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VOREC Community Grant Program

The VOREC Community Grant Program is not accepting new projects at this time. Applications for the 2023 grant round closed on December 15, 2023. Notifications were emailed on February 29, 2024, to the program manager and authorized representative contacts identified in applications. If you are one of those contacts and have not yet seen your notification, please check your spam filter. 


The Vermont Outdoor Recreation Community Grant Program was established in 2018 when the Vermont legislature passed Act 194. Grant funding can be used for a variety of purposes with the result being a community(ies) that can show measurable success supporting and growing their local economies through leveraging outdoor recreation.

The program is closely tied to the five pillars of the VOREC program which are to:

  • Grow outdoor recreation-related businesses.
  • Increase participation in outdoor recreation activities among all demographics.
  • Strengthen the quality and extent of outdoor recreation resources.
  • Increase stewardship of outdoor recreation resources and environmental quality.
  • Promote and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation.

Recognizing the wonderful variety and complexity of Vermont’s existing outdoor recreation infrastructure, assets, and use, it is important to note that outdoor recreation is defined by VOREC and the community grant program as leisure, sport and therapeutic recreation activities pursued outdoors, mainly in a natural setting. Outdoor Recreation encompasses a wide scope of potential activities and the role of VOREC and the grant program is to elevate the knowledge base and potential of traditional and growing outdoor recreation activities.

Inclusion, openness, and innovation are fundamental principles of VOREC and we encourage creative and collaborative approaches. If you have a project idea and are unsure if it would qualify for a VOREC Community grant, please reach out to program staff who can help guide you.

2023 VOREC Community Grant Program

The Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) are  pleased to announce that the applications for the 2023-2024 VOREC Community Grant Program will open on October 9, 2023.

The program will award  up to $6 million  to communities around the state. Projects will be funded across four tracks –Implementation, Project Development, Outdoor Equity and Flood Recovery.

Please use the links below to locate information on this page:

Grant Track Descriptions

Track Description

Eligible Applicants

Example Activities

Funding Request

Implementation

Projects that support local outdoor recreation economies and will be ready to implement in Spring 2024. In order to receive funding for this track, all necessary permits, engineering plans or designs should have been secured or be in the process of being secured.

Municipalities

Non-profit organizations

  • Building a trail that connects the downtown to the town forest.

  • Adding a wayfinding system and/or website that helps visitors find outdoor recreation opportunities and local businesses.

  • Acquiring a property and building a trail system that connects a neighborhood to public land.

  • Renovating a town building into an information center about local outdoor recreation opportunities.

Minimum: $50,000

 

Maximum: none

Project Development

Projects that will support local outdoor recreation economies, but need design, scoping, or planning work done in order to be ready for implementation.

Municipalities

Non-profit organizations

  • Funding for architecture and engineering plans for a new visitor center.

  • Consultant fees for a community-focused recreation plan.

  • Designing a trail system on a new town forest.

Minimum: $20,000

 

Maximum: none

Outdoor Equity (implemented through a partnership with the Office of Racial Equity (ORE))

Projects that will reduce barriers and expand opportunities for people to access Vermont’s outdoors. In particular, this track will fund projects that support BIPOC, LGBTQ+ people, people with low incomes, speakers of languages beyond English and/or people with disabilities.

Municipalities

Non-profit organizations

Businesses

  • Lowering costs for a bike rental and instruction program for kids.

  • Adding information on trailhead kiosks in languages other than English.

  • Designing and building a trail for people with autism.

  • Planning a BIPOC-led trails festival or creating a space for BIPOC at an existing event.

  • Workshops that educate outdoor recreation providers about designing accessible and inclusive trails or programs.

  • Staff capacity support for increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in outdoor programming.

No minimum or maximum

Flood Recovery

Projects that repair or replace outdoor recreation infrastructure that was damaged due to flooding between July 10, 2023 and August 15, 2023. Infrastructure should be repaired or replaced in a manner that is more resilient to natural disaster.

Municipalities

Non-profit organizations

  • Redesigning and building a damaged trail system in a riparian area.

  • Replacing a culvert that was washed out in July 2023 with a bridge.

  • Planting a buffer of native trees and shrubs along the edge of a recreation complex that flooded.

No minimum or maximum

Key information

Grants are intended to give communities the resources they need to achieve their vision for a thriving outdoor recreation economy. Multi-faceted, cross-sector projects are encouraged. All projects must relate to at least one of the VOREC Pillars, listed on the VOREC website. Ultimately, the goal is to fund successful projects that demonstrate the wide array of benefits outdoor recreation has for local communities. 

For more ideas about projects that are eligible for VOREC Community Grants, check out The Next Outdoor Playgrounds and the Next Outdoor Playgrounds II, published by VT Sports magazine to highlight the recipients of the 2022 VOREC Community Grant Program. The VOREC Application Guidance (coming soon!) will also have a more complete list of which activities are eligible under each of the grant tracks.

Applicants must choose one track to apply to, although there may be projects that span multiple tracks.  For example, a community may have a project that is ready to implement, supports and expands the local outdoor economy and has components of flood recovery.  This overlap in tracks is welcome! Even though applicants will choose one track, projects will be reviewed for alignment with tracks that aren’t selected. If application reviewers believe the project fits better under a different track, they will consult the applicant to discuss next steps and the path forward.

Timeline:

Open Application Period: October 9 – December 15

Grant Review and Selection: December 15 – February 28

Grant Agreement Development: March 1 – May 31

Project Implementation: June 1, 2024 – December 31, 2025*

*Please note that Flood Recovery grants can be reimbursed for eligible expenses starting July 11, 2023.

Application:

The application will be available through December 15, 2023 11:59 PM

Online Application

FY23 VOREC Community Grant Program Application Guidance

Application Preview - This is a Microsoft Word version of the application questions. Please use this document to review the questions required for the application and to share amongst your project partners. However, in order to apply for the 2023 VOREC Community Grant Program, you must use the online application linked above. Word or pdf applications will not be accepted.

Notification of Change to Landowner Permissions for Flood Recovery Track Grants - Update November 15, 2023

Updated Flood Recovery Landowner Permission Form - Update November 15, 2023

Application Support:

Municipal Technical Assistance Program

Towns that need help with grant development, management, or administration, can get support from the State of Vermont’s Municipal Technical Assistance Program. The program is intended to assist communities that have a limited capacity for accessing and applying for state and federal grants. To be eligible for this program, towns must be pre-approved by the Vermont Agency of Administration. Here is the current list of pre-approved of townsIf you have further questions about how this program can help, please email the Vermont Agency of Administration at ADM.ARPAMuniAssist@vermont.gov.

Rural Economic Development Initiative

The Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), a program of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), helps rural communities access funding they need for community and business development through grant-writing support. To be eligible for this assistance, the project must be based in or primarily serve a community with a population of less than 5,000 peopleIf you qualify and are interested in help from the REDI program, please submit a REDI inquiry form by Friday, October 20, 2023. Contact: Mariah Noth, Mariah@vhcb.org

Grant Program Webinar 

The webinar for the 2023 VOREC Community Grant Program happened on October 17 from 1-2 p.m. It included a presentation explaining the goals of the grant program and eligible activities for the four tracks. There was also time at the end of the session for questions from attendees.  

Webinar Recording 

Webinar Transcript

​​​​​​Frequently Asked Questions 

For answers to frequently asked questions regarding the program check out the program’s FAQs document. Staff will be adding to this document as questions come in from the webinars, open office hours and emails.

2023 VOREC Community Grant Program FAQs (Updated 12/12/23)

Open Office Hours

Staff at FPR will host a series of virtual open office hours for prospective grantees to learn more details about the four grant tracks and ask questions. Each opportunity will focus on a different track. The first half-hour of the session will be open for questions specific to the identified track. The second half hour of every session will be open for questions on any topic related to the grant program. Open office hours will be recorded and either the recording or transcript will be posted here. To access the open office hours, click the link below the date to join the online video meeting or call into the listed number at the scheduled time. If none of these times work for you, please email ANR.FPRRecreationGrants@vermont.gov with your questions and we will get back to you with an answer as soon as possible. 

Application Review Committee

We are looking for volunteers from outside the Departments of Forests, Parks and Recreation to help score applications for the 2023 VOREC Community Grant Program. We anticipate we will receive a large number of applications, so we are seeking volunteers to expand our review team to ensure every application is evaluated with comparable levels of energy and focus. Read the position description and then complete the online form to share your interest in joining the committee.

Press

Explore VT From These 8 New Basecamps (Published in Vermont Sports on 11.17.20. See "What the VOREC Grant Will Do" sections for examples of past projects) 

The Next Outdoor Playgrounds (Published in Vermont Sports on 05.06.22)

The Next Adventure Towns, Part II (Published in Vermont Sports on 09.15.22)

Information on the FY22 VOREC Grant Program

Contact Information

For more information about the VOREC Community Grant Program please email the Recreation Grants team at the Vermont Department of Forests Parks and Recreation: ANR.FPRRecreationGrants@Vermont.Gov

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