UMC: Celebrating 80 Years of Impact in Midcoast Maine

We’re extremely proud to look back over the past 80 years since UMC was founded and see the profound difference we and the agencies we fund have made on tens of thousands of lives here in Knox and Waldo counties. The good being done here in our piece of coastal earth has a long history and a bright future, thanks to all!

  • 1942

    1942 - 1942

    October 8: United Camden Charities founded.

    In 1942, six organizations came together as United Camden Charities (eventually to become United Midcoast Charities) in urgent need of help. The onset of World War II had curtailed their customary summer parties, entertainments, and other fundraisers. In response, summer residents pitched in to supplement funds that locals donated year-round. 


    The local press quoted the appeal sent on behalf of the Camden Community Hospital, Camden Red Cross Workroom, Camden District Nursing Association, Milk Fund, YMCA, and the Boy Scouts: 

    “Because of the existence of War and consequent restrictions, it was deemed wise by representatives of our activities to dispense with any form of entertainment this year. Our hospital is required to be prepared for any emergency by putting in reserve supplies; the YMCA is asked to care for the Coast Guard and Army stationed here, and the costs of milk and all supplies have greatly increased.”

    United Camden Charities raised $5,569 that first year (the equivalent of raising $97,000 in 2022).

    Incorporators included: J.Hugh Montgomery-Pres., Edward Cornelis-1st VP, Charles Seaverns-2nd VP, Francis Gilbert-3rd VP, Bertha Clason-Scty., Emma Alden-Treas., Clayton McCobb-Asst.Treas., Thomas Crimmins, Elmer Joyce, Charles Wood, P.R. Keller, Milford Payson, Gilbert Laite, Martha Cornelis, Frank Mansfield, William Berger, Florice Pitcher, Edwy Taylor, Helen Montgomery, Zlatko Balokovic, Charles Babb Jr.

    Photo shows the Camden Community Hospital c.1942. Photographer unknown.

    The Camden Herald, Page1, 1942-08-20 (1)

  • 1947

    1947 - 1947

    Camden Area District Nursing Association opens a one-room office on the second floor of the Opera House, where the fee for a visit is $.50 or “at the most, $1,” as reported in The Camden Herald.


    Camden Area District Nursing Association was founded in 1920 at the YMCA on Chestnut Street to provide nursing care to residents in their homes, regardless of their ability to pay.


    Photo Courtesy Visiting Nursing Association of Philadelphia


  • 1949

    1949 - 1949

    United Camden Charities changes name to United Camden-Rockport Charities.


  • 1951

    1951 - 1951

    UMC Logo Icon 2018United Camden-Rockport Charities grantmaking this year included funding for Camden and Rockport Public Beaches.

    The Camden Herald, Page1, 1951-08-09

  • 1953

    1953 - 1953

    UMC Logo Icon 2018United Camden-Rockport Charities first president, J. Hugh Montgomery dies.

    The Camden Herald, Page1, 1953-11-26 (1)

  • 1956

    1956 - 1956

    Two new causes funded (Fire Department Relief Assn. and $1,000 for the purchase of a new ambulance): “…it is hoped that the subscriptions to the United Camden-Rockport Charities, Inc. will be increased …for these new interests which are at the service and for the benefit of all of us.”

    The Camden Herald, Page1, 1956-09-06The Camden Herald, Page1, 1956-09-06


  • 1957

    1957 - 1957

    Laite Memorial Beach (Photo courtesy

    United Camden-Rockport Charities often funded public amenities such as Arthur Walker Memorial Park in Rockport and Laite Memorial Beach in Camden. While the names of some old-time grant recipients have faded into history, many remain today.

    The Camden Herald, Page1, 1957-09-19

    Also this year, 20th Century Fox chooses Camden as the location for the filming of Peyton Place, the movie version of the controversial novel by Grace Metalious that portrayed life in a small New England town. The actual filming of Peyton Place started in June with hundreds of extras from the area hired for $10 a day.

  • 1960

    1960 - 1960

    Camden Home for Aged Women c.1960 is now a recovery home for women and children operated by Midcoast Recovery Coalition.

    United Camden-Rockport Charities continued to support some of its founding causes and some new ones – notably the Camden Home for Aged Women. Projects that the UMC supported decades ago still echo in places such as Rockport’s Walker Park, where a grant in 1960 provided playground equipment, swings, see-saws, and a slide.

    The Camden Herald, Page1, 1960-09-29

    CADNA relocates to a 3-room office in the new hospital on Elm Street. With Salk vaccines becoming available in 1957, a Polio clinic is established there.

  • 1965

    1965 - 1965

    WCAP, aka Waldo Community Action Partners (formerly Waldo County Committee for Social Action) is founded in Montville. Head Start and Neighborhood Youth Corps begin.

    Coastal Community Action Program (CCAP) is incorporated at Penquis Community Action Partners, a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1967 to alleviate and eliminate the causes and conditions of poverty. Through its programs and subsidiaries, Penquis impacts all of Maine’s 16 counties, but primarily serves low- and moderate-income individuals in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Knox counties.

    Methodist Conference Home (MCH) is established in Rockland. Construction begins on Summer Street to provide housing and services to assist all elderly persons with limited incomes to remain independent.


  • 1968

    1968 - 1968

    Rockland District Nursing Association founding nurse Eliza Steele officially retires. Her extraordinary 40-year commitment was recognized during a “Mammoth Retirement Party,” capped by the naming of a city street in her honor. She also received numerous gifts, including a new car and television set.

    Rockland District Nursing Association was founded in 1929 under the auspices of the Red Cross. With the collapse of Community Chest funding in 1940, local residents stepped up to continue this important nursing service. During WWII, RDNA nurses were the face of health care at home while physicians were away at war. 

  • 1969

    1969 - 1969

    MCH opens its 48-unit apartment building on Summer St. in Rockland, providing a home and meals to residents in a common dining room.


  • 1970

    1970 - 1970

    UMC Logo Icon 2018Funds awarded to Camden First Aid Association used for purchase of a new ambulance.

    Also this year, longtime UMC Board member and community supporter William Chatfield died.


    The Camden Herald, Page1, 1970-09-17 



  • 1973

    1973 - 1973

    UMC Logo Icon 2018Seven grants are awarded; more than 190 residents donate. The groups to which the charity contributed this year include the Camden YMCA, Pine Tree Council of Boy Scouts, Rockport’s Walker Park and Youth Recreation, Camden District Nursing Association, Camden Community Hospital, Kennebec Girl Scout Council, and Camden’s Barrett Cove.

    The Camden Herald, Page6, 1973-12-06

    The Community School is founded in Camden by Emanuel Pariser and Dora Lievow as an alternative high school for Maine youth who needed a second chance at earning their high school diplomas.

  • 1976

    1976 - 1976

    Waldo CAP Home Maintenance and Repair Programs introduced, which provides funding to address housing repair and replacement issues of low- and moderate-income households and when available, combines the Home Repair Network Funding with funds provided by Maine Housing, the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program, and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).


  • 1977

    1977 - 1977

    Waldo County YMCA established as “Y without Walls,” serving the community with sports leagues and special events.


  • 1978

    1978 - 1978

    MCH Housing, Inc. is created and eventually will manage the Methodist Conference Home, The Rankin Center, Stevens House, and two other properties owned by other organizations (Knox Hotel Apartments in Thomaston and Stonewood Road Cooperative in Rockland).

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine founded. The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth in Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Penobscot, Somerset, and Waldo Counties.

  • 1979

    1979 - 1979

    Waldo CAP Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) begins. Fuel Assistance, also called LIHEAP, is a federally funded program to help eligible low-income households pay a portion of their home heating bills. Fuel assistance benefits can only be used for fuel delivered to heat your home. LIHEAP will pay directly to your contracted vendor. The Electric Lifeline Program (LIAP/ELP) may be available to low-income households who receive residential electric service.

    MCH receives funding for a HUD demonstration project to provide “aging in place” and support services.

    MCH is an independent, non-profit community service organization whose mission is to empower individuals—primarily older adults and people with disabilities — to maintain independent, active lives by providing access to affordable housing, Meals on Wheels and other supportive services. The MCH service area includes the entire community of Knox County, located in Midcoast Maine.


  • 1981

    1981 - 1981

    Victims of domestic violence create New Hope for Women, Inc.* (NHFW), a 501.c3 nonprofit organization, with ten hotline volunteers and a part-time Executive Director. The agency is one of six domestic violence projects in Maine.


    * Note: New Hope For Women changed its name to New Hope Midcoast in 2022.


  • 1985

    1985 - 1985

    New Hope Midcoast expands to Belfast. The Newcastle office moves to Damariscotta. The agency provides individual and group support for children in response to increased funding. New Hope Midcoast provides the tools to assist victim-survivors in choosing the path that is right for them. Its services are centered on helping survivors.


  • 1986

    1986 - 1986

    Tanglewood 4H Camp, Lincolnville. (Photo courtesy Jenna Lookner-VillageSoup)

    United Midcoast Charities grantees Include: Coastal Family Hospice, The Community School, New Hope for Women, Tanglewood 4-H, Methodist Conference Home (Meals on Wheels)

    The Camden Herald, Page13, 1986-10-30

  • 1989

    1989 - 1989

    Midcoast Habitat For Humanity is founded, dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.  Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.


  • 1990

    1990 - 1990

    Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry and Energy Assistance is founded by area congregations, with operations based at Rockland Congregational Church on Limerock Street and the goal of creating one convenient place where people in need could go for nourishing food or energy assistance within Knox County. The founders recognized that there were many people in the community who needed help.

  • 1991

    1991 - 1991

    Waldo Community Action Partners (Waldo CAP) moves to Belfast.


  • 1993

    1993 - 1993

    Methodist Conference Home (aka, MCH) purchases The Rankin Center in Rockland, a 50-unit subsidized housing project for elderly and adults with disabilities.


  • 1994

    1994 - 1994

    UMC Logo Icon 201821 agencies receive grants from UMC: Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Mid-Coast Maine, Camden District Nursing Assn., Camden First Aid Assn., Camden Area YMCA, Camden Home for Senior Citizens, Camden Health Care Center, Coastal Workshops Inc., The Community School, Community Service Projects, Freedom Riders, Kno-Wal-Lin/Coastal Family Hospice, Knox County Abuse and Neglect Council, Literacy Volunteers, Methodist Conference Home (Meals On Wheels), Midcoast Children’s Services, Mid Coast Substance Abuse Council, New Hope For Women, Salvation Army, Tanglewood 4-H Camp, Toy Library Center, Youth Arts.


    NHFW establishes Transitional Housing Program, with four units in Knox & Waldo counties.

    Trekkers established as a 501.c3 nonprofit organization to address challenges of youth in the community who lack meaningful connections and mentors.

    Waldo CAP’s Head Start building finished in Unity.

    The Community School, now supporting 40 students, launches Passages Program to serve teen parents through a home-based, self-paced high school diploma program.

  • 1995

    1995 - 1995

    Waldo YMCA designated a stand alone 501.c3 nonprofit organization to promote the physical, mental, social, and spiritual development of Waldo County children and families.


    Second annual “Making Miracles” fundraising event takes place in Camden.


    The Camden Herald, Page1, 1995-12-07 (1) (1)

  • 1996

    1996 - 1996

    UMC Logo Icon 201828 agencies receive funding, including Teen Parent Program and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

    Waldo CAP purchases and renovates a building for Searsport Head Start.

  • 1997

    1997 - 1997

    UMC Logo Icon 2018United Camden-Rockport Charities changes name to United Mid-Coast Charities (UMCC) to “more accurately reflect the geographical area served by the charity,” to now include all of Knox and Waldo counties. UMCC President Charlton Ames describes mission as “to support charities that provide social services and care to the most deserving, including medical, physical, social or community educational services.”


    UMC distributes record amount of funding to area nonprofits.


    The Camden Herald, Page1, 1997-10-30 (1) (1)

    Belfast Public Nursing joins Waldo County General Hospital.


    BPN was established c.1919.

  • 1998

    1998 - 1998

    Methodist Conference Home (aka, MCH) completes The Bartlett Woods Cooperative, now renamed Stonewood Road Cooperative, with 14 cottage units for independent living.


  • 1999

    1999 - 1999

    Knox Clinic opens its doors in Rockland, the vision of founders Dr. Paul and Jeannie Klainer to provide primary medical care to the working people of Knox County.


  • 2000

    2000 - 2000

    Area Interfaith Outreach Food and Energy Assistance (AIO) moves operations to ground floor of building that becomes Machias Savings Bank at corner of Glen Street and Route 1 (aka, Shaw’s Plaza).

    The first “Cross-America” Trek introduces Trekkers students to the Grand Canyon.

  • 2001

    2001 - 2001

    Waldo YMCA opens new building to become “Y Without Walls”; adds pre-school, before/after school care, and TeenTime (free after-school program for teens).

    Knox Clinic adds Dental Program to its services for Knox County residents with or without insurance and those on Medicaid.

  • 2003

    2003 - 2003

    New Hope For Women (aka, New Hope Midcoast) adds two more transitional housing units in Lincoln County.

    Knox Clinic begins program to assist patients in obtaining free medications through a Prescription Assistance Program (PAP).

  • 2004

    2004 - 2004

    Neighbor-for-Neighbor Coalition is formed with other local agencies with the goal of making Holiday food and gift resources more equitable by preventing duplication of services.

  • 2005

    2005 - 2005

    New Hope For Women (aka, New Hope Midcoast) offers court and legal programs.

    Restorative Justice Project (RJP) founded under fiscal sponsorship of Unitarian Universalist Church in Belfast, serving 26 youth, 5 court-referred adults and 9 post-incarceration individuals in Waldo County with one staff person and 60 volunteers.

    Waldo YMCA offers overseas AOA (Active Older Adults) trip to Ireland.

    Coastal Community Action Program merges with Penquis CAP, Inc.

  • 2006

    2006 - 2006

    AIO relocates to former Salvation Army building at Cedar and Brewster Street; launches first capital campaign to purchase a building on Thomaston Street.

  • 2007

    2007 - 2007

    Penquis assumes operation of Knox County Head Start.

  • 2008

    2008 - 2008

    RJP becomes 501.c3 nonprofit organization with mission to promote justice that is community-based, repairs harm, and creates safety and well-being for all

    Knox Clinic expands to include Mental health and wellness services.

  • 2009

    2009 - 2009

    First “Holiday Pops” concert performed by Maine Pro Musica at the Strom Auditorium, with net proceeds going to UMC.


    AIO purchases Thomaston Street building.

    New Hope for Women (aka, New Hope Midcoast) purchased the Butler House in Rockland, where the agency is currently located.

    Waldo YMCA opens Tom & Sally Savage Pool Complex for aquatics fitness and therapy.

    Waldo CAP takes over coordination of The Cinderella Project, prom dress giveaway program.

    Belfast Soup Kitchen founded; replaces former St. Francis Soup Kitchen. BSK operates five days/week as only kitchen serving free meals in Waldo County.

  • 2010

    2010 - 2010

    Waldo YMCA partners creates annual Special Olympics Swim Meet with local law enforcement agencies. Also partners with schools on Bert & Coral Clifford First Grade Swim Safety Program.

    Belfast Soup Kitchen obtains 501.c(3) nonprofit status. Hires first full-time manager.

  • 2011

    2011 - 2011

    The Community School merges with Opportunity Farm, becoming Wayfinder Schools.

    Midcoast Habitat For Humanity ReStore opens on Rte. 90 in Rockport.

  • 2013

    2013 - 2013

    Waldo County Dental Care founded, becoming Maine’s first hospital-owned dental “safety net” clinic, providing low-income, uninsured adults with access to affordable oral hygiene and dental services.


  • 2014

    2014 - 2014

    Knox County Homeless Coalition established as a 501.c3 nonprofit organization; Purchases and re-opens The Hospitality House as a family shelter in Rockport.

    Waldo CAP expands MaineCare transportation services outside of Waldo County into Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc Counties.

  • 2015

    2015 - 2015

    AIO adds Weekend Backpack Program (now, Weekend Meal Program) to provide healthy meals to students.

    KCHC purchases 5 acres with buildings adjoining its property to strengthen its support services.

  • 2016

    2016 - 2016

    KCHC launches its first Adopt-A-Family for the Holidays program.

    Trekkers Training Institute is founded, providing training, coaching, and professional development opportunities. Youth programs informed by Trekkers’ principles now in place within five other communities throughout Maine.

    People to People holiday food box program ends and Waldo CAP takes over project as “Heroes 4 Hunger.”

    Community Investors of Knox County founded with United Midcoast Charities as fiscal agent.

  • 2017

    2017 - 2017

    UMCC designated as a “2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit” by Great Nonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews of charities and nonprofits.

    KCHC’s The Landing Place youth program launches in Rockland.





    MCH opens its new kitchen, dining room, and living room for congregate dining and the rapidly expanding Knox County Meals on Wheels Program.

  • 2018

    2018 - 2018

    United Midcoast Charities LogoUMCC announces new name, United Midcoast Charities, along with renewed Vision and Mission Statement: “Identifying needs. Supporting solutions. UMC energizes Midcoast Maine nonprofits through finance and guidance, supporting a network of resources stronger than any single organization. UMC’s primary focus areas are food, housing, health & safety and economic security.” Hires first ever Executive Director.


    AIO purchases property at 1A Gordon Drive.

    Waldo YMCA dedicates Dale Cross Pavillon, celebrating 35 years of service by Dale Cross.

    KCHC formalizes its collaboration with Midcoast Habitat for Humanity and Maine State Housing Authority to develop innovative solutions for rural housing.

    Waldo County Dental Care begins accepting pediatric patients.

    Belfast Soup Kitchen launches capital campaign to purchase land and build new facility to keep up with growing need.

  • 2019

    2019 - 2019

    United Midcoast Charities receives “Gold Seal of Transparency” from GuideStar, a leading source of information about nonprofit organizations. Introduces “Learn With UMC” capacity-building workshops and resources to its services for area nonprofit organizations.


    Area Interfaith Outreach Food and Energy Assistance (AIO) launches new building capital campaign: “More Food. More Often.” AIO’s two core programs—Food Assistance and Energy Assistance—ensure that Knox County residents who are food or energy insecure receive the support they need.

    Knox County Homeless Coalition Executive Director Stephanie Primm appointed Chair of Statewide Homeless Council by Governor Janet Mills. KCHC envisions a supportive community within which all families and individuals have the opportunity for housing and a sustainable productive life.

    Waldo Community Action Partners (Waldo CAP) adds Community & Resource Advocacy Services, designed to ensure a successful pathway toward permanent economic security for all its program participants.

    Midcoast Habitat for Humanity begins construction at Philbrick Commons, a 12-house neighborhood in Rockland.

  • 2020

    2020 - 2020

    UMC-Logo-IconUnited Midcoast Charities creates a “Rapid Response Fund” to provide fast-turnaround, emergency funding for agencies reeling from the extraordinary and unexpected impacts of the pandemic.


    AIO completes capital campaign and building in September; hires first employees: Warehouse Manager, Energy Assistant Manager, and Weekend Meal Manager.

    New Hope For Women (aka, New Hope Midcoast) rises to the challenge of the COVID pandemic by implementing a chat service and by working with area lodging sites to provide 3,056 shelter nights. Calls, time spent on calls, and remote contacts all increase significantly. At height of pandemic, NHFW creates a long-term emergency hoteling program for victims and families, supporting an average of five families in its catchment area.

    RJP reaches threshold of serving more than 500 youth participants, 120 court-referred adults, and c.500 post-incarceration individuals with 14 staff and 250+ active volunteers; training reaches 8,500+ Midcoast residents. RJP acts as fiscal agent to Youth Led Justice.

    To address challenges of pandemic, Waldo YMCA partners with local schools to offer remote learning, launches monthly food and blood drives, and reorients to prevent further spread of COVID, offering safe childcare for working families and ways to combat social isolation for all ages.

    KCHC’s The Landing Place opens four efficiency apartments and wraparound services for emancipated minors and young adults, ages 18-21.

    Trekkers purchases first-ever building at 325 Old County Road in Rockland.

    Waldo CAP offers Rent Relief Program in response to pandemic.

    Belfast Soup Kitchen completes construction of new facility; moves to larger space and expands services; upgrades to well-equipped commercial kitchen; receives “Best Business Growth” from the Belfast Chamber of Commerce. Hires first Executive Director.




    Midcoast Habitat For Humanity receives Willow Street property in Camden to create a permanently affordable family home.


    Due to the pandemic, MCH’s Meals on Wheels reduces its delivery to twice weekly, while still delivering two hot meals and three frozen ones.

  • 2021

    2021 - 2021

    Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry and Energy Assistance (AIO) hires first Executive Director; adds Diaper Program; Board President Liz Jenkins receives “2020 Community Service Award” from Penobscot Bay Chamber of Commerce.


    New Hope Midcoast, formerly New Hope For Women, celebrates 40th year; grant funding increases Transitional Housing Program to 17 units across four counties.

    RJP supports 17 institutions through training and implementation-coaching for hire respective setting, including schools, sober living residences, and carceral facilities; surpasses 800 community building circles and 1,000 harm repair processes.

    Waldo CAP purchases 78 acres in Belfast for new building.

    Belfast Soup Kitchen serves record-high 91,850 meals to individuals, families, children and veterans.

    Midcoast Habitat For Humanity builds a single-family home on Long Cove Road in collaboration with St. George Community Development Corp. In 2021, total volunteer hours for all MHFH projects and ReStore exceed12,600, diverting 159 tons of waste from landfills. Since its founding, MHFH has assisted 41 families with a hand up into homeownership.

    MCH’s partnership with CDC/Walgreens/CVS brings vaccine clinics to its MCH and Rankin Center facilities to vaccinate residents, employees, and active Meals On Wheels drivers.

    Knox Clinic surpasses $20 Million worth of free medication donated to the community since launching its Prescription Assistance Program in 2003.

  • 2022

    2022 - 2022

    Area Interfaith Outreach Food and Energy Assistance (AIO) enrolls more than 200 new families; pantry visits increase 200%; 275 families receive fuel assistance; nearly 400 students enrolled in Weekend Meal Program; Diaper Assistance Program provides 16,000+ diapers; “Fill The Strand” event launches, raising more than $27,000.


    New Hope Midcoast is on track to open 11 additional transitional housing units, including its first in Sagadahoc County.

    Wayfinder Schools now serve up to 65 students per year through a home-based high school program.

    Midcoast Habitat For Humanity begins Talbot Avenue pilot project in Rockland to create affordable rental and homeownership opportunities.

    MCH Meals On Wheels returns to delivering five hot meals per day.

    Knox Clinic grows to include 100 volunteers donating 5,000 hours of their time and talent to provide 700 dental visits, 750 mental health and wellness visits, 800 medical visits, and $1.8 million(!) worth of free medications to the community every year.