Peter Alfond Foundation awards $1.9 million to support youth development across Maine

Monday, November 20, 2023

The Peter Alfond Foundation has awarded $1.9 million in grants to support youth development organizations across Maine. The funding will help provide vulnerable young people with positive experiences, a sense of belonging, and tools to thrive.

“My father, Peter Alfond, had a vision to see the people of Maine and Puerto Rico flourish. This serves as a North Star to the work of the foundation. Our work in Maine is anchored by the belief that investing in the state’s youth is the best way to secure its future,” said Trustee Kyle Alfond.

Driven by data showing 49% of Maine teens feel they don’t matter and elevated youth mental health challenges, the funding marks the second phase of the foundation's strategic focus on ages 11-18. "We hope to change these statistics by investing in nonprofits statewide that provide life-changing experiences for youth," shared Trustee Kyle Alfond.

This year’s grants include multi-year commitments to three anchor partners that will provide facilitation, mentorship, technical assistance and training to 25 other organizations through a peer learning cohort. These organizations are:

Tree Street Youth – a comprehensive pre-k through 12 youth development center in Lewiston,  
OUT Maine – a statewide organization focused on creating more welcoming and affirming communities for diverse queer youth.
Rural Youth Institute – a youth development incubator empowering organizations and professionals by promoting effective strategies to strengthen and enhance the aspirations of rural youth.

“We're excited to support peer leaders statewide as they expand their practices grounded in the culture and learnings of Tree Street. By cultivating the leaders in everyone’s own communities and co-creating solutions, we can design responses to support our most vulnerable youth and reach “cycle-breaking” milestones like graduation, first time employment, and post-high school plans," said Julia Sleeper-Whiting, Executive Director of Tree Street Youth.

In addition, funding was awarded to several capital projects that will provide critical space for youth and communities. These awards include Hearty Roots for the purchase of a 400-acre campus for mindful adventure in Bremen, Mano en Mano for the Rayitos de Sol Bilingual Childcare Center in Milbridge, Portland Community Squash for its Community Commons campus expansion including a new café and commons space in Portland, and Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness for the Wabanaki Youth and Cultural Center in Bangor.

“Through our grants, convenings, and collaborations, we see the chance to strengthen Maine’s youth development field, which is critical, alongside other fields such as education, to help ensure the approximately 100,000 middle and high school aged youth in Maine have opportunities to reach their full potential,” said Adam Burk, Executive Director in New England.

The foundation thanks the young people, partners, and advisors who've helped shape this strategic direction. It looks forward to deepening investment in youth-serving organizations as critical infrastructure for youth and communities to thrive statewide.

About the Peter Alfond Foundation

The PAF, founded in 1993, seeks to invest in innovative educational and wellness opportunities that strengthen communities in New England and the Caribbean by promoting meaningful, positive, and direct impact.

For more information contact Adam Burk, Executive Director – New England 207.233.1920