MaineCF Grant & News Highlights

View Community Conversation Events and Summaries

MaineCF In Action

From Berwick to Caribou, nonprofits and programs across Maine are tackling new initiatives funded through MaineCF’s largest grantmaking program.

The foundation’s Community Building Grant Program awarded 221 grants this spring that totaled $1.3 million. The proposals are reviewed by MaineCF’s county and regional committees and a statewide committee that make awards of from $500 to $10,000.

The annual grants support a wide range of educational and cultural programs, including many that directly benefit children, older residents, and new Mainers. This summer, several grant-funded projects also will address food insecurity and help develop new food markets:

For more information on the Community Building Grant program, contact Lelia DeAndrade, senior director of grantmaking services.

Photo: Wes Norton of the Edible Island Culinary and Ecological Center and a volunteer driver for the Magic Food Bus (in red shirt), organized a float for the 2012 Deer Isle Fourth of July parade. Costumed characters handed out carrots and peas to folks along their route. Photo courtesy Healthy Peninsula

Freeport Community Services:
Connecting Neighbors, Enriching Lives

Freeport Community Services is community-run and community-based—in fact, community is its middle name. The organization, which celebrated its 40th year in 2014, provides direct services to residents of Freeport and Pownal. A 10-member staff and 15-member voluntary board, aided by more than 600 volunteers, oversee a range of activities, including a food pantry, emergency assistance, thrift shop, and camp scholarship program.

“Our mission of enriching lives, connecting neighbors, and helping those in need speaks to the very best of what our communities represent,” says Melanie Sachs, who became executive director in 2013. FCS’s first executive director, Betsy Ruff, when asked about the future of the center, echoed Sachs: “We need to make sure that everyone knows each other’s name, to keep true to our motto of neighbors helping neighbors.”

In 2013 Freeport Community Services moved its endowment to the Maine Community Foundation for investment management and stewardship. MaineCF now manages agency nonprofit funds for more than 225 organizations across the state.

Photo: Courtesy Freeport Community Services

Addressing the Overdose Epidemic

A headline in the Portland Press Herald  tells the story: Drug overdose deaths surge by ‘shocking’ 31 percent in Maine.

The statistics are heartbreaking – 272 people in Maine died of drug overdoses last year. And in a state as small as ours, the tragedies often hit close to home. Attorney General Janet Mills put the numbers in perspective: “Maine averaged more than five drug deaths per week. That is five families every week losing a loved one to drugs.”

The Maine Community Foundation is supporting efforts to inform the public about opioid abuse and listen to concerns through community forums presented by the Maine Opiate Collaborative. The task force was established last fall by Mills, U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty, and John Morris, Maine Commissioner of Public Safety.

“The Maine Community Foundation is committed to helping stop this epidemic that is devastating to our people, our communities, and our economy,” said Steve Rowe, MaineCF president and CEO.

Chief Justice Leigh Saufley focused half of her State of the Judiciary address on the topic of addiction and called for more treatment housing, testing, and case management resources.

“The wave of drug addictions,” said Saufley, “is eating at the heart of our beautiful state.”

Photo: Portland paramedics respond to a call of a heroin overdose in Portland. The 29-year-old woman was found unconscious by a passerby after she had injected herself with a quarter gram of heroin. Photo by Derek Davis, courtesy Portland Press Herald

Read more stories about MaineCF's statewide impact and grants at work


MaineCF in the News

A Robot for Abby: Susan Kimball of the Portland Press Herald reports on a grant from the Perloff Family Fund of the Maine Community Foundation that allows a teen with Lyme disease to attend school from home. View the video broadcast on WCSH6-TV.

An Idea Blossoms: Seed funding from MaineCF’s impact investing program will allow the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay to construct a greenhouse and create a marine research facility to explore new commercial algal-based products.

Restoring an Old Beauty
: The 1889 Queen Anne-style Skowhegan Free Public Library joins the high-speed world with support from MaineCF and many other donors.

Addressing an Epidemic
: A series of forums presented by the Maine Opiate Collaborative and supported by MaineCF are addressing the statewide opioid epidemic. In Portland and elsewhere, personal stories show the devastating impact on Maine. MaineCF is supporting the series.

Worth Preserving: With grant support from MaineCF’s Belvedere Historic Preservation Grant Program, the majestic Columbia Falls Union Hall has been restored as a hub for the community.

Preserving History: Grants from MaineCF’s Belvedere Historic Preservation Fund and the Broad Reach Fund helped the Waponahki Museum restore plaster mannequins that depict centuries of Passamaquoddy life. The mannequins, created in the 1960s, were modeled after members of the Pleasant Point community.

Working Out: A former school in Orland has become a bustling business center that includes a community fitness center supported by a grant from the Hancock County Fund.

Help for New Residents: A Portland Adult Education class supported by a grant from the Edward H. Daveis Benevolent Fund, helps residents from other countries communicate better through accent-reduction classes.   

Great Girls: A program in Wilton supported by the Western Mountains Fund, gives girls a chance to shine: “It is amazing when a parent tells you her daughter ‘found her voice’ in Fit Girls,” the story reports.

They’re Cookin’: Creative Work Systems (CWS) in Saco has upgraded its industrial kitchen with grant support from the York County Fund. The kitchen is home to Culinary Works, a program that prepares meals for CWS residences and teaches participants basic kitchen skills.

Making Headway: Residents of Lubec, Milbridge, and Eastport have chosen projects through Making Headway in Your Community, a joint community development program organized by GrowSmart Maine and the Maine Downtown Center at the Maine Development Foundation. The projects will be funded by MaineCF and the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation.