The Working Communities Challenge in Vermont is a three-year grant opportunity designed to strengthen Vermont’s rural towns, regions, and small cities by encouraging cross-sector teams to work collaboratively to benefit all residents—particularly residents with lower-income.

Planning Phase Information

Up to six cross-sector teams that each represent a group of rural towns, a region, or a small city in Vermont will be awarded a 4-5 month grant of $10,000-$15,000 to participate in the Planning Phase. Only planning phase grantees will be eligible to compete for multi-year implementation grants, which are expected to be up to $300,000 and will include technical assistance, coaching, access to small tactical grants, and participation in a learning community.

The Planning Phase provides content, practical exercises, and time for planning to support teams in their efforts to better understand and get ready to incorporate the core elements of the Working Communities Challenge into their initiatives.

Every team’s application must include at least one priority community and must represent an area with more than 6,000 people. Every town in Vermont can be part of an application as long as the application meets these two conditions: at least one priority community as part of the application and more than 6,000 people. Multi-town or regional applications are welcome.

Letter of Interest:

To apply for a Working Communities Challenge Planning Grant a lead applicant from your team is required to submit a Letter of Interest by Friday, November 1, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST in order to reflect your team’s interest in being a candidate for the Working Communities Challenge. Please submit the letter of interest by email to Stephen Michon at

Planning Grant Application:

Teams must submit a Planning Grant Application by Friday, December 13, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST and should be submitted by email to Stephen Michon at Only teams that submit a Letter of Interest are eligible to submit a Planning Grant Application and only one Planning Grant application is permitted per priority community. Additional information regarding the Planning Grant application will be available at the Regional Information Sessions (see below).

Grant Start and End Date: Friday, January 31, 2020 through Monday, June 15, 2020

Number and Size of Awards: Up to six planning grants of between $10,000 and $15,000 per award