ELLSWORTH — The Maine Community Foundation reached a milestone in charitable giving this month, passing the $500 million mark in grants awarded since it was founded 38 years ago.

The grant that put MaineCF over $500 million went to Aroostook Agency on Aging, to help older people access COVID-19 vaccines. In just over a month, the agency’s staff and volunteers have helped nearly 1,400 individuals get vaccine appointments.

MaineCF works to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. It provides grants to nonprofit organizations, awards educational and aspirational scholarships, and manages funds for nonprofit organizations and municipalities. Last year the foundation awarded 6,892 grants totaling nearly $60 million, a 45% increase from 2019.

“We thank our many donors who have chosen to partner with the Maine Community Foundation for their philanthropy,” said Steve Rowe, MaineCF president and CEO, according to a news release from the foundation. “Their passion for Maine and contributions to benefit all Maine people continue to make a difference throughout our beloved state.”

Edward Kaelber, founding president of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, began the community foundation in 1983 with a $10 gift from New York businessman Robert Blum. Today MaineCF is the state’s second largest nonprofit foundation, with assets totaling $659 million.

The foundation has grown to manage more than 2,000 funds that support a broad range of grantmaking. During the past five years the foundation has prioritized its work on a strong start for children, access to education, racial equity, support for older people, creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators, climate change, and broadband expansion.

In the past year, MaineCF grants totaling more than $3.7 million have supported nonprofit organizations that provide COVID-19 pandemic emergency assistance, from food to housing and other critical needs.

Headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft, Rockport, and Mars Hill, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to provide strong investments, personalized service, local expertise, and strategic giving to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit mainecf.org.

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