The Vermont Arts Council strives to ensure that its facility, events, services, and communications are equally accessible to all. Our policy is that no qualified individual shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of the organization, or be subjected to discrimination.
Accommodation for Council Grant Applicants
We welcome and encourage constituents and visitors with disabilities to contact us with requests for specific reasonable accommodations such as alternative formats and auxiliary aids and services. We will make every effort to honor requests made at least three weeks before any Council grant deadline.
Other Accessibility Resources
Grantee Compliance Procedures
Accessibility is considered in the panel’s review of every grant application. Poor responses or a lack of response to questions about accessibility are reflected in lower panel scores which ultimately affect the funding recommendations. The final reporting process incorporates questions about accessibility as well.
On a case-by-case basis, the Council may determine that an applicant is ineligible for funding or determine that a consultation or site visit is necessary to help ensure grantee compliance. The Council will take these steps to determine and prioritize the need for actions:
- The Council staff, in consultation with the 504/ADA coordinator and/or an accessibility consultant as necessary, will review applicant responses to the access questions within grant applications. In addition, panelists involved in the grant review will be asked to identify any applicants they may have concerns about.
- If an applicant has been recommended for funding and their application has been identified, the 504/ADA coordinator (or other staff as appropriate) and/or an accessibility consultant will have a phone conversation with the grantee asking any questions that may have come up in the application process prior to releasing any funds.
- If it is determined that a site visit is necessary, the 504/ADA coordinator and an accessibility consultant will go to the venue. Their intent will be to disseminate information and to provide the tools and information necessary to address access concerns.
- Grantees that have received a site visit will be asked to address the concerns and submit an implementation plan with the final report (in the first year if a multi-year grant) for their grant. The 504/ADA consultant and/or an accessibility consultant will review the responses in the final report and follow up with a phone call or email if questions still arise.
- The Council will then ask appropriate members of its Accessibility Resource Network (and other knowledgeable accessibility service/advocacy organizations representatives if necessary) to review the plan/documents and make a recommendation to the Arts Council board as to whether future applications/funding should be restricted, rescinded, redirected or denied. It is not the Council’s intent to withhold funding indefinitely, but only until such time as concerns have been adequately addressed. Decisions of the board are binding and final.
Accessibility Grievance Procedure
This process is for programs or services that are not provided by, but are funded by, the Vermont Arts Council.
The concerned party should first communicate the grievance to the funded organization. If you think your grievance was not handled appropriately by the organization, or if you have not received a response from them within thirty days, contact the Vermont Arts Council ADA Coordinator.
A grievance against a grant recipient within the Council’s current fiscal year will be reviewed in consultation with appropriate members of the Council’s Accessibility Resource Network and other knowledgeable accessibility service/advocacy organizations, such as the New England ADA Center. (Note: A complainant that has a grievance against an organization that is not a current grant recipient will be asked to contact the Vermont Human Rights Commission.)
The grievance procedure for current grant recipients is as follows:
- The 504/ADA coordinator and/or the executive director will meet with the complainant on an informal basis to determine the nature of the concern, to discuss the situation, and answer any questions raised by the complainant. The complainant may designate another person to act in their stead and other Accessibility Resource Network members may join this meeting should they have pertinent information that will help to resolve the matter. Once information is gathered, the 504/ADA coordinator and/or executive director will discuss the complaint with the grantee.
- The Council will then ask appropriate members of its Accessibility Resource Network (and other knowledgeable accessibility service/advocacy organizations representatives if necessary) to review and discuss the grievance and make a recommendation to the Arts Council board. If it is determined that a violation of the 504/ADA has occurred, the Council will then put a hold on any grant funds. If necessary, the Council will also negate the grant and recover any funds that have been dispersed in the last year. Decisions of the Board are binding and final.
- If an immediate action is not identified and/or the complainant wishes to lodge a formal complaint, the patron should contact the Vermont Human Rights Commission or the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Vermont Human Rights Commission
14-16 Baldwin Street
Montpelier, VT 05633-6301
TTY 711 or 800.253.0191
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Post Office Box 570
11 Elmwood Avenue, 3rd Floor
Burlington, VT 05402-0570
TTY/TTD: 711 or 802.652.1140