2017 Youth Film Contest

The 2017/2018 Vermont Freedom & Unity Youth Film Contest was an enormous success! The contest "invites young Vermonters to create films that explore the life and culture of the Green Mountain State, both past and present." The Jamie Kanzler Experimental Film Award was given to How I Became Me: My Story by Lia Callahan.  Click here for the complete list of winning films and filmmakers as well as links to see the films on the Freedom & Unity YouTube channel. The Experimental Film award was sponsored by the Jamie Kanzler fund in memory of his love and talent for experimental film. 

In 2018, we were so pleased to give two Jamie Kanzler Independent Film Awards- one to Aleksander Cheraskov  for his film "Cool Sugar" and the other to Tyler DeForge  for his film "Abandonment " . Aleksander's film is full of nuance, humor and originality. Tyler's film is courageous and honest.

Moments from 2016!

2016 was full of growth, personal challenge, new beginnings, continued support and love. Here are a few memorable snapshots from Vermont and New Orleans that highlight some incredible accomplishments and inspiring moments.

Visit to the Vermont Food Bank

As we opened the doors to the Vermont Food Bank last week, it seemed  too perfect that not only were we greeted by familiar faces, but there were volunteers covered in paper mache getting ready for the 21st annual Mardi Gras parade in Burlington. There was so much Vermont and New Orleans connectivity, that we knew we had chosen the right time to come for a tour and learn more about the process of their food distribution and new initiatives.

We  were happily overwhelmed by the  organization and reach of the Food Bank. We were impressed by the new programs that increase distribution of vegetables and nutritious food, and their new methods of providing access to food insecure families and children. We walked back out into the sun more inspired to help minimize hunger in Vermont and know that the support that has been given or will be given in Jamie's name is making a difference for many families.

We even got a peak of the "four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie" that we are sure looked delicious when it was finished!!!!

The Latest from Alvar Public Library

Here are some photos from fun events at the Alvar Public Library in New Orleans this last year.


November 7th, 2015 will mark the 75th anniversary of the Alvar Public Library. Celebrations will take place at the Library that evening with poetry readings and lawn games.

We're always proud and happy to support the library. Get out there and read a book!

Jamie and the Bean Stalk

The plants at Jamie's Memorial Garden are taller than ever thanks to all of the rain! If April showers bring may flowers, soon the whole garden will be in bloom. Soon, the garden will also be getting new milkweed seeds in order to hopefully draw some butterflies! Stay tuned for more updates!

A Pleasant Reminder

Jamie's garden sits in a well-lit corner of the land surrounding the Alvar Public Library. When they have programs outside, Jamie's garden serves as a pleasant addition to their games, little festivals, and other outdoor fun. Here are some new and old pictures of the garden, a reminder of its purpose -- to support the New Orleans community and library patrons in a meaningful and memorable way.   

New Growth

Spring is in full swing down in New Orleans! Thanks to the dedicated gardeners at the Alvar Public Library, the seeds in Jamie's Garden have continued to grow into healthy little seedlings. Here are some beautiful pictures of the garden from the library staff! 


Jamie's sprouts

Planting has begun in New Orleans, which is hard to imagine from our snow covered New England landscape. We hear that the cucumbers are doing particularly well. This beautiful vegetable and flower garden in memory of Jamie is an amazing space to find peace, inspiration, and excitement. We look forward to updates as the garden grows. 

Putney Post Piece

Recently we received in the mail the Fall 2014 Putney Post which is the publication the Putney School puts out twice a year. In it is an incredible piece in honor of Jamie written by his dear friend and classmate David Cook as well as a poem written by Jamie. Thank you David for your moving words. 

June Update

A Little About Us

Jamie was always trying to find ways to help others. 

This fund supports a variety of projects that Jamie cared about, in ways that remember his distinct style and colorful sense of humor. We are directly donating to the Alvar Public Library, Jamie's Bookplate Project, and facilitating partnerships with the Vermont and New Orleans Food Banks. 

Keep checking back here for updates on how all this is going.


Here's what we've done so far:

  • Catalogued many of Jamie's books.
  • Given a beautiful library couch to Alvar Public Library in New Orleans, projector, screen for community events, and lots of books that Jamie loves. Also, outdoor furniture—chairs and an umbrella to the garden outside the library.
  • Ongoing talks with CLiF, a children’s literacy foundation through which we are identifying a town in Vermont where we will support their library.
  • Vermont food bank, New Orleans food bank—donating money for different food initiatives.
  • And our dream — The Ham Boy Express — a refrigerated truck that will transport food to hungry people in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.