We're a group of doers.



Community Investment Process

Members of the Brick & Beam Society invest their time, skills, and finances to make a measurable difference in their community. Brick & Beam invests 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 makes community investments in two phases.

Summer Investments

Summer 2018 ($47,848)

In March 2018, the Brick & Beam Society Impact Investing Committee (IIC) announced investments in the following programs:

  • Westbrook School Department: Establish “Brick and Beam Bookshelves” in each of three elementary school libraries. The shelves will be mobile carts which will house collections of approximately 200 books a piece ($12,915).

  • USM Portland Empowered Early Childhood Parent Engagement Initiative: Support to host shared space cafes with a focus on engaging parents around topics pertinent to early childhood ($5,000).

  • Boys and Girls Club: Logo Robotics kits and expansion kits, which allows BGCSM to offer Robotics to 2nd & 3rd graders at Portland, Riverton, and Sagamore Clubhouses ($4,928).

  • Portland Family Shelter: Supports a 4-week, 4 days/wk, 4hrs/day summer program for lower elementary homeless youth staying at Portland’s family shelter ($15,000).

  • Sea Change Yoga: Trauma informed yoga for youth with special needs and their parents’/caregivers ($10,000).

Summer 2017 ($17,370)

On April 19, 2017, the IIC unanimously voted to support the following programs:

  • Walker Memorial Library: Purchase of 120 books in French and Arabic, Westbrook's two most spoken foreign languages. ($1,600).

  • Portland Public Schools Summer Reading Program: Summer book packs and staffing for 40 students at Reiche School and 40 students at Presumpscott School in Portland ($4,770).

  • Mayo Street Arts: Support for summer programming including free summer tutoring by East End School staff, free RAD literacy based arts education programming (Reading, Arts, Dance), and free lunch. ($11,000).

Summer 2016 ($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: Books and reading comprehension activities for 40 students in grades 3-5 ($3,800).

  • Portland Public Schools’ Summer Math Component for Elementary Summer Program: Online math learning software at one school ($2,000).

  • A Company of Girls’ “Art in the Parks” Program: Books for children at weekly art activities program in Portland ($2,200).

  • Feeding Bodies and Minds’ Summer Picnic for Children: Starting Strong tote bags with materials, lunch, and books ($2,000).

Annual Community Night 

Following an extensive application process, the Impact Investment Committee makes a significant community investment each year through the Brick & Beam Society’s annual Community Night.

Fall 2018 ($75,000)

LearningWorks and Side X Side were awarded $50,000 to pilot an after-school program in Portland, South Portland, and Westbrook that integrates creativity and the arts with science, technology, and math.

Intercultural Community Center was awarded $25,000 to build a computer lab that will support online language tools and provide students access to computer science, robotics, and engineering programming.

Fall 2017 ($51,400)

Mayo Street Arts was awarded $26,400 to expand Summer Programs for Youth, the RAD (Reading, Arts, Dance) program, and the free lunch program provided by the Opportunity Alliance.

Youth and Family Outreach was awarded $25,000 for their Families Matter Program, which educates families on how to prepare meals, shop and cook on a budget–creating building blocks that families can use to create habits of eating healthy meals together. 

Fall 2016 ($50,000)

The Congolese Community of Maine (CoCo Maine) was awarded $50,000 for their Dual Generation Program for Early Childhood Education, which offers English language classes, family literacy initiatives, parenting activities, and outreach to parents and children ages 2-5. 



Greater Portland’s leadership will change dramatically over the next 10 years, and 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 invigorate the next generation of philanthropic and community leaders. We are 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.

Members 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.

Brick & Beam members invest their time, skills, and finances to make a measurable difference.


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

  • Thoughtful philanthropic events with local and national leaders that help members shape their personal giving philosophy.
  • Hands on education and volunteering opportunities to truly understand the issues.
  • Purposeful, topical conversations and workshops with executives and thought leaders.
  • Impact investing where Brick & Beam Society ultimately determines how its dollars are used to make the biggest difference.


We support early childhood education with a focus on reducing the impact of childhood poverty in Cumberland County.


The Brick & Beam Society is cultivating a community of purposeful philanthropic leaders that is impactful, personally meaningful, and inclusive. Annual membership contribution is $1,000. A three-year, step-up option is available that starts with an initial contribution of $500.



Emily Hopkins, Vets First Choice*†
Co-Chair, Steering Committee; Co-Chair, Membership & Programming Committee

Tim Griffin, H.M. Payson*^
Co-Chair, Steering Committee           

Ashley DiPietro, Maine Medical Center*†
Co-Chair, Membership & Programming Committee  

Sam Elsner, PTC Kepware*^
Co-Chair, Impact Investment Committee     

Sarah Oliver, Unum*^
Co-Chair, Impact Investment Committee        


Tawny Alvarez, Verrill Dana LLP†
Courtney Beer, Pine Tree Legal Assistance Inc.^
Jim Cardosi, Macpage LLC ^
Nicole Castonguay, PTC Kepware†
Annie Drew, WEX Inc.*^
Hadje Esmiller, Macpage LLC^
Trav Fournier, Maine Street Capital^
Desmond Gilliard, WEX Inc.*^
Hannah Levy, Unum†
Samuel Seekins, Unum ^
Eric Sharkey, Unum ^
Oliver Smith, Forge 360*
Mike Young, Unum*†^

* Steering Committee
^ Impact Investment Committee
† Membership & Programming Committee