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MONTPELIER — The Vermont Center for Independent Living announced this week that the organization has been selected by voters as the recipient of first place in the 2018 Vermont Red Sox Foundation Impact Awards.

The award comes with a $10,000 prize, which will be presented to a delegation from VCIL at Fenway Park prior to Monday's game between the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers. The four staff members from VCIL will watch the game and will be interviewed in the NESN broadcast booth.

"We're still kind of in shock," said VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville. "It's super exciting." She said that a particular use for the funds hasn't been identified yet, but it will be determined when the organization finalizes its budget over the next month.

The Red Sox Foundation introduced the Impact awards in 2015, giving prizes to the top three non-profits in each of the five New England states outside of Massachusetts, based on online voting. The voting for Vermont closed on July 1.

"When they called to let us know about this, I instantly teared up," said Launderville. "And then to find out it was our members and people throughout Vermont that made this happen, it really warms your heart."

The Red Sox Foundation has not yet officially announced the winners, and did not respond to a request for the names of the second- and third-place winners. The foundation awards $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place. In total, fifteen organizations will share a contribution of $75,000.

"The Impact Awards provide fans in the surrounding New England states with the opportunity to support their favorite non-profits in their home states by casting their vote to help decide which organizations will win one of the available awards," according to the Red Sox Foundation.

In 2017, the first-place award for Vermont went to Central Vermont Humane Society, second place went to Hunger Free Vermont, and third place went to Girls on the Run Vermont.

Founded in 1979, the Vermont Center for Independent Living is "a nonprofit organization directed and staffed by individuals with disabilities, works to promote the dignity, independence and civil rights of Vermonters with disabilities. Like other independent living centers across the country, VCIL is committed to cross-disability services, the promotion of active citizenship and working with others to create services that support self-determination and full participation in community life," according to the organization's website, www.vcil.org.

In Bennington, VCIL is one of the sponsors of Meals on Wheels of Bennington County, and also sponsors Yoga for Every Body with Jane Schaeffer from The Yoga Place at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, as well as hosting other classes and workshops.

The Red Sox Foundation, the official team charity of the Red Sox, was founded in 2002 by Red Sox principal owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, President and CEO Emeritus Larry Lucchino, and their partners. "Our primary focus is in serving the education, recreation and health needs of children and families in need across New England. Our goal is to harness the passion our fans have for the Red Sox and transform into a vehicle for positive change in our community," reads the "About Us" section of the organization's website, www.redsoxfoundation.org.

Derek Carson can be reached at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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