Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: February 4, 2020

15 Downeast nonprofits awarded MCF grants to boost innovation

Courtesy / Haystack Mountain School of Crafts The Haystack Mountain School of Crafts is among 15 nonprofits awarded grants through the Maine Community Foundation's Downeast Innovation Grant Fund Program. From left, metals instructor Matthiew Cheminee demonstrates designs and patterns.

Fifteen nonprofits in Hancock and Washington counties have been awarded a total of $106,305 from the Maine Community Foundation's Downeast Innovation Fund.

The Downeast Innovation Fund Grant program, created two years ago, supports nonprofit organizations that set out to boost entrepreneurship and innovation in business and the local economies of those two counties.

Recipients in the latest funding round include Coastal Enterprises Inc., which will receive $5,000 to develop a regional small business pitch competition with its first live event scheduled next month; and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, which will use a $5,000 grant to create a new maker space serving local communities.

Those communities includes Deer Isle-Stonington, the Blue Hill Peninsula and other areas of Hancock County. The Haystack School, founded in 1950 as a research and studio program in the arts, supports visiting artists and scholars from a variety of fields for two-week working residencies. Like a think tank, the school also studies craft's broader context.

The deadline for the next round of grant applications is Oct. 15. Guidelines, applications and a list of recent grants are all available online.

Full list of grant recipients

Below is a list of organizations that received grants from the Maine Community Foundation's Downeast Innovation Fund, along with the amounts awarded their purpose.

  • Citizens Organization for Rural Education, to complete the funding for a project manager for the Greater East Grand Region Economic Planning effort: $10,000
  • Coastal Enterprises Inc., to develop a regional small business pitch competition for Hancock and Washington counties and to hold the first live event in March 2020: $5,000
  • Cooperative Development Institute, to expand the Ownership Transition Initiative to Hancock County and develop an Entrepreneur Apprenticeship Program supporting young entrepreneurs exploring acquisition of existing Washington County businesses: $10,000
  • Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research & Education, to support the incubation of a scallop hatchery in Maine: $5,000
  • Downeast Lakes Land Trust, to build a community headquarters that will serve community needs and support entrepreneurship in the outdoor tourism and forest products industries: $2,500
  • Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, to create a new makerspace to serve Deer Isle-Stonington, Blue Hill Peninsula, and other Hancock County communities: $5,000
  • Heart of Ellsworth, to create a three-phased marketing plan to demonstrate the vibrancy of Ellsworth in fostering a sense of place with quality of life and continued sustainability: $10,000
  • Main Street Bucksport, to accomplish several projects to capitalize on the redevelopment of the former mill site and the economic opportunity it brings to Bucksport's downtown: $3,700
  • Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, to develop partnerships identified as strategic next step necessary to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship within Eastern Maine Skippers Program: $10,000
  • Mount Desert 365, to develop complete plans to establish a maker space in Northeast Harbor as a community-building economic driver, supporting entrepreneurship and fostering a sustainable year-round economy: $5,000
  • Union River Center for Innovation, to enhance targeted programming and technical infrastructure aimed at graduating existing startup companies, while attracting new, quality companies to the Center's Incubator or Affiliate programs: $10,000
  • University of Maine System, to leverage capacity and regional impact of the Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy, a responsive network that supports innovation and entrepreneurship in Maine’s marine economy: $5,000
  • Washington Academy, to create a training program that will benefit both the student population and local small businesses requiring technology to grow: $10,000
  • Washington County Community College, to develop and implement a business course offering for Ownership Transition Initiative to match student entrepreneurs with transitioning businesses in Washington County: $10,000
  • Washington County Council of Governments, to work with area youth to nurture leadership qualities and develop technical and business skills through hands-on, immersive bicycle repair programming via the Bike Bus: $5,000

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF