Peter Lamb at Mount Agamenticus. Photo: Thalassa Raasch/MaineCF

When the Maine Community Foundation Board adopted a new strategic plan in 2017, some longtime donors and other partners may have wondered whether our focus on five critical goals would lead us to overlook other issues important to Maine. Let me assure you: The arts, historic preservation, human services, animal welfare, and many other areas continue to receive our full attention and support. In this newsletter you’ll find a sample of MaineCF’s grantmaking, from funds that have helped Bucksport revitalize its downtown, to creation of a Center for Compassion, to a fellowship that inspires a K-8 art teacher – and her students.

I have a deep passion for the environment and have focused much of my philanthropy on stewarding the way we humans treat our natural resources here in Maine and elsewhere. Whether it be the Gulf of Maine or my nearby Mount Agamenticus, such treasures define who we are and our sense of place. I also love the arts and how it can help build a sense of community. Five years ago, I was pleased to help with the creation of the STAR Theater at the Kittery Community Center.

My philanthropic interests have expanded since joining the MaineCF board in 2011. I like what Betty Robinson, former MaineCF board member, said in an interview for our special MaineCF@35 anniversary series: “Working with MaineCF necessitates reflection on one’s own philosophy of giving, while also providing the opportunity to learn more about having a real impact versus simply feeling that a donation or gift is the right thing to do.”

I was honored to deliver closing remarks last November at the Maine Community Foundation’s 2017 Invest in Maine summit in Bangor. More than 400 people from across Maine and beyond took a day from their lives to consider how we can give all children a stronger start in life.

The summit was a revelation: I came away determined to delve deeper into how my own community cares for its children. A new grant program announced at the summit is now in place with support from donors who recognize the critical need for early childhood education. Our Early Childhood Community Planning Grants will help fve Maine communities organize, gather data about their 0-5 population, map community resources, identify barriers, and develop action plans to improve kindergarten readiness.

The Maine Community Foundation turns 35 this year. We are not making a big fuss about it, but we do have a lot to be proud of – from the statewide impact of our grantmaking and scholarships to our successful stewardship of charitable assets (we are now over the $500-million mark). There’s a lot to be done, and we are ever thankful for all the individuals and organizations partnering with us to improve the quality of life for all Maine people.

Peter Lamb is chair of the MaineCF Board of Directors. He lives in Kittery Point.