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April 11, 2023

Island Institute’s new president brings longtime leadership experience

person in checked shirt and black sweater Courtesy / Island Institute Kimberly Hamilton was appointed president of the Island Institute in Rockland.

The Island Institute, a Rockland nonprofit that works to sustain Maine’s island and coastal communities, said Monday that Kimberly Hamilton was appointed to serve as its new president, effective April 1. 

She succeeds Anthony Chatwin, who stepped down in August 2022, after a year in the role, to pursue other opportunities.  

The Island Institute’s board of trustees subsequently appointed a senior leadership team, of which Hamilton was a member for the past six months, to lead the organization while a search for a new president was conducted. 

Hamilton is the institute’s fourth president in its 40-year history. 

She arrived at the institute in 2022 after serving as FocusMaine's inaugural president since 2017. Hamilton previously served as the institute’s interim chief programs officer, overseeing its climate, economic resilience and leadership programs and serving as a member of the senior leadership team.

The Island Institute was founded in 1983 and works with 120 island and coastal communities to strengthen economies, enhance education and share information and resources. It has an annual operating budget of $8 million.

With a history rooted in Maine’s fisheries and working waterfronts, the organization has often served in leadership roles to manage processes and partners to cultivate the coastline and islands that have long been a mainstay of the state’s economy. 

As president, Hamilton will collaborate with the board of trustees, senior leaders and staff to set the organization’s direction as a community development organization serving Maine’s island and coastal communities.

“During her time as interim chief programs officer, Kim has done a fantastic job advancing our work to create a sustainable coastal economy, create climate solutions and advancing our history of creating leaders for Maine’s coastal communities,” Kristin Howard, chair of the institute’s board of trustees, said in a news release.

At FocusMaine, she led efforts to accelerate job creation in the agriculture, aquaculture and biopharmaceutical sectors. She has also served as the chief impact officer at Feeding America and director of strategy planning and management at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Hamilton is originally from North Yarmouth and now lives on Chebeague Island. She received a doctorate in demography from Brown University and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University.

“As a Mainer and islander, I deeply understand the dynamics of year-round island living and the challenges and opportunities faced by Maine’s islands and coastal communities,” Hamilton said. 

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