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In a COVID impacted year, Mainers rally together to support our most vulnerable with an increase in giving. 

(Portland, ME  March 3, 2021) At its virtual Annual Campaign Celebration on January 26, United Way of Greater Portland staff and volunteers announced a projected grand total of $8,128,016 for the 2020 community campaign. This represents a four percent increase over the prior year’s effort.

The unprecedented events of 2020 and ongoing community impact of the pandemic made this campaign uniquely challenging,” said Steve deCastro, 2020 Campaign Chair and President and CEO of Gorham Savings Bank Yet, at every step of the way United Way, donors, staff, campaign volunteersour non-profit partners, and the communityat-large rose to meet the most urgent needsFrom pivoting to a virtual campaign, to investing three rounds of COVID-19 rapid response funds that benefitted 51 local organizations, to launching the Racial Equity Fund to address historical inequities facing organizations run by and serving BIPOC members of our community, I stand in amazement. The generosity of our corporate partners and thousands of donors is inspiringIt reflects tremendous passion and dedication to recover, rebuild, and thrive.”  

United Way’s annual campaign kicked off September 14, 2020, with a week of virtual events including morning rallies, virtual volunteer opportunities, a Racial Equity Panel with local leaders, and statewide food drive to address ongoing food insecurity facing neighbors across the state. The food drive collected over 37,000 pounds of food and over 26,000 diapers and wipes, setting a record for the state’s largest one-day drive.  

Throughout the campaign, Campaign Cabinet volunteers, comprised of 30 professional and community leaders representing a diverse cross-sector of our community, worked closely with United Way staff to generate support from over 160 organizations across Greater Portland. 

The Loaned Executive Program sponsored by Gorham Savings Bank provided invaluable support and assistance with this year’s campaign. Under the direction of the Emmons Fellow, professionals “loaned” from Gorham Savings Bank, HannafordL.L.BeanMaineHealthand BerryDunn played an integral role in this year’s success. Loaned Executives helped run workplace campaigns and inform community members about United Way’s impact. We are so grateful to leaders in our community for helping us weather an unprecedented moment in history and address the acute needs and root-cause issues that inhibit our neighbors ability to thrive,” shared Liz Cotter Schlax, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Portland. The need for everyone to come together for the education, financial stability, and health of everyone in Greater Portland is more important now than ever.”  

 Campaign highlights include: 

  • UWGP’s Greater Portland COVID-19 Community Relief Fund generated nearly $711,000 in campaign support for urgent needs in the early stages of the pandemic. 
  • UWGP’s Giving Circles, Women United and Brick & Beam Society, continued to grow member engagement offerings including events and hands-on volunteer activities. Together, these two groups and their members anticipate investing nearly $200,000 into our local community thanks to this year’s campaign. 
  • The Racial Equity Fund raised nearly $295,000 thanks in large part to the founding support from IDEXX. This important work continues today and into the future as we aim for a more inclusive Greater Portland community. 
  • UWGPs major giving circle, Tocqueville Society, surpassed their goal of $1.5M.  

UWGP also announced that Melissa Smith, Presidentand CEO of WEX, Inc., will chair the 2021 Campaign. Smith spoke at the campaign celebration and offered thoughts on the role and year ahead. “I am very excited to continue the momentum that has been built by so many great leaders that have chaired the campaign in the past, shared Smith.I am also very proud to represent WEX.  WEX has been actively involved in our community for as long as I can remember. I am honored to work with UWGP, whose purpose positively impacts the lives of so many.” 

United Way of Greater Portland’s 2021 Campaign will start to take shape over the spring and summer monthswith an official community kickoff planned for this September that incorporates a week of events and food drive.  



About United Way of Greater Portland: For over 90 years, United Way of Greater Portland (UWGP)’s mission has been to improve people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. Today, UWGP unites individuals and organizations around our community’s shared vision, Thrive2027, three 10-year goals to improve education, financial stability, and health for every person in Greater Portland. With community partners, UWGP builds on strategies that are known to achieve the best results, and rigorously evaluates progress toward those goals. UWGP actively seeks to engage donors, advocates, and volunteers to create measurable, long-lasting community change. Learn more at