The Maine Community Foundation (MaineCF) awarded $240,000 in grants to six nonprofit organizations to help ensure Maine’s youngest children receive a healthy start.
The grantees are:
- Aroostook County Action Program, to support the second year of the "Going Places Transportation Project,” a bus route with stops at over a dozen locations in Presque Isle, including the hospitals, higher education centers, major shopping areas, and employment hubs
- Healthy Peninsula, to strengthen young families on the Blue Hill peninsula by connecting them to existing resources and supports and to promote and increase educational and social opportunities for children, parents, and caregivers
- Starting Strong, to increase access to high-quality childcare in Portland
- United Way of Eastern Maine, to address critically needed access to services in Piscataquis County for pregnant mothers, families, and children under the age of five and to reduce the stigma of accessing services
- United Way of York County, for the Biddeford Ready! program to increase quality, enrollment and awareness of early care and education options
- Wabanaki Health and Wellness, to increase opportunities for bonding between Wabanaki baby/child and parents/caregivers with a strong focus on promoting adults reading to children.
These competitive grants are part of MaineCF’s early childhood strategic goal to ensure all Maine’s children arrive at kindergarten developmentally prepared to succeed in school and life. “A child’s earliest experiences set the foundation for future learning, behavior, and health,” says Steve Rowe, MaineCF president and CEO, “yet, in most schools, at least a third of entering kindergarten students lack the developmental skills necessary to succeed. We must do better, and we believe local initiatives like this hold great potential for success.”
In 2018, MaineCF Early Childhood Community grants supported these six organizations to conduct research and planning to identify the communities’ needs. For the second and third years, 2019 and 2020, the grants focus on implementing the action plans developed through the initial groundwork. The varied approaches reflect how each community defined its highest priorities.
The John T. Gorman Foundation and Michael and Denise Dubyak contributed to this program.
As a compliment to these large, multi-year grants, in 2021 MaineCF will launch a new program of smaller, one-year competitive grants to support other nonprofit groups doing work focused on early childhood.
For information about MaineCF’s Strong Start strategic goal, contact Senior Program Officer Leslie Goode at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 412-2002.