Burlington Community Fund


Mission and History

The Burlington Community Fund at Main Street Community Foundation is an endowed fund supporting charitable projects and programs that will enhance the quality of life for Burlington residents. The community endowment was established in 2011, when a group of committed community leaders in Burlington came together to provide a permanent source of funding for their town. The Fund was originally called the Burlington Bell Community Fund, paying homage to a bell in town; the bell, donated to the citizens of Burlington by Bob Merriman, still stands as a symbol for the fund, calling the community to action to help those in need.

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The Inspiration

The Burlington Bell is a symbol not only of the Burlington Community Fund, but also its founder, the late Bob Merriman. The bell was cast in bronze in Cincinnati in 1885. Once used on a Louisiana rice and sugarcane plantation, the bell was sitting on the front porch of a sharecropper’s cabin when Bob bought it for $300 in 1941, he brought it home after the war. His father mounted it on the roof of their 1812 home at the top of Black Walnut Lane in Burlington. It was with the Merriman family for 70 years and now resides in a display case at Town Hall.

We celebrate Bob's life not simply because he was a long-time resident, but because of his commitment to public giving and our community.
Bob established the Merriman Tree Farm in Burlington in 1950. ​
He founded the Development Office of St. Joseph College in 1967.​
He founded the Coordinating Council for Foundations in Hartford in 1969; now it is known as the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy.​
He was one of the original founders of the Main Street Community Foundation in 1995.
He was one of the original founders of The Friends of Sessions Woods in 1997.​
He had had a long tenure on the Friends of the Burlington Public Library board and was instrumental in helping the Burlington Land Trust with grants.

He is also the founder and inspiration behind the Burlington Community Fund.
The Burlington Community Fund is the legacy of a man who devoted much of his time and energy to the Burlington community. It is our hope this fund captures the essence of that energy and continues to inspire the citizens of our community to carry on his work. You may not have known Bob Merriman, but you surely have been touched by his life.

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Grant Distribution

Since 2011, the Burlington Community Fund has awarded over $45,000 in grants to support organizations and individuals in Burlington.

An application cycle for grants distributed from the Burlington Community Fund will no longer be conducted in the fall. If you have a program/project that benefits residents of Burlington for which you are seeking grant funding, please apply in the General Grant Cycle during the first quarter of each year. Click here for more information.

Click here to see the 2023 grants.

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Main Street Community Foundation appoints a Distribution Committee for the Burlington Community Fund comprised of local residents to review grant applications and make funding recommendations on an annual basis. Distribution Committee members represent many industries and sectors and have different life experiences that they bring to the Committee. We welcome you to bring your ideas, talents, community spirit, and your dedication to your town to improve the lives of other residents. We encourage you to make a connection with Main Street Community Foundation to learn more about volunteering. Contact the Foundation at 860.583.6363 or send an email to office@mainstreetfoundation.org. We'll make sure you get the information you need and the welcome you deserve.

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Contributing to the Burlington Community Fund

To make a donation directly to the Burlington Community Fund, please click here.
To contribute to any other funds, please visit our Donate Now page.

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Burlington Community Fund Grants

Since 2011, Burlington Community Fund has awarded over $50,000 in grants to improve the lives of Burlington residents. Grants made in 2023 totaled $4,590 and supported the following organizations and programs:

Burlington Connecticut Lions Club- $1,340
Interior renovation and security upgrades of the Burlington Lions Club barn to protect equipment and supplies needed for fundraising activities

Burlington Historical Society - $1,500
Support for senior citizen transportation at Tavern Day community event

Imagine Nation, A Museum Early Learning Center - $1,750
Imagine Nation Loves Burlington program providing S.T.E.A.M. educational workshops and family engagement activities for Burlington children, ages 2-11

To view previous years' grants awarded from the Burlington Community Fund, visit the Foundation's Grants Awarded page and click on the various years.

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