Wanted: Innovative Teachers

From greenhouses to guitars, Dave and Sandy Perloff understand what motivates Maine students to learn: inspiring, innovative teachers, and hands-on involvement.

For the past 15 years the Perloffs have shared over $1 million in grants with more than 500 K-12 teachers in Maine. Their FastTrack Grant Program, which is now accepting applications, has funded STEM, arts, reading, ecology, and physical education programs. 

Recipients of their STEM4ME grants often work in small teams to create real-world solutions, lessons that become even more critical as the state’s need for STEM workers continues to grow. A recent report from Maine’s Department of Labor estimates the number of science- and technology-related jobs is expected to rise 6.5 percent from 2012 to 2022 – nearly three times the rate for all occupations. The state is now considering a plan to offer interest-free loans to students who study science or technology.

The couple also see the fun in learning: They visit every Maine project twice a year to watch their grants in action. Their eyes light up as they describe students working to restore Maine’s bluebird population, creating a greenhouse, or even building their own guitars. 

Projects they fund “should be something a teacher always wanted to do,” says Sandy. And – one teacher at a time – the Perloffs empower educators to help that happen.

Photo: Noble High School senior Mike Lavigne shows Sandy and Dave Perloff some guitars in different stages of completion. The Perloffs provided grants to fund the class at the North Berwick school and hundreds of other Maine projects. Photo by John Patriquin, courtesy Portland Press Herald

Read more stories about the Maine Community Foundation at work...

Upcoming Deadlines

April 1: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through July 1 for $3,000 Fast Track Grants from the Perloff Family Foundation.

April 30 : John & Ellen Emery Science Grants encourage all AOS #91 teachers to promote the study of science in their classrooms.


Maine Community Foundation is:

•  A statewide leader
•  A major funder of nonprofit organizations
•  A significant source for scholarships
•  A steward of charitable assets
•  A resource for donors.

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What's New

Make a grant: What’s your best idea to advance education and quality of place in Maine? In conjunction with our special report, Measuring Up, we’d like to hear your thoughts. Three winners will be invited to make a $1,000 grant through MaineCF to a nonprofit working in education or place. Deadline: May 31. Please email Carl Little.

We're hiring: MaineCF has a new position for a senior program officer who will work in the areas of downtown development, agriculture, fisheries, and the environment.

Real Time blog: The American Dream is a myth for many Mainers. Will our reps in Augusta help level the playing field? Read Take Me Out to the Budget Game, April 13, 2015.

Saving history: The Troy community has banded together to restore a 175-year-old church. Read about their work, accomplished with support from the Maine Steeples Project and Belvedere Historic Preservation Fund.


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