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April 12, 2024

Khmer Maine names its founder as its next executive director

Khmer Maine, a nonprofit that assists the state's Cambodian population, has appointed its longtime president and founder, Marpheen Chann, as its new executive director. 

Chann, a 2022 Mainebiz 40 Under 40 honoree, is an award-winning author and the first Cambodian elected official in Maine. He won a seat on Portland’s Charter Commission in 2021.

Marpheen Chann portrait
File photo
Marpheen Chann

He currently serves on several boards and committees, including the Portland Planning Board, Maine Conservation Voters, Quality Housing Coalition and the Maine Philanthropy Center. 

The Portland resident received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Southern Maine and a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law.

“I’m incredibly proud of what Khmer Maine has accomplished going into its fifth year,” said Chann. “We hired our first full-time staff person last year and piloted and launched key program areas to support and lift up our community.” 

“We did a lot of work as a largely volunteer-run organization, but we still have a long way to go to realize our vision for a thriving, vibrant and visible Cambodian community,” he continued. “ I’m excited to now lead that work as executive director to secure resources and to continue working with our partners.” 

Since its founding in 2018, Khmer Maine has grown from a small grassroots community organization with a working board into a nonprofit, community-based organization with staff and growing programs. They focus on civic community engagement, arts and culture, food and farming. There's also a pilot program focused on land and justice. 

The nonprofit has recently partnered with Watt Samaki Temple to locate a community center and temple in Westbrook. 

“The Khmer Maine board of directors has seen Khmer Maine flourish under Marpheen’s leadership as president and founder,” said Sosanya Pok, who was recently appointed acting prescient.

“His ability to forge meaningful and mutual partnerships and focus on sustainable leadership and program development has set us on a path to future growth and success. This is a natural step forward and the board is enthusiastic in its decision.”

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