Victoria Buffum Fund Enables Single Mothers Access to Education

The Courtney and Victoria Buffum Family Foundation has awarded Champlain College $1M to support single mothers in coordination with Champlain’s Single Parents Program.

Since 1987, the Single Parent’s Program has helped low-income single mothers and parents achieve their dreams through post-secondary education. One of Champlain’s longest-standing scholarship programs, and one of only ten such programs across the country, the Single Parent’s Program has provided life-changing support and advocacy for more than 680 scholars. 

“The Courtney and Victoria Buffum Family Foundation are thrilled to partner with Champlain College to provide single mothers with an opportunity to get support to improve their lives and for their families,” says Tom Gauntlett, president of the foundation. “Vicki Buffum was a single mother and small business owner and understood the challenges of both. Champlain College offers a wonderful environment for single mothers to thrive. Our Foundation board is proud of this impactful gift, and most importantly, Vicki would be delighted to see it happen.”

When asked about how the program has impacted her, Dakota Siple, a recent graduate in the Early Childhood Education degree program said, “It meant a better future for my kiddos and a life that I wouldn’t have otherwise had for them without the help of the Single Parent’s Program.”

Dakota Siple ’22 walked the stage with her daughter during Champlain College’s May 2022 Commencement ceremony. Photo by Logan Potvin ’19.

The Single Parent’s Program includes both scholarship support and case management services such as assistance finding childcare, housing, food, and other needs, and emergency/rainy day funds provided by Champlain donors to assist with unexpected expenses that might otherwise prevent students from staying in school and completing their degrees. In addition, Champlain’s signature “Upside-Down Curriculum” places students in career-focused courses from day one, inviting opportunities for career-advancing internships and meaningful work experience that is particularly attractive to Single Parent scholars who graduate ready for work and ready to make a difference.

“The Single Parent’s Program has allowed me the opportunity to not only achieve my goal of getting a degree, but lets me do it without the added stress of also working as a solo parent. The program has helped me in ways I could have never imagined. I am so grateful,” says Caitlin Brower, a current student pursuing a Social Work degree.

“Champlain’s Single Parent’s Program is built around more than just financial support,” says Sarah Boston Andriano, the Vice President for Advancement and Community Engagement. “We help to manage whatever challenges or obstacles are between single parents and their degrees by ensuring they have all the tools and resources they need to succeed. As a part of our Single Parent’s Program, The Victoria Buffum Fund will have a significant impact in creating educational opportunities and economic mobility for single mothers and their families.”

Champlain is extremely grateful to the Foundation for this gift, which will support and impact not only our students but also their families through a permanent scholarship fund.

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