Not all people in Maine grow up and live in safe and welcoming communities that provide opportunities for them to reach their full potential and enjoy a high quality of life. For example, many people, including children and seniors, struggle with the effects of poverty. Others struggle with the stressors of abuse and neglect. Still others are confronted with institutional and systemic racism. These barriers often limit access to quality health, education, employment, and other opportunities. They negatively impact people’s lives as well as our state’s economy.
It is essential that everyone in Maine has access to opportunities to achieve their full human potential and realize a high quality of life. Every person in every community must be able to accumulate a strong supply of human capital – the education, knowledge, experience and creativity needed to succeed. To that end, the Maine Community Foundation will work with its partners over the next five years and intensify its commitment to five priority goals
. Our mission: to help ensure more welcoming communities with healthier, better educated and happier people, a more productive workforce, and a more vibrant and inclusive economy.
A Strong Start
All Maine children receive a healthy start and arrive at kindergarten developmentally prepared to succeed in school and life.
A child’s earliest experiences shape the circuitry of the developing brain. When children lack consistent access to proper nutrition, stable housing, and a healthy developmental start, or they experience repeated trauma, their ability to reach their full potential is diminished. In 2013, 21% of Maine children under age five lived in poverty. Between 2011 and 2013, 58% of three- and four-year-olds did not attend preschool. In 2015, 77% of fourth-graders eligible for free and reduced lunch were not proficient in reading. We must provide children the solid foundation they require to succeed in life.
For more information, please contact Stephanie Eglinton, senior program officer.
Access to Education
All Maine people, including adult learners and other nontraditional students, are able to complete a degree or certificate program to maximize their potential.
A large percentage of Maine adults lack the requisite education and advanced training for high-skilled jobs. More than 200,000 Maine adults have some college education, but did not complete a degree because of the cost of higher education, family and financial responsibilities, and/or the lack of support. Low degree attainment in the state is hampering Maine's economy as a whole as well as keeping families in poverty. We must remove the barriers to post high-school education and advanced training so adults can acquire the qualifications they need to support their families and contribute to Maine’s economy.
For more information, please contact Cherie Galyean, director of educational initiatives.
All people of color in Maine have access to opportunities and life outcomes that are not limited in any way by race or ethnicity.
Maine has long been home to people of color, including Native American, Asian, African, and Hispanic. Maine also has a history of drawing immigrants and refugees from around the world. Today, more than 85,000 people of color live in Maine and contribute to its economy and communities. The quality of life for people of color in Maine is complicated by patterns of racism that limit their access to opportunities and resources. These patterns negatively impact their lives, especially in areas of health, safety, education, and employment. Maine must address the barriers people of color face and increase their ability to engage in our communities and the economy.
For more information, please contact Lelia DeAndrade, senior director, grantmaking services.
Thriving Older Adults
All older adults in Maine, especially those who are vulnerable, are valued and able to thrive and age in their communities with health, independence, and dignity.
Maine’s population has the oldest median age in the nation. In 2015, 19% of Mainers were age 65 and older; by 2030, 28% will be 65 and over, compared to only 20% nationwide. Older adults represent an untapped resource for our economy and our communities. Many older Mainers choose to remain in the workforce, own or start businesses, or take part in important community and civic engagements. Enacting policies that support well-being as we all age and finding creative ways to maximize and unleash the talent, resources, and energy of people aging in Maine will help support a healthy economy and strong communities.
What's working to help older people in rural areas? A Grantmakers in Aging report shares success stories.
For more information, please contact Laura Lee, program officer.
Entrepreneurial innovation is broadly promoted and practiced in Maine, particularly in natural resource-based activities.
Maine has transitioned from an economy supported primarily by large employers to one driven by new and high-growth enterprises, science, and technologically driven advances. Innovative approaches also have maximized the potential of Maine’s traditional industries, including farming, fishing, and forestry. Entrepreneurs and innovators are increasingly embarking on new ventures. However, many need support to turn their innovative ideas into marketable products and services. That support is more accessible in some areas of Maine than in others. Technology, particularly broadband access, is unavailable for many in rural areas. Additional support to capitalize on entrepreneurial endeavors will attract and retain people in Maine and help the economy grow and thrive.
For more information, please contact Cathy Melio, senior program officer.
Please view or download this brochure
for more information about how you
can partner with the Maine Community
Foundation to support these goals.