Keeping Mainers Warm
Every winter, thousands of Mainers are forced to make a difficult decision between heating their homes and paying for basic needs like food and medicine. This year, with fuel costs on the rise, even more households are struggling. Without access to the essentials like heating fuel, many working families and seniors on a fixed income lack the stability they need to thrive.
We are proud to announce our community raised $740,445 for the Keep ME Warm Fund, which provides emergency heating assistance to Mainers across the state. In its 15th year, Keep ME Warm, a partnership of United Ways in Maine and Maine Community Action Programs, received significant organizational support from Partners Bank, Dead River Company, M&T Bank, The Sam L. Cohen Foundation, Jane’s Trust, Gorrill Palmer, Kennebec Federal Savings, Knickerbocker Group, and fundraising event support from Hops for Heat led by Landing Real Estate, the Heat Week Telethon held by WMTW-Channel 8, and the Project Heat telethon held by News Center Maine.
We are grateful to our community for taking action to keep our neighbors warm. One Project Heat caller shared, “This is Maine. This is what we do. We help our neighbors. I’m 85 and can never remember a time when people were struggling so much.” You can spread the warmth and support emergency heating assistance at keepmewarm.org.
Community Investment Update
The challenges facing our community have deep roots and cannot be solved by a single organization working alone. That’s why United Way of Southern Maine collaborates with and invests in community partners to support programs that address the root causes of issues like homelessness, substance use disorder, child care shortages, and so much more.
Investment decisions are determined through United Way’s annual Community Investment Process. Over the next several months, more than 70 skilled community volunteers will review applications from nonprofits and collaborative partners throughout Southern Maine. In May, volunteers will make funding recommendations to UWSM’s Board of Directors, and final decisions will be announced in July. Explore UWSM’s current investments in the 2022-2023 Investment Portfolio.
Connecting More People with Stable, Long-Term Housing
Quality Housing Coalition’s Project HOME is one of the community programs that United Way of Southern Maine strategically invests in to reduce homelessness. Project HOME connects families and individuals who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness with stable, long-term supportive housing. UWSM’s investment helped 398 people secure housing through Project HOME last year. Additionally, Project HOME also helps mediate and strengthen tenant-landlord relationships to reduce lease violations and evictions. Evictions are on the rise across Maine, making Project HOME’s work even more critical.
Celebrating 2-1-1 Maine Month
The Maine Legislature recognized February 2023 as 211 Maine Month. The resolution passed in the House and the Senate with bipartisan support. As a free, confidential information and referral service, 211 Maine connects Mainers with help for complex needs like shelter, substance use, mental health, or food access. 211 Maine recently celebrated another milestone. Since 2006, the service has received more than one million calls
Brick & Beam Society
Brick & Beam Society recently closed their Immediate Impact Funding application process for short-term, summer-focused projects that target early childhood learning and STEAM programming, advance racial equity, and support high-need populations birth through 8th grade in Southern Maine, excluding Brunswick and Harpswell.
In Summer 2022, Brick & Beam Society invested:
- $13,890 in Educate Maine’s Project>Login Girls Who Code Summer Camp for two Girls Who Code summer camps in the greater Portland region;
- $5,400 in scholarship to The Rufus Porter Museum of Art & Ingenuity’s Camp Invention for 25 low-income children to attend Camp Invention held at Stevens Brook Elementary School in Bridgton.
Stay tuned for an announcement of this year’s Immediate Impact investments!
Women United is dedicated to advancing single moms and their children in Southern Maine. One of their recent investments is in Anchoring Youth to Succeed, a program run by Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine and A Company of Girls, that provides youth/teen programming for low-income families in Portland’s Bayside area. The program has reached 49 youth and 86% of students demonstrated growth in their social-emotional skills. Read more.