November 2020 Edition
Sponsored by People's United Bank
5 Qs with Peter Nalli
Senior Community Development Analyst, Regional & Community Outreach

1 What is the Working Cities Challenge (WCC) and how has it made an impact in rural communities in the past?

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the State of Maine, national and local philanthropy, and private sector business launched the Working Communities Challenge in Maine on October 21, 2020. The Working Communities Challenge supports local, cross-sector teams working together to improve economic outcomes for all people in Maine’s towns, cities, and rural communities. This multi-year grant initiative draws on Maine’s commitment to build economic opportunity for communities and residents with low incomes. Inviting rural communities to develop teams is a new element of the Working Communities Challenge, which was previously the Working Cities Challenge in Southern New England and targeted mid-sized cities. However, the WCC was launched in Vermont about a year ago and a number of rural communities participated in the first phase of the challenge. A number of these teams expressed the value of the Challenge in inviting unusual or non-traditional collaboration across groups and places. We look forward to continuing to learn in Maine.

2. What is the general program approach and/or model of the WCC initiative?

The Working Communities Challenge, a two-part grant program, consists of a six-month Design Phase followed by a three-year Implementation Phase. Up to eight (8) cross-sector teams representing towns, cities, and rural communities will be awarded a six-month grant of $25,000 to participate in the Design Phase. This phase provides coaching, workshops, and time for teams to strengthen and diversify their teams, identify a shared “compelling cause,” brainstorm strategies to address their shared goal, and experiment with addressing the issue they have identified. At the end of the phase, teams should have familiarity and understanding with the Working Communities Challenge model. Up to five teams will receive $375,000 over three years, as well as technical assistance, coaching, access to small tactical grants and participation in the statewide learning community. The teams will be expected to use the grant awards and assistance to broaden and deepen existing work in their community, or to start new work.

3. Why is cross sector stakeholder involvement important and what is the criteria for communities looking to submit an application to the Boston Fed’s WCC?

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston research on so-called “resurgent cities” that are able to recover from economic shock or long-term economic decline indicates that places that are able to rebuild possess leadership and collaboration from an array of key institutions and individuals. These places have public, non-profit, and private sector leadership that collectively articulate a shared goal and engage low- and moderate-income residents authentically, at the leadership table, to articulate strategies and work toward change.

4. What benefits, resources, and/or opportunities are expected to be realized for communities that are successful with a WCC grant?

Community leadership teams who participate in the Working Communities Challenge will receive funding, coaching, technical assistance, and development to clarify their collective goal and work toward addressing it over the long-term. These teams will also join a community of teams tackling similar challenges from across the state and across New England.

5. In your network Tech Talk at Central Maine Tech Night this month, you will be speaking about initiative. What are your plans for growing the WCC within the next few years?

We are launching the initiative now and anticipate having community leadership teams forming now, identifying the big issue they want to focus on, and starting their applications. Eight teams will be selected to participate in the six-month Design Phase beginning in April, 2021 and at the end of next year, we will have identified 5 teams for the multi-year Implementation Phase.

For more information, see the website.
November Tech Night: Boston Federal Reserve Bank: Working Cities Challenge (WCC) Initiative
November 12 | 1:00 p.m. | Click here for Zoom link

Listen in to hear about how the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is collaborating with the State of Maine to improve economic outcomes for all people in Maine's towns, cities, and rural communities.
About Working Cities Challenge (WCC) Initiative: Designed to advance collaborative leadership in smaller, postindustrial cities to transform the lives of their low-income residents.
Virtual Central Maine Tech Night (CMTN) Recordings
By moving to the virtual Zoom platform to comply with social distancing recommendations, Central Maine Tech Night (CMTN) has made its presentations available for viewing anytime. You can watch recordings of past CMTNs on the Tech Night web page.

September CMTN: MaineNerve: A Wind Tunnel of Ideas

August CMTN: Telehealth: More Than Just Video
How to Avoid a Cash Flow Crisis
Article by People's United Bank
All businesses, regardless of their size, are susceptible to cash flow problems but
none more so than small businesses. Whether it is underestimating a sales cycle,
falling behind on collections, an unexpected downturn in the economy, or a
disruption like bad weather, small businesses are much more prone to a cash flow
crisis. Fast-growing businesses are especially vulnerable to cash crunches when
increasing expenses begin to outrun their cash flow or they let their receivables
get out of control.

For more business banking tips read more here.
Business Investment
Top Stories of October 2020
Maine Crisp Co., founded by Karen and Steve Getz in 2014, announced the deal to supply Whole Foods stores in the Northeast. Maine Crisp began selling its buckwheat-based crisps at the Portland branch through the Whole Foods Local Forager program, which identifies local producers for its stores on a small scale.

Both Thomas College and Colby College, each based in Waterville, have unveiled details of grants they have been awarded from the Harold Alfond Foundation along with their plans for using the funds.
Thomas has received $13.5 million from the foundation, and intends to use the grant to kick off a capital campaign. Colby plans to use its award of $101 million to support development both on and off the campus.

Twenty small businesses in Fairfield, Oakland, Waterville and Winslow were selected to receive up to $2,000 in grants through a new program to deploy funds in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related business needs.

The Waterville, Maine-based private school will christen a $200 million athletic facility today, along with a plan to keep all of its sports programs fully funded, despite a financial crisis that is leading schools across the country to slash them. The 350,000-square-foot Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center will serve the school’s 2,155 students and athletes as well as the local community.
Contact: Don Plourde
Central Maine Real Estate Spotlight
Featured Commercial Property:
99 Main St, Waterville, ME 04901
Building Size: 4,728 sq. ft.
Lease Price: $4,728/month
Lease Rate: $12 PSF
Property Features:
  • Good property visibility
  • Brick, stone siding
  • Multiple tenant building
  • High-traffic area
  • One level with open space
  • In the heart of downtown Waterville
Workforce Investment
Workforce Training & Professional Development:
Online and Hybrid Training Programs Offered in Response to COVID-19 Throughout the Community College System

Workforce training has not stopped at Kennebec Valley Community College.

Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) has been busy training employees of local businesses in leadership, hiring skills, welding, Certified Nursing Assistant programs and more. KVCC utilizes Zoom and MS Teams where possible to offer virtual classroom experiences to deliver the safest possible training. Did you know that your business can apply for a grant to the Maine Community College System to support training your existing workforce or to train for new employees? 

KVCC is also preparing their spring professional development schedule and registration will be open November 5. In response to COVID-19 we have transitioned many of our course offerings online or into virtual classrooms. We will also be delivering some live lab based classes and have taken extra care to deliver these in the safest possible manner to protect our you. Check out our schedule of classes at And don’t miss the FREE training classes available at KVCC or other Maine Community Colleges available at

To learn how you can train your team or to register for a class please call 207.453.5083 or visit us online at
Quality of Place
Sponsored by MaineGeneral Health
This November, during the pandemic, we recognize the dedicated people who provide critical services and support to families needing home care and hospice, and all those they serve. MaineGeneral HomeCare & Hospice shares Julia’s story. 

Learn more about MaineGeneral HomeCare & Hospice at
Stay connected with CMGC:
If you are an investor in CMGC and would like to submit content to
 CMGC Intelligence, simply reply to this email.
Board of Directors:

Chris Gaunce, chair – Central Maine Motors Auto Group
Beth Gibbs, treasurer – Thomas College
Lucille Zelenkewich, secretary – Peoples United Bank
Terri Vieira – Northern Light Health - Inland Hospital
Erica Lacroix - Town of Winslow
Ryan Poulin - New Dimensions FCU
Elizabeth Fortin – Kennebec Valley Community College
Paul Stein – MaineGeneral Health
Michael Roy – City of Waterville
Gary Bowman – Town of Oakland
Michelle Flewelling – Town of Fairfield
Brian Clark – Colby College
Michael Runser – Valley Beverage
Allan Rancourt – Kennebec Federal Savings
Donald Plourde – Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate
Tom Meucci - Huhtamaki

Ex-Officio Board Members:
James Dinkle – Kennebec Regional Dev. Authority / FirstPark
Joel Greenwood - Kennebec Valley Council of Governments
Christian Savage - Somerset Economic Development Corporation