The McClure family is well known to those of us who live in the Burlington area. You can see examples of their generosity sprinkled about town in support of causes that support children and seniors, improved health, the natural environment, learning and a whole host of services that enrich our community. The Champlain Housing Trust’s work in affordable housing, as well as our efforts to ensure that vital community services have a home, has been buoyed by Lois and the McClure family over the years.
In the 1990s, five nonprofits came together to collectively raise money to create our own homes. This resulted in the acquisition and rehab of three buildings in Burlington: The Vermont Legal Aid and Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf buildings on North Winooski Avenue, and a building at 179 South Winooski Avenue that originally housed COTS, the Chittenden County Court Diversion Program, and Burlington Community Land Trust – now CHT. The McClures made a $1 million gift to that campaign, and their generosity was recognized at 179 South Winooski as the “J. Warren and Lois H. McClure Community Resource Center.”
That building served the nonprofits for many years – and launched these groups into bigger accomplishments and new homes. CHT retains ownership of the building, but it has been leased the Turning Point Center and is used as a seasonal warming shelter and other nonprofit space. Our hope is to, at some point in the near future, relinquish ownership of the building to them. But we didn’t want to leave behind our connection to the McClures.
Beyond the $1 million gift Lois and Mac made for those buildings, Lois and her family’s generosity to CHT over the years has literally helped thousands of people access affordable housing. A second $1 million gift initiated an endowment that will support our work for generations to come. When we approached her and her daughter Barbara to ask their permission to dedicate our headquarters in recognition of all that this giving has accomplished, there was no hesitation – “Of course,” they said.
But – and there was a “but” – they had one request. They wanted to highlight that giving is just one component of success, and that strong relationships, innovative organizations and inspirational leaders also count. That’s why they insisted that the building not just bear the McClure name, but also that of Lois’ longtime friend, CHT’s Brenda Torpy.
We’ve dedicated the headquarters the “McClure Torpy Building” to honor this friendship and partnership, one which has given hope and opportunity to so many in the community. Our deepest thanks and admiration to Lois, her daughter Barbara and son Jim, and the rest of the McClure family.