Culinary Classic highlights a connected, caring community

BURLINGTON — Nearly 400 people filled the event space in the Dudley H. Davis Center at the University of Vermont for the Second annual Culinary Classic to benefit the Cancer Patient Support Foundation, or CPSF. The mid-November event brought together six of the area’s top chefs to compete for the Culinary Cup and People’s Choice Awards, and also featured both silent and live auctions and a dramatic “Mission Moment” on-site donation drive that followed a moving video presentation on the impact of CPSF in people’s lives. Christian Kruse, executive chef of the Basin Harbor Club in Ferrisburgh, took home the Culinary Cup in the judged competition, and Narin Phanthakhot, executive chef at Butch + Babe’s in Burlington earned the People’s Choice award, but the real winners were those who benefit from CPSF supports. This year’s Classic raised more than $112,000 to help CPSF provide emergency assistance to cancer patients, and their families, who are experiencing financial hardship due to their illness and treatment. Elizabeth Warren, who, along with husband Todd Warren, owns Vermont Custom Closets and Otter Creek Awnings in Williston, is a member of the CPSF board and served as the committee chair for this year’s Culinary Classic.

Food bank, Uber launch partnership

BARRE — Vermont Foodbank and Uber Vermont today announced the launch of a giving season partnership to help the Vermont Foodbank raise money and provide meals for children and families throughout the Green Mountain State. Starting today, Uber riders in Vermont can enter the promo code FEEDVT16 when they ride and Uber will donate $1 for every trip to the Vermont Foodbank. Riders can enter the promo code every time they ride between today and Friday. Each year, the Vermont Foodbank distributes over 12 million pounds of food to thousands of children and families. During this season of holiday giving, Uber and the Vermont Foodbank are working together to build awareness and bring our communities together to give back.

Vt. Family Network gets $15K grant

Vermont Family Network recently received a $15,000 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Innovations and Collaborations grant program. The grant will help further Vermont Family Network’s mission to empower and support all Vermont families of children with special needs by expanding the organization’s capacity to provide family-to-family support in the refugee and immigrant communities in Chittenden County. The Innovations and Collaborations grant program supports efforts by nonprofit organizations to help develop solutions to community needs.  

Hunger Free Vt. gets $30K grant

SOUTH BURLINGTON — The Newman’s Own Foundation recently awarded a $30,000 grant to the statewide program Hunger Free Vermont. Newman’s Own Foundation made the award as part of a broader commitment to support programs that increase access to fresh food and nutrition education in underserved communities. This funding will help Hunger Free Vermont to offer nutrition education in communities across Vermont, teaching Vermont youth and adults how to shop for and prepare nutritious meals on small budgets.  

Adaptive sports get $275K boost

SOUTH BURLINGTON — The Kelly Brush Foundation recently awarded $275,000 for adaptive sports gear and ski racing safety equipment grants and strategic partnerships. This year’s annual grants marked a milestone for the foundation both in the number of awards and the amount awarded. The foundation awarded 95 adaptive sports equipment program grants totaling $175,572 for equipment, including on-road and off-road handcycles, sport chairs for basketball, tennis and rugby, and monoskis and race chairs for skiing. A total of 15 ski racing clubs were awarded a total of $54,500 in ski racing safety grants to purchase safety netting to line training and racing courses.

Bank gives $15K to DREAM program

BURLINGTON — Merchants Bank recently donated $15,000 to The DREAM Program, a mentoring organization that pairs college students with youth from affordable housing neighborhoods. The program works with college students from nine different campuses and youth from 15 affordable housing neighborhoods. It supports more than 250 mentoring pairs in Vermont. Program officials said they hope to expand the organization’s reach over the next school-year.

Karen Ward

GMUW to launch annual campaign

Green Mountain United Way’s annual campaign kickoff breakfast will be held on Sept. 20 at The Steak House on the Barre-Montpelier Road. The event will include stories from people who have been directly impacted by the work of the local United Way. The group also announced that Karen Ward has agreed to serve as this year’s campaign chair. Ward is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in the Newport area and has volunteered for the United Way on many occasions.

Gift providing 15,000 meals

BURLINGTON — Merchants Bank recently donated $5,000 to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf at the Festival of Fools celebration in Burlington on July 31. The bank’s $5,000 donation will provide 15,000 meals to neighbors in need. The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf serves roughly 11,000 people each year and is the largest direct service emergency food provider in Vermont.

Dunkin’ Donuts helps hospitals

Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees in Vermont and nearby counties in New Hampshire and New York recently donated $22,000 to the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. The $22,000 amount was raised on Iced Coffee Day on May 25, when $1 from every iced coffee sold in Vermont, Grafton and Sullivan counties in New Hampshire, and Clinton, Franklin and Essex counties in New York benefited these two children’s hospitals. Iced Coffee Day and the check donation are made possible by Dunkin’ Donuts guests and local Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees.

BCBSVT gives nearly $200K

BERLIN — In the past year, employees of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont worked more than 2,000 hours at community events and BCBSVT devoted nearly $200,000 to community health and wellness initiatives. The company’s efforts included statewide sponsorship of the “Girls on the Run” program, which recently wrapped up its season with a 5K run in Rutland. Nationally, BCBS companies and their foundations contributed nearly 400,000 volunteer hours and nearly $350 million to community initiatives.