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12 October 2021

Tom Sustic Fund

Established to help support families with children in life-altering circumstances and hospice. The fund was established from money raised for a bone marrow transplant for Tom, and was repurposed after his death in 2001 to help other families in similar circumstances. Housed and managed administratively at Vermont Family Network (VFN), funds are available for families who are referred from the Pediatric Oncology Social Workers at Vermont Children’s Hospital at UVM Medical Center in Burlington and Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.  

The process includes the following:

  • Eligible families include those associated with services from either hospital (UVMMC or DHMC). UVM provides for children coming from NY and NH as well as VT. Dartmouth Hitchcock refers only Vermont families.
  • Julia Conner, LICSW (Vermont Children’s Hospital) or Maddie Ritter, MSW, LICSW (Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center) e-mails VFN staff regarding a family’s need, and includes a recommendation for the amount of the grant (typically in the $200-$500 range). 
  • VFN processes the check which is sent out with a letter to the family. Included in the envelope is a brochure including the history and purpose of the Fund, information about Tom, and information about Young Tradition Vermont (YTV).  Also included  is information about other programs at VFN. 
  • Families who are referred are added to a VFN database, but VFN does not contact the family unless they make a request. They receive VFN e-newsletters, and the letter sent with the check offers ‘any other way we can help,’ along with a phone number and e-mail address. 
  • The role of the Social Workers is to advise families about financial resources and to understand family needs. They have the information about what is needed and when. Neither YTV or VFN receive direct requests from families.  Mark Sustic is available to answer questions and explain the history and intent of the Fund at
  • An annual Tom Sustic Fund Advisory Board meeting is organized by Julia Conner in the fall. VFN is responsible for a fiscal year summary and financial record. The expressed need is recorded to note and report on trends, but names of families and patients are not reported.