We're a group of doers.



2016 Community Investment Process

Members of the Brick & Beam Society, an affinity group of United Way of Greater Portland, are interested in becoming deeply involved in the work of their community through investing their time, skills and finances to make a measurable difference. In its inaugural funding year, Brick & Beam sought to invest in projects that:

  1. benefit early childhood education and childhood poverty,
  2. and are high-impact, sustainable, replicable, innovative, holistic, and collaborative.

The Brick and Beam Society made its 2016 community investments in two phases.


Immediate Impact Summer Investments ($10,000)

On June 10, 2016 the IIC made a series of immediate impact investments to address the summer learning gap:

  • Portland Public Schools’ Summer Reading Program: Brick & Beam's support provided 40 incoming (Title 1) students in grades 3-5 with access to books along with oral reading and comprehension activities ($3,800).
  • Portland Public Schools’ Summer Math Component for Elementary Summer Program: Brick & Beam's investment funded a trial of DreamBox, an online math learning software, at one school. This included the cost of training and a 2-month subscription for students ($2,000).
  • A Company of Girls’ “Art in the Parks” Program: A Company of Girls hosts free weekly art activities for children in Kennedy Park, Riverton Park & Sagamore Village. Brick & Beam's sponsorship allowed books to be purchased and distributed to children who attend the activity (up to $2,200). 
  • Feeding Bodies and Minds’ Summer Picnic for Children in Portland at Deering Oaks Park: This event celebrated Portland's free summer meal sites for kids as well as National Summer Learning Day. Brick and Beam provided Starting Strong tote bags for collecting materials, lunch, and books (up to $2,000). 

Brick and Beam members were offered volunteer opportunities throughout the summer to assist these programs.

Community Night ($50,000)

On October 27, 2016, the Brick and Beam Society Impact Investing Committee (IIC) unanimously decided to award $50,000 to the Congolese Community of Maine (CoCo Maine) for their Dual Generation Program for Early Childhood Education, which will offer English language classes, family literacy initiatives, parenting activities and outreach to parents and children ages 2-5. Their goal is to prepare children and their families for a better transition to kindergarten by providing early opportunities for learning English.

This grant was awarded following a grant process that saw thirteen applicants, three of which were asked to present at Brick and Beam’s Community Night—attended by approximately 75 Brick and Beam and community members—at the Portland House of Music. The two other finalists were The Opportunity Alliance’s Birth to Five Screening Program and Youth and Family Outreach’s Families Matter Program. In addition to the $50,000, the Brick and Beam Society has committed to providing member volunteer hours to assist in the success of CoCo Maine’s Dual Generation program.

Committee Members Needed

The Brick & Beam Society is looking for committee members!  We have had an exciting first year, and are looking forward to delivering great programming and benefits to our community and members in the coming year!  

Are you interested in playing a larger role in the direction and impact of Brick & Beam? Do you have great ideas about the next big event? How about thoughts on recruiting new members? Maybe you have a list of fun and exciting volunteer opportunities? If you answered yes to any of those questions, and even if you didn’t, Brick & Beam needs your help.

We are looking to fill key positions on two new Brick & Beam committees:

Please contact Brick and Beam if you are interested in serving on a committee.



Greater Portland’s leadership will change dramatically over the next 10 years, but the need for connected problem-solvers and visionary leadership will be as great as ever. 

The Brick & Beam Society was created to carry the torch and reinvigorate the next generation of philanthropic and community leaders. We're inheriting a well-loved community and feel a responsibility for making it even stronger. 



We're doers. The Brick & Beam Society offers a meaningful way to forge strong relationships, take action, leave a mark, and make a local difference. 

We take a broad view of the community, bring leaders together, and build momentum for action. The Brick & Beam Society thoughtfully selects and explores an area of focus, and then tackles it holistically. We also leverage United Way of Greater Portland's rich history, resources, knowledge and relationships to get results.

We invest our time, skills, and finances to make a measurable difference that is greater than any of us could do alone. 



Throughout the year, the Brick & Beam Society will offer: 

  • Thoughtful philanthropy events with local and national leaders that help members shape their personal giving philosophy. 
  • Get-your-hands-dirty education and volunteering opportunities to jump knee-deep into the issues. 
  • Purposeful, topical conversations and workshops with executives and thought leaders who are leading the way. 
  • Impact investing where the Society ultimately determines how its dollars are used to make the biggest difference. 


In our inaugural year, the Brick & Beam Society will explore poverty in Greater Portland, particularly its impact on children and education. 



Emily Hopkins (chair), Unum
Katie Bellerose, Gorham Savings Bank
Annie Drew, WEX
Sam Elsner, 
Kepware Technologies
Tim Griffin, H.M. Payson

Trevor Hanly, Vets First Choice
Jess Knox, Olympico Strategies
Kristin Pietroski, TD Bank
Kathryn Rouillard, TCC Group


Zander Abbott, Maine Medical Center
Courtney Beer, Pine Tree Legal
Marci Booth, Low Income Housing Corp.
Michael Bourque, MEMIC
Sean Dugan, MaineHealth
Quincy Hentzel, Industrium
Geoff Homer, Shawnee Peak
Justin Lamontagne, Dunham Group
Becky McKinnell, iBec Creative
Caitlin Prentice, Prentice Hospitality
Oliver Smith, Forge 360