3 Walter Cerf Community Fund grants awarded in Rutland County

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RUTLAND — The Walter Cerf Community Fund recently announced $112,380 in 2019 grants to 29 organizations to support work through summer 2020.

This year, three grants were awarded to beneficiaries in Rutland County:

Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce received $5,000 to support construction of the new Brandon Summer Concert Series Pavilion.

Brandon Area Toy Project received $2,500 to support Project Play!—the construction play place that will encourage exercise, community involvement and outdoor activity opportunities for children in Brandon and surrounding towns.

Safer Society Foundation received $2,500 to support its New Circle Mentoring Program which matches children of incarcerated parents with a long-term mentor who helps mitigate trauma through academic and emotional support.

Alongside many multi-year grants, these new grants will support a range of organizations and projects focused on social services, historic preservation, arts, education, and the needs of local residents experiencing poverty.

The Cerf Fund’s giving since its establishment in 2001 is part of the lasting charitable legacy of a remarkable and generous man who cared deeply about the vitality of communities Addison County, northern Rutland County, and beyond.

The son of a successful businessman, Walter Cerf was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1907, and spent most of his youth in Berlin, but fled to the United States as a refugee of Nazi Germany in 1937.

After becoming a U.S. citizen, he served in military intelligence and developed a deep appreciation for the preservation of art, culture, and local history.

In 1947, he began a twenty-five-year career as a Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, and retired in Leicester, Vermont in 1972.

With proceeds from interests in his father’s business, Walter made gifts exceeding $10 million to more than 100 different organizations in Vermont during the last twenty years of his life.

At his death in 2001, the WCCF was established at the Vermont Community Foundation as a permanent endowment.

The Fund makes grants annually in his name, carrying on the generosity of this remarkable man in perpetuity.

The Vermont Community Foundation inspires giving and brings people and resources together to make a difference in Vermont.

The heart of the Community Foundation’s work is closing the opportunity gap, the divide that leaves too many Vermonters struggling to get ahead, no matter how hard they work.