Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative Grant Program

Vermont

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Policy Type Legend
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Equity

Climate Education

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Grant Fund

Community Process

Outdoor Recreation

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Fact-

finding

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Outdoor Learning in Schools

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Early Childhood Education

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation launched their 2021 Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) Grant Program, which will distribute monies to help Vermont communities leverage their natural outdoor recreation resources.


The VOREC pilot grant program was established in 2018 after the Vermont legislature passed Act 194.  VOREC intentionally started the grant program small to focus on granting to municipalities with achievable projects that would make a big impact for rural community economies.  The program’s initial focus was to show the value of the program and support for the outdoor recreation economy.  In 2019 and 2020, a combined total of $300,000 was invested in 9 municipalities across the state.


In the 2021 Grant Cycle, the VOREC grant program aims to fund up to 25 municipalities and non-profit organizations engaged in “leisure, sport, and therapeutic recreation activities pursued outdoors, mainly in a natural setting.”  To apply, applicants must submit a letter of interest, and may be invited to submit a full application.


Applicants must be a project team comprised of a range of community representation.  This could include municipal staff/volunteers, education, businesses, Regional Planning Commissions, Regional Development Corporations, outdoor recreation, social justice, or environmental organizations.  At a minimum, the project team must be led by a municipal or non-profit representative and also include representatives from an organization that is focused on outdoor recreation.


Municipalities:

  • Preference will be given to municipalities that are a state designated downtowns or village centers.

  • A consortium of municipalities is also welcome to apply. Consortiums must designate a “Sponsoring Municipality” in the application who will be the team lead and fiscal agent.

Non-profits:

  • Must demonstrate community support and include municipal team member(s)

  • Must be nonprofits with missions compatible with VOREC (recreation, conservation, trails, health, among others)

Since its inception in 2018, funding has increased from $100,000 in the program’s first year to $200,000 and then $5,100,000 for the 2021 grant cycle.  In 2021, the Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont legislature recognized the program’s value and success, which led to their $5 million allocation to the program in FY22.  The VOREC team is hopeful that Governor Scott will allocate another $5 million to the program in FY23.

These monies are distributed to help Vermont communities better leverage their natural outdoor recreation resources.  To encourage partnerships and large-scale ideas, individual grant minimums are set at $50,000 with no maximum.


All funding has come from one-time legislative appropriations from the general fund over the last three years.   Administrative support and staffing positions are funded through a grant from the Northern Borders Regional Commission (NBRC) in partnership with USDA Rural Development.

Policy Details

Year Submitted

2018

Bill Status

Passed

Most Recent Yearly Funding

2021

Total Program 

Funding

5,100,000

Continuing or One-time Funding

One-time

Funding Source

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation General Fund, and a one-time allocation from Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont legislature.

Path to Enactment

Legislature

Bill Number

N/A