Chris Blodgett and Michelle Tibbetts stake a sign Thursday along the Kennebec River in Augusta for a gathering to discuss community goals in Kennebec County. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — When Norm Elvin noticed some of his employees were skipping lunch, he found a way to make sure they would get a midday meal.

That is just one of the steps that Elvin, the head of G&E Roofing, has taken to help his employees manage their time and money.

It is also one example of what organizations across Kennebec County can do to reach a series of goals set out in Impact2032, a communitywide effort to improve life in the county over the next decade.

The initiative, launched Thursday at an event in Augusta’s Waterfront Park, has identified 10-year goals in health, education and financial stability toward which organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors can work in their own ways to accomplish the joint goals.

Chuck Hays Photo by Rene Roy

Chuck Hays, president and chief executive officer of MaineGeneral Health and co-chairman of the Impact 2032 Council, outlined the details of the goals in the areas of health, education and financial stability, and what the council hopes to achieve.

“While these goals sound ambitious, they are certainly attainable,” Hays said. “They will require a coordinated, collaborative effort from the entire community to see the results. If we all start moving in the same direction and working together under this one community-driven movement, the possibilities are truly endless.”


Katie Doherty, president and chief executive officer of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce and council co-chairwoman, said organizations can become involved by first signing a letter of endorsement supporting the project

“We will ask that you advance the project by aligning your organizational practice to further the progress of each of the goals,” Doherty said.

The next step is reporting progress to the United Way for review and sharing.

The information-gathering phase of the process began more than 14 months ago with the first in a series of four community goal-setting conversations across the region and on Zoom. The foundations, however, were laid at the end of 2020, when the United Way of Kennebec Valley reached out to community leaders in the private, public and nonprofit sectors to gauge interest in the visioning process.

The IMPACT2032 Report to the Community, issued in October, highlighted the general agreement that Kennebec County would benefit from a larger, younger and more-diverse population.

“We know that not every organization is going to align with every single vision statement,” Courtney Yeager, executive director of United Way of Kennebec Valley, said before the event. “We want organizations to think about what makes the most sense for them, and where they can make a difference.”


With Thursday’s launch, Yeager said, the real work begins in mobilizing organizations to start working toward the three goals.

Impact2032, a coalition of Kennebec County businesses, gathers Thursday along the Kennebec River in Augusta. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

To date, 39 have signed on, including the city of Gardiner, whose City Council voted Wednesday to join the effort, and Central Maine Power Co., the University of Maine at Augusta, the Maine Development Foundation, Team EJP and Augusta Fuel Co.

Yeager said the United Way of Kennebec Valley was the first to endorse Impact2032.

“We’re already changing our funding process so that everything we fund aligns with Impact2032,” Yeager said, “because this is what the community told us are the issues, so why wouldn’t we be listening to the community?”

To support the work, Yeager said Katelyn Pushard, the United Way’s director of community impact, is expected to follow up with participating organizations about their plans and strategies.

Elvin, one of three people who explained how goals are already being met, said making low-cost lunches and snacks available to workers and ensuring they have access to ice water and Gatorade on days when the temperature hits 80 degrees or warmer help motivate the workers and show them they are appreciated. He also said it helps retain workers in an economy where there are more jobs than people to fill them.

“We’ve hired 12 to 15 guys this spring, and they can’t even believe it,” he said. “They are coming from somewhere this has never happened. Retention is big. Motivation is even bigger.”

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