It is with overwhelming excitement that we share the success of our first six months of giving as 1% for Maine®. In just six short months we have collectively poured $72,000 back into our communities in an effort to support Maine's youth. Knowing that this initiative is new within the community and within the company, we wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a bit more about how it works.
What is it?
1% for Maine® focuses on supporting the next generation of Mainers, Maine’s youth, helping to give them the greatest chance at creating a more wonderful world. Selling homes in the community affords us the privilege of giving back to the communities that we live and work in. On a quarterly basis the Portside Foundation and participating Portside agents give 1% of top line revenue to local nonprofits supporting systemic Maine problems. These issues include: education, generational poverty + affordable housing, substance abuse, limited access to medical care, and food insecurity.
How does it work?
A dedicated group of Portside 1% for Maine® board members work in tandem with Maine Community Foundation to unanimously select grants that are in alignment with our quarterly initiatives. In order those initiatives are: education, generational poverty + affordable housing, substance abuse, limited access to medical care, and food insecurity.
When reviewing grants we are looking for nonprofits that align completely with our mission as 1% for Maine®. We are looking to ensure that the grants emphasize diversity and inclusivity and are providing a sustainable solution to one of the many challenges facing Maine’s youth. We are looking to support organizations and programs that can change our communities and help Maine's youth succeed now and in the future.
Our First Six Months of Giving
In the first half of the year our priorities were generational poverty, followed by education. With nearly $75k to distribute, we reviewed numerous grants and selected those that we felt aligned most closely with our mission. All grants funded must have 100% board member support and approval and it was with an abundance of excitement that we rolled out our recipients.
For Q1, our initiative was Generational Poverty + Affordable Housing
We had $20,000 to donate and we chose to split it evenly, fully funding two $10,000 grants; one for the The Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine and the other for Portland Family Promise.
One fun fact within that grant cycle is that the $10k from the 1% for Maine was critical to Portland Family Promise in that it allowed them to tap into another $10k match program from the National Family Promise organization!! It was such an exciting match opportunity that quickly turned our $10k into $20k!!! Talk about the sum of numerous small efforts quickly amounting to something profound.
THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF SOUTHERN MAINE
The money for the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine will enable them to reconnect with a community that was turned upside down by the pandemic.
They are currently focusing their efforts on reconnecting with students, bringing them back into connection with critical services and enabling parents to have a reliable supervised place for their children to be while they are at work.
GREATER PORTLAND FAMILY PROMISE
As an organization, GPFP works with 2 families a month, helping with rent, moving, bus passes, furniture, etc. They also work with Victoria Morales, who started a housing coalition that connects families to landlords who are willing to work in partnership. They have a housing mentor that is the liaison between the landlords and the families, and this is key to the program as it makes the landlords feel comfortable. It is a huge part of making sustainable housing an option for families with limited resources.
For Q2, our initiative was Education
The strength of the spring real estate market helped to increase our donation amount and we ended up having $52k to divide among many wonderful grants. After much consideration we chose to support 7 different non profits in three Maine counties. Grant beneficiaries included: Indigo Arts Alliance ($2,000), Intercultural Community Center ($7,500), The Telling Room ($7,500), Wayfinder Schools ($10,000), Youth and Family Outreach ($10,000), Midcoast Library ($5,000), and The Ecology School ($10,000). Below is a brief description of the organization and how the grant funds impact our communities.
This organization is the creator of The Read Together Project - an ongoing, free tutoring program for children who are struggling to read, write, and/or speak English at grade level in the Greater Bath/Brunswick area. Much of the time parents choose to forgo tutoring due to cost, however with this project there is far more access to quality education. The program offers one-on-one, twice-weekly, year-round tutoring all at no expense to the families. They are trying to get the word out in the areas in hopes of impacting more and more families each year. This is a mission we are thrilled to get behind.
THE ECOLOGY SCHOOL
The Ecology School supports a multi-year EcosySTEM program in several underserved Maine school systems, promoting critical thinking and strong community in grades K-2. Moving beyond the classroom, the mission of the program is to inspire stewardship of - and connection to - the natural world through experiential learning in ecology, conservation, farming and sustainability. Beyond the support being given to the students, this is such an important part of the preservation of our beautiful state. To support a mission like this only felt natural.
INDIGO ARTS ALLIANCE
The Indigo Arts Alliance is a wonderful organization dedicated to connecting Black and Brown artists from around the world with Maine's artists of African descent. The Money from our grant funding directly supports a mission to get over 2,600 copies of the books featured in the Beautiful Blackbird Children's Book Festival to children served by Portland Public Housing, Portland Parks and Recreation, and Lewiston Public Schools. They want those children to have books in their homes that inspire them to feel proud of who they are, where they came from and empower them to become strong voices within our Maine communities!
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNITY CENTER
The Intercultural Community Center is another incredible organization doing impactful work within the community. The ICC provides dynamic programming that is tailored to the needs and interests of local immigrant and low performing students in grades 3-8. The $7,500 from 1% for Maine™ will grant students immediate academic support through homework help with classes, field trips and other academic activities that instill leadership, academic curiosity and the fundamental academic skills needed to succeed in school, future careers, and life; helping to create a brighter future for Maine students and their families.
THE TELLING ROOM
The Telling Room is on a mission to empower youth through writing and encourages them to share their voices with the world; how powerful! They serve a diverse group of youth including refugee and immigrant youth, passionate young writers, LGBTQIA, and under-resourced youth. The project we have chosen to support is one of their key school-based programs where they work with 25-30 classrooms throughout Maine each school year. The Telling Room artists work with the students, teaching them how to generate writing, develop it, revise and edit the work. Collectively, they then design and publish class books or performances and students present their work to the community. This work has time and time again proven to ignite young minds, spark community conversations and make a positive impact on Maine youth, the adults who teach and care for them, and the community we all share. We are honored to support it!
THE WAYFINDER SCHOOL
Wayfinder is an alternative high school serving at-risk Maine youth and teen parents. Each year they serve 65 Maine students who need a second chance at high school graduation. More than 98% of the student of the students live
below the federal poverty level and more than 70% are teen parents; it is a true second chance to discover their strengths and skills, connect with their families, practice personal responsibility, and contribute to their communities. This program has been in place for more than 25 years and it is with great enthusiasm that
we are helping to keep it moving forward and build on its resources.
YOUTH AND FAMILY OUTREACH
Perfectly aligned with our 1% for Maine mission, YFO creates opportunities that enhance independence and learning to support the quality of life for children, youth, and families in Greater Portland. YFO is located in Portland's Bayside neighborhood and they are currently working on their Building a Brighter Future Campaign. Portland's workforce infrastructure requires access to quality childcare
for working parents -- especially low-income parents. This expansion and housing project will provide space to increase YFO's comprehensive early childhood educational and family support services, create affordable housing and double child and family education enrollment, a two-generation approach to ensure family stability.
As we continue to grow the amount we are donating we are being diligent about making sure the money is being divided appropriately in alignment with where it is coming from. We want to extend our reach as far as our agents service and we are committed to ensuring that all counties are receiving money over time!
That's A Wrap On The First Half of 2021
6 months -- 703 homes sold by Portside agents -- $72,000 donated -- 9 grants funded -- countless Maine children and families helped! These are the numbers that keep us showing up to work every single day, excited to make a difference in the lives of Mainers. There are so many remarkable non profits doing extraordinary work out in our communities and we look forward to continuing to work collectively to change the trajectory of Maine’s youth. We believe if we care about our neighbors, the difference we make will be sustainable and life changing for Mainers.
Thank you all for your support!