Maine Maine

In Progress

The Working Communities Challenge advances local collaborative efforts that build strong, healthy economies and communities in Maine’s rural towns, regions, and smaller cities. Launched in 2020, the initiative supports local teams working together to improve economic outcomes for all people in Maine’s towns, cities, and rural communities.

Successful teams will address economic growth and reduce inequity of opportunity tied to race, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity and background.

This unique three-year grant competition is supported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the State of Maine, national and local philanthropy, and private sector employers.

Read more about the Design Grant recipients.

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What makes a community eligible?

Every town in Maine can be a part of an application, but the application must include a priority community, defined as those communities that have high economic need and opportunity for systems change (see list).

Multiple communities can join together to submit an application as a collection of places or a region.

Communities below 6,000 population must be part of multi-town application that reaches at least 6,000 residents.

Design Grant Recipients

  • Cumberland County BaldwinBridgetonBrunswickCape ElizabethCascoChebeague IslandCumberlandFalmouthFreeportFrye IslandGorhamGrayHarpswellLong IslandNaplesNew GloucesterNorth YarmouthPortlandPownalRaymondScarboroughSebagoSouth PortlandStandishWestbrookWindhamYarmouth
  • Greater Bangor BangorBrewerOld TownOrono
  • Katahdin Region CrystalEast MillinocketIsland FallsMedwayMillinocketMt. ChasePattenShermanStacyville
  • Lewiston-Auburn AuburnLewiston
  • Maine Highlands AbbotAtkinsonBeaver CoveBlanchardBowerbankCambridgeCharlestonDexterDover-FoxcroftExeterGarlandGreenvilleGuilfordHarmonyLagrangeMedfordMiloMonsonNortheast PiscataquisNorthwest PiscataquisParkmanRipleyRockwoodSangervilleSebecShirleySoutheast PiscataquisWellingtonWillimantic
  • Sagadahoc County ArrowsicBathBowdoinBowdoinhamGeorgetownPhippsburgRichmondTopshamWest BathWoolwich
  • Southern Kennebec County AugustaChelseaFarmingdaleGardinerHallowellLitchfieldManchesterMonmouthPittstonRandolphReadfieldWest GardinerWindsorWinthrop
  • Washington County & the Passamaquoddy Tribe AddisonAlexanderBaileyvilleBaring PlantationBealsBeddingtonCalaisCharlotteCherryfieldCodyville PlantationColumbiaColumbia FallsCooperCrawfordCutlerDanforthDebloisDennysvilleEast Central WashingtonEast MachiasEastportGrand Lake StreamHarringtonJonesboroJonesportLubecMachiasMachiasportMarshfieldMeddybempsMilbridgeNorth WashingtonNorthfieldPassamaquoddy Tribe at Indian TownshipPassamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant PointPembrokePerryPrincetonRobbinstonRoque BluffsSteubenTalmadgeTopsfieldVanceboroWaiteWesleyWhitingWhitneyville

Priority Communities

  • Anson
  • Aroostook Band of Micmacs
  • Auburn
  • Augusta
  • Bangor
  • Bath
  • Belfast
  • Bethel
  • Biddeford
  • Blue Hill
  • Bridgton
  • Buckfield
  • Bucksport
  • Calais
  • Canaan
  • Caribou
  • Casco
  • Clinton
  • Corinth
  • Damariscotta
  • Deer Isle
  • Dexter
  • Dixfield
  • Dover-Foxcroft
  • Fairfield
  • Farmington
  • Fort Fairfield
  • Fort Kent
  • Gardiner
  • Hancock
  • Harrison
  • Houlton
  • Houlton Band of Maliseets
  • Leeds
  • Lewiston
  • Limerick
  • Limestone
  • Lincoln
  • Livermore Falls
  • Machias
  • Madison
  • Milford
  • Millinocket
  • Milo
  • Naples
  • Newport
  • Norridgewock
  • Norway
  • Old Town
  • Orono
  • Otisfield
  • Oxford
  • Paris
  • Parsonsfield
  • Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township
  • Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point
  • Penobscot Nation
  • Pittsfield
  • Portland
  • Presque Isle
  • Randolph
  • Richmond
  • Rockland
  • Rumford
  • Sanford
  • Skowhegan
  • St. Albans
  • Thomaston
  • Unity
  • Van Buren
  • Veazie
  • Waldoboro
  • Warren
  • Waterville
  • West Paris
  • Westbrook
  • Whitefield
  • Winslow
  • Winterport
  • Wiscasset

Please click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions

Steering Committee

  • Gabriela Alcalde, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation
  • David Daigler, Maine Community College System
  • Ed Cervone, Thomas College
  • Fowsia Musse, Maine Community Integration
  • Heather Johnson, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Kate Foye, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Kate Rush
  • Keith Bisson, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
  • Laurie Lachance, Thomas College
  • Lelia DeAndrade, Maine Community Foundation
  • Liz Neptune, Neptune Advantage
  • Lynn Peterson, NeighborWorks America
  • Mike LeVert, Stepwise Data Research/Harold Alfond Foundation
  • Nicole Witherbee, John T. Gorman Foundation
  • Tiffany Breau-Metivier, Unum
  • Sara Gagne-Holmes, Maine Department of Health and Human Services
  • Amber Lambke, Maine Grains
  • Marcia Minter, Indigo Arts Alliance
  • Nicole Grant, Avangrid Foundation

Funders and Partners

  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • NeighborWorks America
  • Avangrid Foundation
  • State of Maine
  • Northern Border Regional Commission
  • Harold Alfond Foundation
  • John T. Gorman Foundation
  • Elmina B. Sewall Foundation
  • Bangor Savings Foundation
  • Skowhegan Savings
  • Maine Credit Union League
  • Dead River
  • Maine Community Foundation