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Updated: November 28, 2023

Beyond Giving Tuesday: Here's what 5 Maine nonprofit leaders have planned for 2024

PHoto collage Photo / Courtesy Indigo Arts Alliance Indigo Arts Alliance, a Portland-based nonprofit led by Executive Director Jordia Benjamin, sponsors various residencies, events and programs throughout the year.

Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to charitable causes around the globe, has been celebrated every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving since 2012.

To mark this year's occasion, Mainebiz checked in with five Maine nonprofit leaders to see what they have planned for 2024. Here's what they said.

Donna Dwyer, president and CEO (and a Mainebiz Woman to Watch in 2015), My Place Teen Center

Donna Dwyer
File Photo / Courtesy of My Place Teen Center
Donna Dwyer

“2024 priorities: Open our second teen oasis in Biddeford [for a total of] two renovated churches, two counties, 700 kids served and 20,000 meals eaten. Be driven, steadfast and true. Give joy, seek sweat.” 

My Place Teen Center is based in Westbrook. The Biddeford location, set to open in September 2024, will be at 75 Bacon St., in the former St. Andre Church. The move will give the nonprofit a footprint in both York and Cumberland counties.

In Biddeford, the $2.8 million renovation budget includes $1.5 million received from American Rescue Plan Act funds for York County; $650,000 of in-kind donations; and $200,000 in cash gifts specifically for the renovation. The organization is also seeking to raise $3.65 million as part of an ongoing capital campaign. 

Jordia Benjamin, executive director (and a Mainebiz 40 Under 40 honoree), Indigo Arts Alliance

File Photo / Tim Greenway
Jordia Benjamin

“2024 will be Indigo Arts Alliance’s fifth year, thus we are focused on sustainability and building a legacy organization via our core programs: Artists In Residence; public engagement and and education; and building a Black and Brown arts ecosystem.

"Through our Artists in Residence programs, co-mentorship and David C. Driskell Fellowship at Black Seed Studio programs, we work with our Artists in Residence to engage communities by facilitating a host of opportunities that connect, educate and inspire. 

“One program in particular that launched in 2023 with the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens will continue in 2024 via a symposium entitled ‘Deconstructing the Boundaries: The Land Fights Back,’ along with the unveiling of two public art commissions. [The symposium] will focus on environmental justice in urban and rural spaces and why it is critical that Black and Brown experiences and knowledge be centered. Participants will have an opportunity to learn actionable steps that they can take to help create a better world.”

Jennifer Hutchins, executive director, Maine Association of Nonprofits 

Jennifer Hutchins at a Maine Association of Nonprofits event (at a podium)
File Photo
Jennifer Hutchins

“In 2024, MANP will continue to uplift nonprofit voices to remind all of us of the nonprofit sector’s critical impact, especially in difficult times. We will call for effective, trust-based partnerships across nonprofits, government and business to help heal and strengthen resilient, equitable Maine communities.”

Kristina M.J. Powell, executive director, the Telling Room 

“With our newly launched three-year strategic plan [entitled] 'Reading Ahead,' we’re strengthening how we elevate youth voices through our partnerships with alumni, schools, libraries, and other organizations. We will expand access to our programs, growing their visibility and long-term impact. We will holistically support our community, including our staff and youth, by centering belonging, justice, and our culture of learning in all that we do.  

Kristina Powell
File photo / Jim Neuger
Kristina M.J. Powell

“During these three years, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary, and as we look towards that milestone, this plan is critical. The Telling Room community will focus on fully living our values, centering the what and how of our mission, building from our strong foundation to move from the deeply beloved and impactful organization we are, to an institution that sustains and supports young writers — for generations to come.”

Liz Cotter Schlax, executive director (and a Mainebiz Woman to Watch in 2019), United Way of Southern Maine

Liz Cotter Schlax

“United Way of Southern Maine tackles both deeply rooted systemic issues and emerging needs across our community, from Freeport to Berwick and Bridgton to Kittery.

"In 2024, we are leaning in to address the housing and food insecurity crises, availability and affordability of child care, and mental health and substance use challenges, including among our youth. These interconnected issues need urgent attention, but we also need to get underneath them to find solutions to their root causes. We are mobilizing hundreds of community partners and thousands of caring people to do just that.”

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