Skip to Navigation Skip to Content
Back to News & Stories

Rise and Thrive Grants Help Women Business Owners Affected by Floods

Felipe Montpelier 17

The Vermont Women’s Fund, a component fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, and the Center for Women and Enterprise are pleased to announce grants from the Rise and Thrive campaign totaling $230,000 to women business owners affected by the July 2023 flooding that caused major damage in Vermont.

“The Vermont Women’s Fund is grateful for our partnership with the Center for Women and Enterprise to support women-owned businesses across the state who were impacted by the summer 2023 flooding. Thank you to our generous donors for being part of our ongoing movement to advance gender equity in Vermont and support Vermont women and girls so they can rise from the flood disaster and thrive,” said Emily Bush, director of the Vermont Women’s Fund.

The Vermont Women’s Fund launched the Rise and Thrive campaign last fall, and with the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023 of the Vermont Community Foundation raised approximately $400,000. This money was then granted to the Center for Women and Enterprise to be distributed to women business owners directly or indirectly affected by the flooding. The first round of $230,000 in grants will be followed by additional grants later this year.     

Special appreciation goes out to Carhartt, the workwear and outdoor apparel company, for contributing an initial gift of $50,000 to the Rise and Thrive campaign. Additional funds were contributed by individual donors and companies, nearly all of them from Vermont.

"The forethought of the Vermont Women's Fund and Vermont Community Foundation to stand up a fund like this, a direct-to-business-owners-experience, is pretty extraordinary,” said Gwen Pokalo Hart, vice president of policy & director of the Vermont Women’s Business Center at the Center for Women and Enterprise. “Our community nominating partners have been integral in the process–thank you! We are focusing on getting these dollars to the business owners who keep our communities thriving, but many times, for myriad reasons, did not access other funding available. Together, the awardees paint a compelling picture of what entrepreneurship looks like in our beautiful, rural state. This summer we will have a full impact report to share, which will include the powerful stories of the women who are continuing their businesses in the face of many, many challenges. They are doing the difficult resilience work and we celebrate them."

The Center for Women and Enterprise has awarded a total of 46 grants to businesses in areas including Barre, Barton, Bellows Falls, Brookline, Burlington, Derby, Granville, Irasburg, Johnson, Lyndon, Lyndonville, Marshfield, Montpelier, Newport, Orange, Plainfield, Richmond, St. Johnsbury, South Burlington, South Londonderry, Sutton, Waitsfield, Wells River, West Charleston, Windsor, Wilmington and Worcester.

To learn more about the work of the Vermont Women’s Fund visit