GrowSmart Maine, the Yarmouth nonprofit that earlier this month lost its president amid a funding crisis, has appointed new leadership and announced plans to move to Portland.
The organization has appointed Maggie Drummond, GrowSmart's former advocacy director, as interim director, according to spokesman Christian McNeil. Drummond served as GrowSmart's representative in Augusta and was the primary architect of its legislative policy. She replaces Alan Caron, the organization's co-founder and former president, who resigned in mid-June as the result of a mutual decision with the nonprofit's board, according to a press release that announced his departure. Caron plans to work with the organization over the summer to smooth the transition. There are no plans to hire a permanent director for several months, says McNeil.
Caron's resignation came two weeks after GrowSmart sent an email to supporters on June 2 saying donations had suffered amid the tough economic climate and that the organization needed $60,000 over the following few weeks in order to stay afloat. GrowSmart cut its staff from 12 to six and put its proposed "Governing Maine in the 21st Century" project, a sequel to the 2006 GrowSmart-Brookings report, on hold. The group has since exceeded its $60,000 fundraising goal, and the donations and pledges will tide GrowSmart over as it awaits word on some grant applications, McNeil says.
In another cost-saving effort, the organization will move its offices from Yarmouth to downtown Portland later this month, according to McNeil. The smaller and more centralized space will reduce rental expenses and is expected to cut staff commuting costs by thousands of dollars.
GrowSmart Maine, which Caron co-founded in 2002, advocates for sustainable economic growth in the state. It's best known for commissioning the landmark October 2006 Brookings Institution report, "Charting Maine's Future." GrowSmart staff members write a column for Mainebiz called "Charting the Course."