Awards & Grants


Recognizing the high-quality work already being done in the world of early care and learning is important to our mission. The Early Educator of the Year Award recognizes  excellence in the teaching of Vermont’s young children and alternates between honoring home-based and center-based programs each year.

Nominations for this award open in April (the application will be available here). For 2018, the Permanent Fund will be accepting nominations for high-quality center-based programs in Vermont.

An award selection committee comprised of leaders in early education and child development will review award applications and choose the two finalists. Committee members include:

  • Geralyn Barrows (2015 Early Educator of the Year);
  • Laurel Bongiorno (Champlain College);
  • Kim Buxton (VAEYC);
  • Mitch Golub (Vermont Achievement Center);
  • Chloe Learey (Winston Prouty Center);
  • Reeva Murphy (Child Development Division);
  • Sheila Queenneville (Vermont Child Care Providers Association);
  • Betsy Rathbun-Gunn (Building Bright Futures); and
  • Stacy Weinberger (Board of Education).

To be eligible for this year’s award, a child care professional must have worked at a center that has at least four stars in the Vermont STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS), the state’s voluntary recognition and improvement system for early care and learning programs. Nominees must also have been providing care for at least three years, and working with children age birth to 5.

Past honorees include:

2017 Winner:

Cheryl “Cookie” Danyow

Mountain Road Preschool

2016 Winner:

Jackie Reno

Janet S. Munt Family Room

2015 Winner:

Geralyn (Gerri) Barrows

Discovery Hill Family Child Care and Preschool

2017 Finalist:

Ellen Kraft

Honeycomb Kids

2016 Finalist:

Kathi Apgar

The Y Early Childhood Program for UVM Medical Center

2015 Finalist:

Elsa Bosma

Puddle Jumpers


Vermont Birth to Five is working to create 500 new high-quality child care slots across the state every year from 2018–2025. Grant-making for program start-up and expansion is one pillar of this work.

Make Way for Kids

To ensure that high-quality programs can thrive and more families can access them, VB5 is offering short-term financial support and technical assistance that supports local expansion, quality improvement, or program start-up.

Who can apply:

  • Organizations, schools or agencies that currently operate or plan to operate a licensed child care/early education program.
  • Currently registered family child care programs planning to expand to a licensed program.
  • Individuals planning to open a registered family child care.
  • Organizations, schools or agencies with projects or programs that will increase the capacity of high-quality child care/early education for children ages birth through five years.

The total grant pool is $300,000 and VB5 expects to fund six to ten projects of a variety of sizes. Funding at higher levels may be considered for exceptional project proposals as identified during the consultation process between VB5 and the prospective applicant.

Learn more about Make Way for Kids here.

Burlington Early Learning Initiative

In 2018, the City of Burlington launched its Early Learning Initiative (ELI) with the short-term goal of expanding the number of high-quality child care opportunities available in Burlington for children ages birth to three, and the long-term goal of ensuring that all Burlington children have the opportunity to succeed regardless of family income level.

To achieve the short-term goal, the City of Burlington is offering grants to increase the availability of high-quality child care for infants and toddlers through expanding or increasing the quality of existing child care or starting new high-quality child care programs. VB5 is overseeing and administering the grant program on behalf of the City of Burlington, with guidance from an advisory committee.

Who can apply:

  • Organizations or agencies that currently operate or plan to operate a licensed child care program within the city of Burlington
  • Currently registered family child care programs planning to expand to a licensed program within the city of Burlington
  • Individuals planning to open a registered family child care home in the city of Burlington

Learn more about the Burlington Early Learning Initiative here.

Pin It on Pinterest