaningful impact.
Grant awards will be made ranging from $500 to a maximum of $4,000. Funds can be awarded to a municipality, school, non-profit organization, town energy committee or business. VCRD is open to working with potential grantees that lack the organizational infrastructure to accept funds directly.
Criteria for successful projects include:
- Innovative: What is unique about this project?
- Equitable: How does this project address the needs of frontline communities and historically marginalized Vermonters?
- Replicable: Can the project serve as a model for others? What path exists for this to be more than a one-off?
- Collaborative: What partners are involved and what is the depth of their engagement?
- Climate/Energy Goals: When completed, will this project reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, reduce total energy use, and/or increase renewable energy consumption in Vermont? Can that impact be measured?
- Resilience: Increase human, built and natural resiliency
- Leverage: Would this grant unlock other funds or support?
To date, small grants have been awarded to 68 local innovators of over $200,000 distributed to local efforts. The Climate Catalysts Innovation Fund has supported a diversity of projects such as a flood plain public food forest, developing frontline emergency preparedness kits, climate economy workforce training, e-bikes at local libraries, and more. To learn more about projects that were funded in 2021, click on the icons in the interactive map below and read the 2021 Climate Catalysts Innovation Fund Report.
For more Information, contact Laura Cavin Bailey at [email protected] or 802-234-1646.