John Viehman Named United Midcoast Charities Executive Director

We’re pleased to announce that the board of United Midcoast Charities (UMC) has selected John Viehman as its new executive director.

Viehman has had a long publishing and broadcasting career while also engaging in many community activities. His magazines and two PBS series, “Trailside” and “Anyplace Wild,” received multiple National Magazine Awards and Emmy nominations, and he has frequently provided expert testimony to the U.S. Congress in support of outdoor recreation and wilderness preservation. In recent years, he has been a sales representative for the Courier Publications and VillageSoup network of news outlets.

Viehman joined the UMC board in 2014 after serving for six years on its communications committee. He was UMC’s board chair and president from 2015 through 2019. During that time, the organization undertook a strategic planning process to develop its explicit vision, mission, values, goals, and supportive work plans. As part of that process, UMC hired Williams, who worked closely with Viehman to create comprehensive policies and procedures.

Viehman serves on the boards of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Rockport Library Foundation, and on the Rockport Planning Board. He is a past mentor and Midcoast coordinator for the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs’ “Top Gun” business mentoring program and belongs to the West Bay Rotary Club.

UMC President Betsy Saltonstall welcomed Viehman’s appointment:

“John’s firm devotion to that mission, his deep experience as a UMC volunteer, and his skills as a professional communicator have already contributed greatly to our progress during the past several years. We are delighted to know that he soon will be leading us as executive director.”

Viehman, who will assume his new role on November 5, said, “Taking on the role of executive director is one of those rare opportunities where I can apply the best practices and skillsets I’ve honed throughout my professional career and merge them with my passion for improving the welfare of our community. It really is a dream job for me.”

OUR MISSION
Identifying needs. Supporting solutions.
United Midcoast Charities energizes Midcoast Maine nonprofits through finance and guidance, supporting a network of resources stronger than any single organization. Our focus areas are food, housing, health & safety and economic security.

For more information, visit UnitedMidcoastCharities.org

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Funding Available for Knox County Emergency Food and Shelter Program

UMC has convened a Local Board and applications are now open for Federal Emergency Food and Shelter (EFSP) funding. Knox County was awarded $29,912 through the current EFSP and CARES funding cycle to provide resources to local organizations that meet emergency food and shelter needs.

EFSP and CARES funding will support special emergency assistance in the areas of food, shelter, or rent, mortgage, and utility assistance to be used by May 31, 2021. EFSP funds are intended to provide assistance over and above those services already provided through agencies’ annual budgets. The minimum award amount for these phases is $5,000.

UMC will provide administrative support for Knox County EFSP and CARES distribution. Funding decisions are made by the Local Board of community volunteers, under the guidance of the State Set-Aside Committee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

To be eligible for funds, an organization must: hold a 501c3 tax designation; have adequate accounting and information systems to support required documentation; practice nondiscrimination; demonstrate the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter services in Knox County; and document a current valid volunteer board.

The application will be available soon at unitedmidcoastcharities.org or by calling 207-236-2299. All interested agencies are encouraged to consult Local Board chair Kelly Carey by phone or at kelly@unitedmidcoastcharities.org for support in crafting a strong application. Applications are due by 5 pm, Sunday August 23rd.

 

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UMC Convenes Local Board to Distribute EFSP and CARES Funds

UMC is convening the Local Board for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) to distribute federal funding for emergency food and shelter in Knox County. These funds will be made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. The Emergency Food and Shelter Program began in 1983 with a $50 million federal appropriation and was created by Congress to help meet the needs of hungry and homeless people.

The Phase 37 Local Board, assembled by United Midcoast Charities, is charged with distributing available funds. The Local Board will determine how the funds will be awarded and distributed among providers of emergency food and shelter in Knox County. The Local Board is responsible to review and recommend agencies to receive these funds, and any additional funds made available under all phases of the program.  Any nonprofit, faith-based, or local government agency that provides emergency food and shelter services in Knox County may apply for funding under both EFSP and CARES.

Agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact United Midcoast Charities for an application. Applications will open in early August and funding will be awarded by early September. Interested agencies are encouraged to call UMC Program Coordinator Kelly Carey at 207-236-2299 as early as possible.

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FPFP_creditWinkyLewisFood

UMC Partners with Full Plates Full Potential to Feed Kids

UMC recently partnered with the statewide student hunger prevention organization, Full Plates Full Potential, to help provide grants to school districts in Knox and Waldo counties. UMC’s new Rapid Response Fund (RRF) has made this funding possible as hunger rates are expected to soar due to the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Making sure kids have access to nutritious meals every day is a top priority,” said Full Plates Full Potential Co-Director Justin Alfond. “We are pleased to collaborate with UMC during the pandemic to help make summer meals available for children in Knox and Waldo counties. And we’d like to thank the community members who have contributed to UMC’s Rapid Response Fund.”

Every dollar donated to UMC’s Rapid Response Fund is put to use for RRF grants. RRF funding decisions and awards have a one-week or less turnaround time. Additional contributions from the community will help with emergency needs, such as:

•                     Food for local pantries experiencing an unprecedented surge in need

•                     Soup kitchens seeing more families needing hot meals for the first time

•                     Housing solutions for homeless families

•                     Help and housing for domestic violence victims

•                     Meal delivery service for home-bound and elderly folks

•                     In-home nursing services to keep elderly patients out of the ER

 

UMC’s initial goal is to raise at least $100,000 to help with local pandemic-related needs. For more information and to contribute, please visit unitedmidcoastcharities.org/rrf. For a full list of summer meal grantees, please visit https://www.fullplates.org/news/all-of-the-summer-meals-emergency-fund-grantees-mapped/.

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Penobscot Bay YMCANews

United Midcoast Charities Awards $442,000 in Grants to Meet Essential Needs

Funding for Knox and Waldo Counties

Photo courtesy Penobscot Bay YMCA
Caption: Penobscot Bay YMCA received a 2020 UMC grant to help provide access to childcare for Knox County and Lincolnville residents.

UMC has expedited our annual grants review process to award $442,000 to 32 nonprofits in Knox and Waldo counties earlier than usual to ease financial burdens brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants will help residents with needs in four focus areas: food, housing, health and safety, and economic security.

“It’s an honor and privilege to announce this year’s UMC grant awards three months ahead of schedule,” said United Midcoast Charities Board President Betsy Saltonstall. “This early release of funds will enable our nonprofit partners to meet the increased needs they’re encountering in our communities as they continue and expand their work.”

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Belfast Soup KitchenNews

United Midcoast Charities Awards $39,000 in Rapid Response Grants

Photo Credit: Marti Stone
Caption: The Belfast Soup Kitchen recently received a grant from UMC’s Rapid Response Fund

We are pleased to announce the latest round of grant awards from UMC’s new Rapid Response Fund (RRF), which provides stopgap support for local nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UMC’s Rapid Response Grants totaled $39,000 in April and May. The awards included:

·         $3,000 to the Belfast Soup Kitchen to support increased costs associated with COVID-19

·         $5,000 to MidCoast Recovery Coalition to assist newly released inmates needing shelter

·         $3,750 to New Hope for Women for emergency shelter for domestic violence victims

·         $5,000 to the Rockland Salvation Army to support the increased need for food services

·         $5,000 to Finding Our Voices for a domestic violence awareness mailing to Waldo County residents

·         $5,000 to AIO Food and Energy Assistance to support a new warehouse manager in coordinating the efforts of local pantries to meet increased food needs

·         $5,000 to Waldo Community Action Partners to improve web-based communications about available services

In addition to individual donors, local organizations partnering with UMC on the Rapid Response Fund include Bangor Savings Bank, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust (BHBT), and West Bay Rotary Club. West Bay Rotary called on the community to match its contribution of $10,000, to achieve a total donation to the fund of more than $20,000.

“We are pleased to partner with UMC and so many community members who are stepping forward to make a difference,” said Jack Frost, BHBT’s director of community giving. “The Rapid Response Fund is having a positive impact on the tremendous work so many nonprofits are doing at this time to help with basic needs.”

UMC continues to receive far more requests for this type of urgent funding than the current fund balance can support. When donations come in, 100 percent are put to use for RRF grants. RRF funding decisions and awards have a one-week or less turnaround time. Additional contributions from the community will help with emergency needs, such as:

•                     Food for local pantries experiencing an unprecedented surge in need

•                     Soup kitchens seeing more families needing hot meals for the first time

•                     Housing solutions for homeless families

•                     Help and housing for domestic violence victims

•                     Meal delivery service for home-bound and elderly folks

•                     Support for those in substance abuse recovery

UMC’s initial goal is to raise at least $100,000 to help with local pandemic-related needs. For more information and to contribute, please visit unitedmidcoastcharities.org/rrf.

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Islesboro Community CenterNews

United Midcoast Charities Awards First Round of Rapid Response Grants

Image Caption: Cooking in the Community Kitchen for the Islesboro Community Care and Comfort Program. The project recently received a grant from UMC’s Rapid Response Fund.

Funds for Food, Shelter, Basic Needs

UMC’s first round of grant recipients have received awards from the new Rapid Response Fund (RRF), which the organization created to provide stopgap support for local nonprofits during the covid-19 pandemic.

The first round of grants totaled $7,750: $5,000 to Knox County Homeless Coalition to fund temporary and safe housing solutions; $1,500 to Islesboro Community Center’s Care and Comfort Program for food and supplies for community kitchen meal delivery to shut-ins; and $750 to One Less Worry to supply toilet paper for local food pantry clients.

In addition to individual donors, several local organizations have stepped up to partner with UMC on the Rapid Response Fund. They include Bangor Savings Bank, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, and West Bay Rotary. West Bay Rotary launched a challenge campaign on April 14, calling on the community to match the club’s pledge of $5,000. To donate through their campaign and double your donation, visit https://unitedmidcoastcharities.org/wbr.

Since the onset of the pandemic, UMC has received far more requests for this type of urgent funding than the current fund balance can support. When donations come in, 100 percent are put to use immediately. RRF funding decisions and awards have a quick one-week or less turnaround time. Nonprofit requests of at least $50,000 are awaiting funding to help with:

  • Food for local pantries (pantries are hitting record highs in food services, giving out more food boxes in two hours than they typically give out in a month, with 70 percent going to first-time clients)
  • Additional housing solutions for homeless families
  • Domestic violence hotlines currently experiencing increased call volume
  • Increased demand for meal delivery service for home-bound and elderly folks.
  • Crucial need for support among those in substance abuse recovery
  • Essential public transportation for single riders who have essential jobs or needs.

UMC’s Executive Director Megan Williams says this is the tip of the iceberg, and she fully expects needs for services to continue to grow for several months.

UMC’s initial goal is to raise a minimum of $100,000 to help with local pandemic-related needs. For more information and to contribute, please visit unitedmidcoastcharities.org/covid-19-response/.

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News

Rapid Response Fund & Additional Support for Midcoast Nonprofits

In keeping with our mission to support Midcoast Maine nonprofits through finance and guidance, United Midcoast Charities announced a new fund and other steps they are taking in response to the coronavirus crisis here in our Midcoast community.

Rapid Response Fund
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UMC has established a Rapid Response Fund. 100% of all donations received will go out as support for local nonprofits that are meeting the immediate needs of individuals seeking help in Knox and Waldo counties. The Fund is intended to provide stopgap support and anticipates the likelihood that local nonprofits will find themselves under-resourced to serve a growing demand for their services. Donations are now being accepted toward this fund at https://unitedmidcoastcharities.org/covid-19-response/.

Information for nonprofits in need of Rapid Response funding will be available soon on this website.

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UPDATE TO UMC COMMUNITY REGARDING COVID-19

Staff and board leaders of United Midcoast Charities are monitoring developments in the worldwide spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). We understand that this is an uncertain time and we wanted to reach out to you, our friends and supporters.

UMC is committed to being a steady partner – to our donors, our grantees, our nonprofits and our community at large. Even during uncertain times, we are determined to live out our values of IntegrityTransparency, Responsibility, Service and Collaboration in our actions:

  • We are looking to create virtual learning experiences for our upcoming workshops, instead of gathering in person.
  • UMC has also made the decision for the time being to move as many in-person meetings to virtual meetings as we are able, and this includes our upcoming board and committee meetings.
  • For essential in-person meetings or small gatherings, let’s all encourage common sense hygiene such as avoiding shaking hands, frequent hand washing, coughing and sneezing into sleeves, and staying home if you are not feeling well.
  • We encourage everyone to understand the facts about COVID-19 in order to make rational decisions. UMC is committed to sharing only information from trusted and validated sources. We recommend regularly checking the website of the Maine Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) or calling 2-1-1 for the latest information on COVID-19 in Maine. For other locations, please check your State’s CDC for guidance.
UMC believes our community is stronger when we work together

The possibility of emotional distress as a result of recommended isolation measures is very real (for all of us). The time to come together in trust as a community is now. Reach out to your friends, relatives and neighbors via phone and email and facilitate connections and conversation despite our need to physically distance ourselves. Let’s rally together and take care of each other.

UMC’s nonprofit grantees are continuing their crucial work of providing food, shelter, care and assistance to our friends and neighbors who need it. This is not an optional task, and our entire community is stronger because we have such supports in place. Those served by our grantees will be hit hardest by the repercussions of this pandemic and the needs will be even greater, so please consider how you might provide additional support during and after this crisis. Can you purchase extra food or supplies and share with a local shelter or pantry? Can you send a special donation to help offset additional needs? Even a small act like sending an encouraging note to your favorite nonprofit letting them know that you are thinking of them and that they are doing a good job can lift the spirits of those on the front lines.

And finally, this quote from Dora Mills, Chief Health Improvement Officer for MaineHealthmay resonate with many of us, “…it is also important – even if our lives and plans are disrupted – that we develop and maintain routines, that we talk about what’s going on and how it feels, and that we also plan to have some fun and enjoy each other’s company. During such times, we can feel more rooted and steady if we make sure to take time each day to enjoy something meaningful that warms our hearts.”

UMC is here to serve our community as best we can during this worrying time. Please email or call us with any suggestions, questions or concerns.

Thank you all for warming our hearts, always.

Sincerely,

Megan Williams
Executive Director 

207-236-2299

Betsy Saltonstall
Board President

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UPDATE on UMC’s EVENTS

Staff and board leaders of United Midcoast Charities are monitoring developments in the worldwide spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Many large gatherings and events have been canceled or postponed. The presenters for our March 13 workshop have therefore decided to postpone the event out of an abundance of caution.

At this time, UMC currently plans to continue with our plans for other upcoming small gatherings. This may change with developing guidance. We encourage common sense hygiene for attendees such as avoiding shaking hands, frequent hand washing, coughing and sneezing into sleeves, and staying home if you are not feeling well. We plan to allow for social distancing at our gatherings. Additionally, if you have traveled outside the state to areas with community transmission, please consider limiting your attendance at meetings and events until the window for symptoms has passed.

If our plans change as conditions are monitored, we will inform all registered attendees via email and we will put notices up on our facebook page and our website. Please call us at 207-236-2299 with any questions or concerns.

We encourage everyone to understand the facts about COVID-19 in order to make rational decisions. To that end, we recommend regularly checking the website of the Maine Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) or calling 211 for the latest information on COVID-19 in Maine.

Sincerely,
Megan Williams
Executive Director, UMC

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