Dear Friends,
I hope you are feeling the optimism of the coming of Spring. I’m excited for what’s ahead for MaineShare and invite you to lean into all that makes Maine a better place. Whether that means small acts of random kindness or digging deep into how you can have more impact on the world, I hope our network gives you places to plug in.
I hope you enjoy this selection of news from our member groups. This month's issue includes:
  • News from us and Maine Initiatives;

  • News from members who have recently helped save a farm and a community pre-school; celebrated arts education; and honored an outstanding youth volunteer

  • Opportunities to learn from members about environmental protection; climate change; economic, environmental, and racial justice; sexual assault; and career exploration targeted to middle-school girls

  • Calls to action from members to join efforts to promote peace; protect democracy; support veterans; and demand corporate responsibility on toxic chemicals

if you are feeling the desire to LEAN IN this spring, please consider supporting MaineShare as we work to build a stronger network of support for progressive nonprofits in Maine.
News from Us & Maine Initiatives

Many of you may know that MaineShare & Maine Initiatives have signed a Letter of Intent to explore a significant strategic alliance. The negotiations are going very well and we are making considerable progress. Maine Initiatives and MaineShare have long shared very similar missions and have great affinity for each other’s teams and networks.
Today, I share with you some of the good work Maine Initiatives is doing to build justice and equity in Maine:
  • Racial Justice and… Part 2 - How does racial justice intersect with arts and culture? With economic justice? What about youth leadership? Or policy and advocacy? Join Maine Initiatives throughout the end of March and April for Part 2 of the virtual series "Racial Justice and..."

  • Maine Initiatives’ recent email states their support of Maine’s Asian American & Pacific Islanders and provides ways you can “lean in.”
We believe Maine Initiatives approach to promoting and strengthening organizations focused on making long-term, positive systemic change is an excellent complement to our focus on support through workplace giving. We look forward to sharing more about our vision for the future of MaineShare in the coming months.

In Solidarity,

Brenda Peluso (she/her/hers), Interim Director
On behalf of the The Board of MaineShare
Maine Farmland Trust - Cheers to a newly protected farm in Maine!
In February, Maine Farmland Trust raised glasses of milk to newly protected Widdershins Farm in Dover-Foxcroft! The Russells worked with MFT to protect their 30-acre property on Bear Hill Road, where they raise pastured livestock and have a micro-dairy, and sell their yogurt, milk and cheese from their self-serve farm store. They also sell pasture-raised meats directly to their customers throughout the year.

Learn more about our Purchased Easement Program, and support our work to protect farms like Widdershins by becoming a member of MFT!
Maine Resource Recovery Association is offering a Virtual Spring Workshop
April 26th
Genesis Fund Bolsters its Support of a Portland Preschool Serving Children of all Developmental Levels

Children’s Odyssey is a vibrant community preschool serving the families of 80+ students by offering high-quality programming for children of varied developmental levels. Here, students with special needs enjoy an inclusive place to learn alongside their typically developing peers.

Genesis Fund first partnered with the school in 2018, financing the acquisition and renovation of the former Reed School in Portland’s Riverton neighborhood, helping improve accessibility for children using walkers or wheelchairs, adding new therapy rooms, creating infant and toddler classrooms, and expanding programming hours for their preschool students.
Prior to COVID-19, Children’s Odyssey was happily settling into its new location. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the school to temporarily close in March 2020. Facing an extended closure (and sharp decline in revenue) while trying to plan for a safe re-opening, Children's Odyssey again turned to Genesis Fund for help. Their existing loan was restructured, along with new working capital to help address COVID-19's ongoing impact on operations. Children's Odyssey was able to re-open last July, and anticipates returning to full capacity by this fall.
Genesis is proud to stand with Children's Odyssey and other Maine childcare providers as they continue to serve families during these difficult times.
Youth involvement makes a difference keeping schools safe

Over this incredibly difficult school year, high school senior Jay Hyssong (they/them/their), the chairperson of GLSEN’s Youth Leadership Team, has worked diligently on every phase of GLSEN’s programming - having to be all done virtually for the first time. They designed and facilitated every monthly Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Regional Meeting; served as an involved and active member of the GLSEN board of directors; planned and presented at a virtual state-wide conference to teachers and parents; designed two more state-wide conferences for middle and high school students; and created agendas for and ran all the monthly Youth Leadership Team meetings. In addition, Jay has been the first-ever youth member of the state-wide Maine LGBTQ+ Youth Coalition. Jay also has demonstrated impressive academic achievement in their honors and AP courses at South Portland High School and is a highly talented musician. 

GLSEN thanks MaineShare for supporting its LGBTQ+ work to make K12 schools safe for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Toxic-Free Food Campaign is calling on Kraft Heinz to take public action on toxic chemicals - YOU can help!
Did you know that Maine's only organization dedicated to getting toxic chemicals out of food, drinking water, and products is now known as Defend Our Health? Formerly known as the Environmental Health Strategy Center, Defend Our Health staffs the Toxic Free Food Campaign, a national coalition working to persuade the food industry to end the use of food contact chemicals of concern in food processing equipment, food packaging, and food service ware. The Toxic-Free Food Campaign is calling on Kraft Heinz to take public action on toxic chemicals and is calling for your help! In 2017, lab testing discovered a toxic chemical called phthalates in Kraft macaroni and cheese – a chemical whose exposure threatens the health of young children, babies, and pregnant women, but the major food supplier has yet to take action. As the sales of processed foods during the pandemic are on the rise, and with phthalates reducing the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, action is more critical now than ever. 

Please join them today by signing the petition to tell Kraft Heinz leadership to join General Mills with public action in order to keep phthalates out of their food and off of our plates!
Join Sierra Club Maine in celebration of the 51st Earth Day by participating in it’s virtual speaker series!

The speaker series will begin April 19th and end on Earth Day on April 22nd. Talks include:

Monday, April 19th 12-1pm: A Waste Free World is Possible with Faye Christoforo, Co-Executive Director of the Post-Landfill Action Network.

Tuesday, April 20th 12-1pm: Advocating for the Environment - How to Gather Your Power and Take Action with Sue Inches, author of Advocating for the Environment: How You Can Make a Difference (to be released in June).

Wednesday, April 21st 5-6:30pm: Climate Change in the Remotest Reaches of our Planet and its Significance with Paul Mayewski, Director of Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine.
Thursday, April 22nd 5-6:30pm: Panel on the Intersectionality of Racism, Economy, and Climate Change with Josh Wood, Race & Climate Justice Organizer and Co-Organizing Director for Maine Strikes, Ania Wright, Grassroots Climate Action Organizer for Sierra Club Maine, and Davis Taylor, Professor of Economics and Quantitative Social Studies at College of the Atlantic.

Join Maine Veterans for Peace to support Maine veterans and promote peace.  
Maine Veterans for Peace (MVP) is the founding chapter of an international organization committed to nonviolently abolishing war. They recognize that their work goes beyond Maine’s borders; however, their focus is to provide Maine veterans with a voice in the peace movement.  
Beyond advocating for peace, this all-volunteer group works to support better treatment of veterans; for instance, MVP members: 

  • Provide clothing and other assistance to veterans living on the margins; 
  • Champion federal legislation that would bring justice to veterans who were offered American citizenship for their military service, but who have been deported unjustly from the country that they have fought to protect; 
  • Advocate for the release of former intelligence specialist, Reality Leigh Winner, who was convicted of removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet. Winner revealed that there was substantial Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. MVP believes that her action was an act of patriotism.
MVP meets on the last Thursday of every month from 7:00pm to 9:00pm (currently via Zoom). If you are interested in working for peace, MVP encourages you to join them at
New Ventures ME - Totally Trades! Conferences: free workshops for 8th grade & high school girls looking to explore high demand, high wage careers in trades & technology

Totally Trades! Conferences are an opportunity for 8th grade and high school girls to explore high demand, high wage careers in trades and technology and to connect them to education opportunities. Eight free interactive sessions will be presented during the last week of April and first week of May. Session topics include careers in Building and Design, Renewable Energy, Automotive, Fire and Rescue, Criminal Justice, Computer Technology, Communications and Connectivity, and Earn and Learn opportunities.  

Every Maine high school student has access to CTE programs where they can learn valuable skills that prepare them for Maine’s workforce. Totally Trades! provides an opportunity for self-identifying girls and gender expansive youth to explore careers without gender bias, connects them with tradeswomen and female CTE, MCCS, and UMS students and faculty learning and working in trade and technology fields, and links them to valuable education and training options.

For more information about the spring 2021 workshops, contact Suzanne Senechal-Jandreau at 207 768-9635 or Further information is available at
Online Voter Registration and a Corporate Contribution Ban

Democracy Maine’s collaboration between MCCE and LWVME is working hard this Legislative session on voting rights, clean elections & campaign finance reform, election administration, and a variety of other issues. While Maine leads the way with election reform, voting rights, and clean elections, barriers remain within our electoral system. We believe that elections should be as free and accessible as possible. This is why we are fighting for Online Voter Registration (OVR). Forty states and Washington D.C. offer Online Voter Registration, which allows residents to securely and conveniently register to vote and update their personal information over the internet. Why not Maine? 

Additionally, we believe that we can further strengthen our elections by banning corporate contributions. Maine Citizens for Clean Elections is working on a Corporate Contribution Ban bill that would ban corporations donating money directly to candidates. Corporations use political contributions to tip the playing field in their favor. That's not fair. It’s not good for the economy and it’s not good for democracy. Mainers deserve the confidence that their representatives listen to them, not corporate special interests.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month

The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and local sexual assault support centers will be raising awareness in April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. One in five Mainers will experience sexual assault in their lifetime (1) and approximately 50% of calls to the state sexual assault helpline were related to child sexual abuse in 2019 (2).
Follow MECASA on social media for tips all month about how to prevent child sexual abuse and to learn about the work being done to support survivors of sexual violence in Maine. If you are willing, please like and share.
1. Dumont, R & Shaler, G. (2015). Maine Crime Victimization Report: Informing public policy for safer communities. Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine
2. MECASA Center Statistics, 2019.
Maine Alliance for Arts Education - Arts Education Advocacy Day
The Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) held its annual Arts Education Advocacy Day on February 17th. Normally an event held at the State House in Augusta, MAAE’s Advocacy Day was virtual this year. The close to 200 teachers, artists, administrators, legislators, students and parents who attended heard messages from Governor Janet Mills, Education Commissioner Pender Makin, and other state leaders from the field of arts education. One theme of the day was the special challenges that the pandemic has imposed on arts education and how Maine arts educators and their students have been responding. Another theme was the importance of including arts students in future advocacy efforts. As part of that focus the MAAE reported on its recent initiative of organizing student arts advocacy teams at high schools around the state. A panel of the student team leaders spoke, and the audience was encouraged to inquire about forming a team in their own local high schools. For more information about the teams initiative, a complete event recap as well as archived videos of the day, visit the Advocacy Day page of MAAE's website by clicking here.
This is just a small sampling of the critical work MaineShare members do to build a better Maine. Please join us in supporting and learning from the great work of ALL our member groups.
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