Edward “Eddie” Collins works on a Ridgid power threading machine in the
Heating and Plumbing Program classroom at Washington County Community College. Photos Thalassa Raasch/MaineCF

The Maine Community Foundation is all about partnerships, especially when it comes to increasing access to education. Since making a special commitment in 2012 to support adult learners, we have been fortunate to have a number of donors and organizations partner with us to help Mainers meet opportunity and build the state’s economy.

Our ambitious goal guides this work: “All Maine people, including adult learners and other nontraditional students, are able to complete a degree or certificate program to maximize their potential.” When we invest in individuals and their dreams, the whole state benefits.

In 2017, the community foundation awarded a record 100 scholarships to adult learners, about 9% of total MaineCF scholarship recipients. More than 50% of previous applicants renewed their awards and continued on paths to success. We currently hold over $5 million in scholarship assets that are dedicated to adult learners. We are also exploring other ways to support students through emergency funding and grants to nonprofits that support adult learners.

We recently completed a three-year partnership with the Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges (FMCC) to support adult learners at Eastern Maine and Washington County community colleges. Through cooperation with FMCC, we awarded a total $240,000 to 30 students who completed Summer Success Academies, intensive pre-enrollment prep that helps ease the return to college. FMCC’s president reported a retention rate of 80%-100% among scholarship recipients, calling it “encouraging and well above the Maine Community College System’s overall student persistence and completion rate of 53%.”

Maine Community Foundation’s long-term vision improves lives and lifts the economy. We can accomplish that by easing access to and completion of education and training to close the gap between Maine’s employers and its workforce.  

Two FMCC program participants, Leigh-Ann Hanson of Calais and Edward Collins of Woodland, offer testimony to the success of the partnership. Hanson completed her business studies at Washington County Community College (WCCC) and her business internship at Calais Regional Hospital, where she was hired for a full-time position. Collins is graduating from the heating and plumbing program. He has inspired one of his teenage sons to attend the same program.

 Leigh-Ann Hanson at her desk in the Patient Financial Services Department at Calais Regional Hospital.
Her studies at Washington County Community College prepared her for the position of Posting Accountant.


As a member of the MaineSpark coalition, the Maine Community Foundation shares the goal that by 2025, 60% of Mainers will hold the credentials that position them, their families, and Maine for success. We will be partners at two conferences in 2018 that focus on this work. We encourage you to attend if you would like to help us  achieve this ambitious goal.

Maine Development Foundation Annual Meeting
Brick South, Portland                                     
October 25, 2018        

Educate Maine     
Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland
December 7, 2018

 - Carl Little