Community Projects

Informed by community member voices, each community collaborative decided on the process to fund local initiatives that address health inequities of those most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in their health district.

Health Equity Advancements: Community-by-Community

Each community collaborative designed and implemented a community-level funding process to support local initiatives.

The Stats – Community Project Funding

Each community collaborative decided how and when to launch their community project funding based on the needs of their community. Below is the current status of the statewide community project funding. As funding continues to be finalized, the information will be updated, resulting in a total of $1.8 million funded to community-level efforts.

Requested in Project Funds

A combination of all funds requested for community projects during the application processes.

Funded to Projects

A combination of all funds approved and funded to community projects.

Project Applications

The total amount of applications received by potential community projects.

Funded Projects

The total number of applications accepted and awarded for community project funding.

Fully Funded Projects

The total number of applications that received the full amount of funding requested in their application.

Partially Funded Projects

The total number of applications that received a partial amount of the requested funds from their application.

What are the VT CHEP Community Projects?

The twelve community collaboratives, informed by community member voices, designed, and made the decisions of the local initiatives to funds that address health inequities of those most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each District had $150,000 that went directly to community projects. Each local collaborative developed their data driven problem statement, identified a health inequity their community wants to improve, and developed their funding process.

The community projects vary by focus, size and funding and are uniquely aligned to the work with their  community collaborative.

Learn about each collaborative’s problem statement, community vision/goal, and awarded projects, below.

What is the process?

The local collaborative determined their approach to the community application process and developed their Request for Proposals (RFP), utilized process guidelines and application template provided by the VT CHEP. 

They determined how to notify their communities about the RFP process, including the details about the funding opportunity and selection process. Some selected an invite process, informed by community members, and some published in the open media. Each approach was unique and specific to the local community.

Each collaborative customized their RFP, based on capacity of the Integrator, Backbone Staff, and community project funding committee members. Examples include:

  • Alternative application methods (i.e. video, interview)
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Several submission platforms (i.e. Google Docs, fillable PDF, printable)
  • Translation services
  • Funding restriction examples
  • Budget templates
  • Technical assistance sessions for budgeting, milestone planning, general discussion

    Once projects were selected and notified, agreements were signed with the organization administering the funds (the Backbone Organization or the VtPHI), enabling the projects to begin their work.

    Ongoing support for each community project is provided by the Integrator staff in conjunction with the VT CHEP. Learning and support opportunities are available for projects as part of the larger statewide learning collaborative.

    What is a Data Driven Problem Statement?

    The Data Driven Problem Statement was created by each Vermont Health District’s local collaborative to demonstrate their identified health inequity of focus.

    • Problem/Opportunity Statement: What is the health equity issue we want to improve?
    • Root Causes: Why does this health equity problem exists?
    • Population and Community-Level Indicators: How do we know this inequity exists both quantitatively and qualitatively?
    • Goals: Go do we know if we improved the health equity issue identified?
    • Roles: Who is going to work to address the inequity and how?

    To learn about each District’s Data Driven Problem Statement, click here.

    Barre Health District

    Central Vermont

    Problem Statement:

    Prior to and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, substance use and co-occurring disorders increased as evidenced by higher levels of anxiety, depression, and substance use among the entire population, with disproportionately high levels among the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

    In 2021, there was a 33% increase in opioid-related fatal overdoses and a twenty-fold increase in stimulant overdoses, with 70% of the overdoses occurring among the Medicaid population. While there has existed a mobile team to people experiencing an acute crisis, this team has traditionally lacked the training capacity to adequately and with cultural sensitivity identify, assess, triage, and refer individuals in crisis with co-occurring disorders, including substance use disorder, to the right kinds of services, at the right time, in the right place.

    Community Goal/Vision:

    Crisis outreach services must be bolstered to include a diversified, well-trained team of responders who can provide immediate, trauma-informed, and culturally sensitive support for a range of crisis issues, including substance use disorder. The current regional service provider workforce must become more inclusive and diversified to be more welcoming and relatable to the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other communities experiencing inequities.

    Community Projects:

    • All Brains Belong (ABB)

    • Community Resilience Organizations (CRO)

    • Education Justice Coalition

    • Mosaic Vermont

    • Montpelier Roxbury Public Schools Partners in Education (MRPS PIE)

    • Peer Plus

    • Pride Rides

    • Vermont Kindness Project (VKP)

    • Washington County Mental Health Services (WCMHS)
    • Working Bridges

    Bennington Health District

    Problem Statement:

    Previous public health initiatives in the Bennington region have not adequately addressed the root causes of health inequities, specifically poverty and the economic systems that keep people in this condition. A significant portion of the Bennington population lives at or below the poverty level, and the design of the current economic system is a large contributor to this rate of poverty and associated negative health outcomes.

    Community Goal/Vision:

    Economic development and reform efforts that center human dignity, lived expertise, and health equity are essential to improving the wellbeing of the Bennington community.

    Community Projects:

    • Alliance for Community Transformations (ACT)
    • Bennington County Open Arms (BCOA)
    • The Bike Hub, Inc.
    • Greater Bennington Community Services (GBCS)
    • Mount Anthony Union Middle School (MAUMS)

    Brattleboro Health District

    Windham County

    Problem Statement:

    Community members who seek social services (such as housing and food) from community organizations and government programs often experience a need for more than one resource. These community needs are not always met effectively, timely, or appropriately.

    The following are the most resounding opportunity gaps when supporting the health of our community:

    1. Funding Limitations & Intersectional Needs

    2. Lack of Linguistic & Cultural Humility

    Other related opportunity gaps that could possibly be explored and addressed are distrust of the current systems of care, mutual aid and peer supports as more effective tools, lack of transitional housing, and the many gaps in mental health resources.

    Community Projects:

    • Atowi

    • Community Asylum Seekers

    • Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)

    • The Groundworks Collaborative

    • Neighborhood Connections

    • Out in The Open

    • Putney Community Cares

    • SUSU Community Farm

    • The Root Social Justice Centre

      Burlington Health District

      Chittenden County

      Problem Statement:

      The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the existing issue of health inequities and social disconnectedness in defined sub populations of Chittenden County. These stressors were noted particularly as a result of pandemic “lock down” and anxiety regarding the effects of the pandemic on such elements of health, school, employment, and housing. The UVMMC 2022 CNA survey results found that the majority of residents in the areas served by the medical center feel safe and trust in their communities. However, focus group responses described a desire from many groups for stronger community connectedness so as to improve mental health and well being.

      Community Projects:

        • Age Well
        • Conscious Homestead a Project of Community Resilience Organizations (CROS)
        • Vermont Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (VABVI)
        • Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform (VCJR)
        • Winooski Partnership for Prevention
        • The Winooski News

        Middlebury Health District

        Addison County

        Problem Statement:

        Through this grant we will address mental health and health care inequities by focusing on our community’s mental wellbeing and access to care through a lens focusing on training and capacity building, trauma-centered care, LGBTQIA+ support, culturally competent care, and projects to elevate and better support our marginalized populations. We strongly encourage community partners to apply for this grant and share person-centered initiatives that address health equity among populations that have traditionally been underfunded or underrepresented within this community. By the end of May 2023, this grant will have allowed us to support current and new efforts and continue conversations around the sustainably of supporting health equity efforts in Addison County.

        Community Goal/Vision:

        Addison County recognizes that improving health equity within our health care system requires long term learning from community members and establishing a culture that enables this work. Through the Vermont Health Equity Partnership Grant, we will build a foundation to address health inequities by increasing opportunities for prevention, treatment, and promotion of physical and mental wellbeing among underserved populations within our community.

        Community Projects:

          • Addison Allies

          • Charter House 

          • Counseling Services of Addison County (CSAC)
          • Elderly Services 

          • Engaging Families Project 

          • Giving Fridge 

          • Middlebury Eye Associates 

          • Storytelling for Health Equity 

          • Teen Center

          • Teen Makery 

          Watch this video to learn more about Addison County’s community efforts throughout the VT CHEP grant!

          Morrisville Health District

          Lamoille County

          Problem Statement:

          Data shows that Vermonters who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and who had COVID-19 had a higher rate of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, pulmonary and cardiovascular disease compared to white non-Hispanic Vermonters with COVID-19, 19.4 versus 12.1 per 10,000 Vermonters, respectively. COVID-19 among Vermonters who are BIPOC ( Between March 2021 through April 2022; Lamoille County had 183 COVID-19 cases among identified BIPOC community members, representing 18% of total cases during this time (VDH-Health Surveillance). Vermonters who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are at a disadvantage regarding healthy equity which was highlighted nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

          Community Goal/Vision:

          The collaborative will seek to better understand the problem to support community efforts in developing initiatives that will assist in bridging these gaps in inequities. One fundamental step in understanding these disparities and gaps is to engage a diverse community to join the conversations. The Health Equity Collaborative of Lamoille has agreed for the broader engagement strategy as an initial step in promoting future work.

          Community Projects:

          • Green Mountain Technology & Career Center
          • Lamoille Community House
          • Lamoille County Mental Health Services
          • Lamoille Restorative Center
          • Lamoille Union High School
          • Lamoille South Unified Union
          • Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union
          • United Way of Lamoille County

          Newport Health District

          Problem Statement:

          We are not providing the right mental health/substance misuse care, at the right place at the right time, every time and too many in our community are getting stuck at the wrong level of care/ wrong care location. This is frustrating, costly, and ineffective.

          Community Goal/Vision:

          Everyone living in Orleans/No. Essex will have easy access to person-centered and coordinated mental health and substance misuse services that are timely, close to home, at the appropriate level and with the appropriate transition supports for continued success in a person’s home community.

          Community Projects:

          • Journey to Recovery Community Center
          • NEK Collaborative
          • Market Decisions Research

          Funded by Newport and St. Johnsbury Districts:

          • Powered Magazine
          • Umbrella, Inc
          • Vermont Learning Support Initiative (VLSI)

          Rutland Health District

          Problem Statement:

          The voices of oppressed and underserved community members are not centered in the ongoing work of improving health equity in Rutland County. This exclusion assumes services and opportunities needed ‘for’ rather than ‘with’ these community members. This is alienating and disempowering, leading to mistrust between underserved community members, service providers, and the community as a whole. Mistrust feeds into lack of engagement which continually exacerbates issues of health inequities and community disconnection.

          Community Goal/Vision:

          The voices and lived experiences of BIPOC, LGBTQ+ folks, people living with disabilities, and other underserved and oppressed community members are centered and valued. We curate safe space for people to speak from that lived experience to inform projects, programs, and policies in Rutland County. This centering is critical to making community networks more just, equitable, and inclusive for all.

          Community Projects:

          • Allen Street Campus
          • ARC Rutland Area (Advocacy, Resources, Community)
          • Come Alive Outside
          • Euphoric Hair Experience
          • Rutland County Pride (RCP)
          • Rutland Area Branch NAACP
          • VT AthletaFit
          • Vermont CARES

          Springfield Health District

          Problem Statement:

          Stigma is a major barrier to health and wellness for residents in our community. Both actual and perceived stigma prevent many community members, including those with substance use disorder (SUD) and those experiencing mental health challenges, from accessing necessary physical and mental health care, social services, community support, housing, transport, employment, and social opportunities. Stigma is also harming many residents’ already strained mental health by negatively impacting their sense of belonging, connection, and hope, leading to feelings of isolation. These experiences and outcomes are particularly acute for our most marginalized and underserved community members.

          Community Goal/Vision:

          Greater Springfield will be a thriving community where all members are valued, respected, healthy, hopeful, and have a sense of belonging and connection. All individuals will know how, where, and be able to access quality, appropriate services whenever needed.

          Community Projects:

          • Adoptee Counselor, LLC
          • Greater Falls Community Justice Center (GFCJC)
          • Mother (B)earth Doula (B.W.)
          • Pop-Up Adventure Play (PUAP)
          • Springfield High School (SHS)
          • Stigma Reduction Community Partnership Project
          • SUSU CommUNITY Farm
          • The Collaborative / Green Peak Alliance

          St. Albans Health District

          Franklin and Grand Isle Counties

          Problem Statement:

          Across Grand Isle and Franklin counties, people are not able to access the health care and support services they need. This is a complex problem, and is caused in part by affordability, difficulty getting an appointment, lack of transportation, workforce challenges and systemic inequities in our institutions, policies, and infrastructures. Barriers to access contribute to mental health crises, substance misuse and chronic disease prevalence in our region. Communities in our region are expressing a lack of confidence in the health care and support systems and report feeling unsafe, unheard, and alone.

          Community Projects:

          • Champlain Islanders Developing Essential Resources (C.I.D.E.R.)
          • Maquam Bay of Missisquoi
          • Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO)

          St. Johnsbury Health District

          Problem Statement:

          Not everyone in Caledonia and Southern Essex Counties has fair and just opportunity to be financially secure, mentally healthy, physically healthy, well-housed and well-nourished. This is true particularly for those experiencing stigma, marginalization and avoidable systemic inequalities associated with socioeconomic status; race, ethnicity and culture; sexual orientation and gender identity; visible and invisible disabilities; trauma, mental health and substance misuse disorders, and justice-involvement.

          Community Projects:

          • Stacy Thrall Coaching
          • The Center for an Agricultural Economy
          • St. Johnsbury Community Hub
          • Project Phoenix

          Funded by Newport and St. Johnsbury Districts:

          • Powered Magazine
          • Umbrella, Inc
          • Vermont Learning Support Initiative (VLSI)

          White River Junction Health District

          Problem Statement:

          Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as well as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and plus (LGBTQIA+) community members have higher levels of mental health challenges and substance use disorder, diagnosed and undiagnosed. These conditions are both caused by and contribute to isolation, other chronic health conditions, and not feeling safe.

          Community Goal/Vision:

          The Upper Valley is a lively, growing, safe, and inclusive community where, by working together, marginalized communities have access to the power and resources necessary to ensure equitable access to health care, education, housing, food security, and other socioeconomic needs.

          Community Projects:

          • One Heart Wellness Cooperative 

          • Storytelling Events for BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ 

          • Telling My Story 

          • Safe Spaces for BIPOC 

          • Community Resilience Organizations

          • Liberation Library (Every Town) 

          • Windsor Central Supervisory Union (WCSU) 

          • AthletaFit 

          • Unlikely Riders 

          • Abenaki Garden