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June 12, 2024 Town of Brattleboro 2.5 Min Read

Withington Fund Surpasses $1 Million in Giving

The Vermont Community Foundation is pleased to announce that the Withington Fund has given more than $1 million to recreation and projects that benefit the public in Brattleboro, a milestone reached this year as the fund celebrates its 20th birthday.  

A permanent resource managed by the Vermont Community Foundation, the fund has distributed more than 30 grants to support the development and refurbishment of parks, trails, and public amenities ranging from basketball courts and playgrounds to a popular skate park and disc golf course. Brattleboro business leader and recreation enthusiast Nelson Withington decided to create the fund at the Vermont Community Foundation before his death at the age of 97 in 2002, so as to keep giving to the town he loved. The donor advised fund, also known as a giving account, opened in 2004. 

The Withington Fund has done enormous good in Brattleboro and helped push many recreation projects to the finish line, said Carol Lolatte, Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Director. “He would be very proud to know that his money is still making Brattleboro a better place.”

The impact of the fund is visible all over town–when children jump in the public pool, ride the T-bar up the town ski hill, or when adults play pickleball, test their throws at the town disc golf course, or participate in plein-air painting sessions at Living Memorial Park. Taxpayers and civic groups have generously supported public recreation in Brattleboro; grants from the Withington Fund have provided lead funding for land and facility creation, inspired matching grants, and served as a consistent, steady resource to the community. This includes expanding access to culturally significant land and the outdoors through recent support for land purchases by the Elnu Abenaki tribe Atowi project and Out in the Open.

This collaborative approach has helped the town of 12,000 to maintain and grow an impressive array of public amenities that draw people from around the region. The town’s Nelson Withington Skating Facility is among popular destinations and was one of many projects Withington supported during his lifetime, with support continuing through his namesake fund. Withington, a college athlete who joined the Brattleboro Outing Club board of directors in 1946, believed strongly in public recreational facilities that improve health and build community at the same time.

“Nelson Withington was visionary in seeing that a fund focused on recreation and parks for the Brattleboro community could enhance the quality of life and physical health of children, youth, and adults. He believed in the value of organized sports and informal recreation to build community spirit and teamwork,” said Elisabeth Marx, a senior philanthropic advisor at the Vermont Community Foundation who staffs the Withington fund in partnership with a local advisory committee and the Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department.

“This fund demonstrates how people who love Vermont and their communities can use place-based and issue-driven funds to contribute in lasting ways to every corner of the state by working with the Vermont Community Foundation,” added Marx.

Visit to learn more about Nelson Withington and the fund he created at the Vermont Community Foundation.