Community Foundation Grants at Work

Welch Charitable Fund - Paving a Road Home for Doctors


Maine needs more doctors – and the need will only increase as Baby Boomers edge toward retirement in the nation’s oldest state: The U.S. Census Bureau estimates one in four Mainers will be older than 60 by 2030.

Maine Medical Center
, Tufts University, and the Welch Charitable Fund of the Maine Community Foundation are addressing the shortage through a program that connects future physicians with Maine communities. Students in the Maine Track MD Program spend most of their first two years taking classes at Tufts and their final two years in Maine, many in rural areas that have the greatest need for more doctors.

Two 2014 Maine Track graduates plan to land in Maine when they finish their residencies. Caitlin Hynes of Owls Head and Jasmine Hanifi of Falmouth received financial support for medical school as Welch Scholars. Hynes is a resident in emergency medicine at Maine Medical Center, and Hanifi is a resident in internal medicine at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Established in 1983 as a family foundation, the Welch Charitable Fund moved in 2010 to the Maine Community Foundation. During their lifetimes, “Vinny” Welch and his wife, “Bobbe,” were committed to many educational, social service, arts, and health institutions.

Their scholarships made all the difference for the two Maine women. “Many of my friends are considering finding jobs around the country that will pay off their debt,” said Hynes, “but I can focus on my true dream of becoming a small town emergency room doctor.” Added Hanifi:  “Words cannot express how much your gift means to me.”

Photo: Sally Vamvakias (left) joins Jasmine Hanifi at the Maine Track Program celebration for 2014 graduates. Vamvakias is president of the Welch Charitable Fund and former chair of the MaineCF Board of Directors. Photo Maine Medical Center


Tour Through Time

Founded in 1928, the Wilson Museum in Castine uses its diverse collections and learning experiences to stimulate exploration of the natural history and cultures of the Penobscot Bay region and the world. Highlights of the collection include six dioramas constructed by Ned Burns of the American Museum of Natural History in 1926; ship models; and a reconstructed 1805 kitchen.

This summer’s special exhibition is “Salvaging the Past: 1779 and the Privateer Defence,” which features artifacts from underwater excavation on loan from the Maine State Museum. The museum offers an array of summer programming for all ages, including blacksmithing and wood-turning demonstrations.

The Wilson Museum is one of more than 180 nonprofits that have transferred their endowments to the community foundation for management. Museums, libraries, historical societies, and community centers are among the cultural institutions that partner with the foundation.

Learn more about our endowment management services on our website or by calling Liana Kingsbury, senior foundation officer, at 877-700-6800, ext. 2201.

Photo:  Children make ice cream as part of the Wilson Museum's educational program, “Cocoa Ice.” Photo courtesy Wilson Museum

Building Stronger Communities

What do building affordable tiny homes, quilting in rural Alabama, and sculpting stone have in common?

They’re all projects that received funding this year from the Maine Community Foundation. The foundation’s Community Building Grant Program recently awarded more than $800,000 in grants to 153 organizations across Maine.

The community foundation’s flagship grant program is designed to support activities that strengthen and build communities. It’s one of only a few Maine-based grant programs that serve the entire state and cover a broad array of interest areas, from animal welfare to youth development.

Grant applications are reviewed by county and regional committees that are composed of local leaders with local knowledge and a commitment to philanthropy. Grants range in size from $500 to $10,000.

The next deadline for submitting applications to the Community Building Grant Program is February 15, 2015. For more information about the program, contact Lelia DeAndrade, director of grantmaking services, at (207) 761-2440.

Victory on the Home Front

A Kennebunk museum is taking cues from the past to feed hungry Mainers and teach families about gardening and good nutrition.

The Brick Store Museum has planted a Victory Garden in its rear courtyard to grow vegetables for local food pantries and is giving visitors seeds to sow on their own. Families across the country planted Victory Gardens during World War II to ease food shortages and stretch ration tickets.

Plans for the new exhibit, “Vitamin V: “How Food Fought the Second World War,” began about a year ago as staff catalogued the museum’s war propaganda posters and realized the 1940s focus on nutrition and rationing was especially relevant today.

Volunteers from the Kennebunk Community Garden studied a 1943 pamphlet for home gardeners and helped museum staff choose and plant their crops. Last Friday, they delivered their first harvest of snap peas and New Zealand spinach to a local pantry.

A grant from the Maine Community Foundation’s Saxifrage Opportunity Grants Fund will support the museum’s education programs throughout the year. In addition to free admission for visitors who bring food donations for the Good Shepherd Food-Bank, the museum will host a pickling and drying workshop on July 8, a lecture about food on the home front on July 22, and a nutrition workshop on July 24.

Photo:  Leslie Lindgren, a Master Gardener volunteer from the Kennebunk Community Garden, works in the Brick Store Museum's Victory Garden with a young helper. Museum courtesy photo

We Like it Local

Where do you buy your food? If you’re like most Mainers, you do much of your shopping at chain grocery stores.

But given the choice, 80% of state residents in a new survey said they would purchase local food. Accoring to the report, more than half already buy Maine food at farm stands or farmers markets and nearly two-thirds said they buy locally to support our farmers, fishermen, and businesses.

Maine Food Strategy, a project funded in part by the Maine Community Foundation, surveyed 600 households to understand how Mainers view our food system. They discovered Maine’s food movement has room to grow.

More than a third of Maine people in the survey, recently featured on "Maine Calling," also said they grow or raise their own food. And the ENcore Leadership Corps, which works with MaineCF, is now training older adults to work in community gardens and help solve the state’s food insecurity problem.

Photo: Kelsey Herrington of Two Farmers Farm in Scarborough sells produce at Portland's Monument Square farmers market.

Grants to Green

Thanks to a $1.2 million grant from The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Maine nonprofits will have a chance to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in downtown areas across the state. The Maine Community Foundation will partner with the Maine Development Foundation, Efficiency Maine, and several other organizations to replicate the Grants to Green program.

The Maine Community Foundation is one of just two community foundations nationally chosen to replicate the program.


Supporting the Stage

While the Saco River Theatre in Bar Mills was built in 1897 as a Universalist chapel, it found new life as a silent movie house, Maine State Grange hall, and even a venue for lively auctions. For the past 24 years it has been the area’s cultural arts center, hosting concerts, theatrical productions, silent movies, and contra dances. Its resident acting company, The Originals, opened a new season April 25 with a production of “Marvin’s Room,” supported by the Maine Theater Fund. The fund also has provided grants for productions this season by the Freeport Community Players, Midcoast Actors’ Studio, and New Surry Repertory Theatre and Acting School.

Maine Policy Scholars 2014

Early intervention for drug-exposed newborns; efficacy of firearms in Protection from Abuse Orders in Maine; increasing use of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway; sustaining an Atlantic cod fishery; what Maine can do to help students apply to college—these are the topics researched by this year’s graduating class of Maine Policy Scholars. You can read their policy briefs and view photos of their graduation here—and meet  members of the 2014-2015 class.

At right, Maine Policy Scholars class of ’14: Angelina Jackman, University of Maine Presque Isle; Tyler Hadyniak, University of Maine Farmington; Nick Northcott, University of Southern Maine; Henry Norwood, University of Maine; Kale O’Leary, University of Maine Fort Kent. Photo Jeff Pouland

Machias, Creative Community

CCED: The letters stand for Creative Community = Economic Development, a program of the Maine Arts Commission. The community foundation’s Belvedere Fund for Downeast is supporting the commission’s CCED in Machias where the Beehive Collective is restoring three downtown buildings. The collective has been creating additional buzz with its recently completed illustrated map of Mesoamerica. Watch a video of the making of the map here.

Raise the Roof

Fifty volunteers choreographed by two talented carpenters raised the Roberts Farm Preserve warming hut timber frame in two hours. The hut serves at least 50 kids every weekday and families on weekends when they're skiing or snowshoeing. The Western Foothills Land Trust, which manages the 165-acre preserve, is in the final months of fundraising to meet the Ram Island Conservation Fund’s $25,000 endowment challenge grant administered by the community foundation. 

Photo Brenda Melhus, courtesy WFLT

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