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Maine Community Foundation nearing 40 years of charitable work

Maine Community Foundation in Ellsworth
Maine Community Foundation in Ellsworth(WABI)
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 7:16 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2022 at 2:31 PM EST
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - For nearly 40 years, the Maine Community Foundation has tried to make life better for Mainers.

In 2021, the Foundation awarded around $40 million in grants and another $3.5 million in scholarships. Now, in 2022, MaineCF is picking up right where it left off.

“We always say that we have the best job in Maine,” said Cherie Galyean, director of strategic learning at MaineCF.

Founded in 1983, the Maine Community Foundation has one simple mission: work with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people.

“None of that would be possible if it weren’t for donors who believe in Maine and who see us as a way to get to know Maine and to get to know the work that’s happening in Maine,” Galyean said.

MaineCF has over 2,000 funds, all set up by donors, and an additional 25 competitive grant programs. They include the Maine Land Protection grant program which recently announced funding for 15 different projects totaling more than $600,000.

“Our real focus is ensuring land access, land and water access, to Maine residents to make sure that not only a certain kind of person has access to the outdoors in Maine,” Galyean said. “We’re really looking at access for lower income people, for people of color, for people with mobility issues, or who might not otherwise have access to the outdoors.”

Another new announcement – the creation of the Parsons Scholarship Fund for LGBTQ+ youth and allies. It becomes one of over 500 scholarship funds available for Maine students.

“Certainly they appreciate the funding because college is expensive, but more than that, it is the understanding that someone believes in them and supports them,” Galyean said.

After nearly four decades, Galyean says the pandemic changed the game for MaineCF. She says many non-profits were suddenly faced with either a decrease in funding or an increase in need, if not both.

“We always encourage people to give, either to the Foundation to help us help non-profits, or to give directly to non-profits to help them through this time. It’s been a really, really challenging time in the non-profit sector, and we really appreciate any support people can offer,” Galyean said.

For more information on the Maine Community Foundation, visit their website: mainecf.org.

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