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Updated: May 13, 2020

Southern, midcoast Maine nonprofits receive COVID-19 funding

COURTESY / PCHC Penobscot Community Health Center in Bangor is receving $10,000 in grants from the United Way of Eastern Maine for COVID-19 related assistance.

As charitable responses to the public health crisis grow across Maine, nonprofits in the southern and midcoast regions are receiving more funds to fight COVID-19.

Southern Maine

The Sam L. Cohen Foundation in Portland has committed $1 million to support organizations and projects in Cumberland and York counties assisting populations affected by the pandemic, according to a news release.

The foundation’s grants are targeted to nonprofits that provide emergency services such as food, shelter, health and mental health services and financial assistance to southern Maine’s most vulnerable and affected citizens.

Since March 23, the foundation has distributed emergency funds of $520,000 awarded in two rounds to 31 nonprofits and community-relief funds that provide:

  • Programs for low income individuals and those experiencing homelessness: $120,000
  • Health care, mental health, elder care: $100,000
  • Food programs: $180,000
  • COVID-19 community reliefs funds in Cumberland and York counties: $50,000

In addition, the foundation made direct grants to smaller community-based organizations to ensure continuity of programming. The grants range from $2,500 to $5,000.

The balance of the new funds will be allocated towards the foundation’s fall 2020 “responsive grants” cycle to provide a more robust response to both urgent and ongoing supports as a result of COVID-19. 

“As the community works together to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we will continue to look for ways to help respond to the evolving needs,” John Shoos, executive director of the foundation, said in the release.


Penobscot Community Health Care, headquartered in Bangor and the largest federally qualified health center in Maine, was awarded grants from the United Way of Eastern Maine for COVID-19 related reasons. 

The grants include $2,500 awarded for personal protective equipment at Penobscot Community Health Care practices, and $7,500 in telelhealth services and grocery-purchase assistance in Bangor and Belfast.

The $10,000 in total grants comes from the United Way of Eastern Maine COVID-19 Response Fund.

“Every employee and patient we help protect from contracting the virus by utilizing proper protective equipment and screening procedures is a success,” Lori Dwyer, president and CEO of Penobscot Community Health Care, said in a news release.

"By ensuring this equipment is available in addition to comprehensive screening and telemedicine, we are working together to help protect patients, employees, friends, family and neighbors. We can’t thank the United Way of Eastern Maine enough for its support in these community–wide efforts.” 

The grant for PPE equipment will be used to purchase and provide masks for Penobscot Community Health Care staff and patients who do not have proper face masks of their own.

“Ensuring an adequate supply of PPE early on was vital,” said Heather Blackwell, director of grants and development. “As demand and needs changed dramatically, PCHC had to work quickly to ensure a stable supply of critical personal protective equipment like masks. As we continue to see more confirmed cases and a continued need for PPE, the funding from this grant is helping to protect our community and our entire region.”

As telehealth has become a viable alternative to in-person visits, the accessibility of phone service is essential to ensuring everyone remains healthy.

“We are seeing proof every day that telehealth is working,” said Blackwell. “But it really only works when phone service is accessible. Much of the $7,500 in grant funding for Hope House and Seaport Community Health Center ensures that every individual has the ability to access telehealth services while remaining safely socially distanced.”

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