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September 21, 2023 2023 Giving Guide

Maine Community Foundation

A belief in a better quality of life for Mainers

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Maine Community Foundation (MaineCF). In 1983, when the founding president of the College of the Atlantic, Ed Kaelber, retired and received a $10 startup gift from friend and philanthropist Bob Blum, they set out the vision for what the Maine Community Foundation could become.

Deborah Ellwood, President and CEO, Maine Community Foundation

What was born from this initial contribution and a belief in a better quality of life for Mainers has, through decades of generosity from donors, meticulous investment and strategic programmatic development, grown to become the 21st century MaineCF, with more than $600 million in grants, a presence in all 16 counties, hundreds of scholarships and a portfolio of programs, partnerships and services that all combine to meet our mission of building a better Maine. This has led to notable results, including:

  • A 12-percentage point increase in the workforce certification rate, to 55% — nearly to the statewide goal of 60% — due to strategic grants, scholarships for adult learning and active participation in a coalition of statewide and national partners.
  • The creation of new, high-quality child care businesses through Coastal Enterprises Inc.’s Child Care Business Lab. Concurrently, the Starting Strong partnership brought together stakeholders around early childhood education. These efforts were further bolstered by increased attention to advocacy, awareness and education through coalitions such as Right from the Start and the Early Childhood Funders Group.
  • More than $400,000 invested and leveraged for racial equity in 2023 alone to support nonprofits led by and serving people of color.
  • Greater attention to housing, food and transportation needs of older Mainers through a partnership with the University of Maine Center on Aging, supporting Lifelong Communities.
  • Community transportation programs. Rural arts. Equitable access to the Maine outdoors. And more.

But we aren’t stopping there. A bright new future is ahead of us. Thanks to the vision of our founders and sound management over the years, MaineCF is built for the big stuff. We bring our unique combination of local relationships, community knowledge, donors that love Maine and a commitment to work across sectors to fulfill our mission.

At MaineCF, we’re focused on bringing all our resources to tackle big challenges facing the state. We've been engaging in conversations with donors, non-profits, businesses, government and residents, to determine the areas of greatest need and opportunity and to identify MaineCF can be most helpful. We're forging new partnerships and collaborations and building on old ones. We’re committed to doing what it takes to ensure that Maine is a vibrant and equitable place where people and communities thrive.

We`re excited to announce that our board just decided at its board meeting in September that we will step first in to efforts to address climate change in Maine – whether it's culverts, kelp or clean energy – so stay tuned!

We’re bullish about Maine’s future. Our new logo, which evokes the brightness and beauty of the Maine landscape, reflects our optimism. MaineCF reaches all corners of Maine and the artwork in the logo reflects all of us, from the highlands to the coast, from north to south. We embrace all of Maine.

We can’t build a better Maine alone. We stand ready to partner with Maine’s businesses, non-profits, government and community leaders who seek to accomplish great things for our great state. We look forward to working alongside you.