Summer 2017 – Immediate Impact Investments

It’s been a few months since the Brick & Beam Society awarded $50,000 to the Congolese Community of Maine (CoCoMaine, see previous post: “Impact Investing 101: CoCoMaine with Impact Investment Committee Members” ) and opportunities to get more involved are definitely available; you can click here to access more information.

So, what have United Way of Greater Portland’s emerging leaders been up to since then?

We recently caught up with the Impact Investing Committee, including Chair, Sam Elsner, Vice-Chair, Sarah Oliver and former Chair, Annie Drew, to discuss how Brick & Beam came to choose and fund CoCoMaine.

The members framed it like this: “Who wouldn’t be funded without us?” With that question in mind, Brick & Beam cast its sights on other partners supporting early-childhood education and challenging childhood poverty. Brick & Beam is also on board with Thrive2027 – Greater Portland’s ten-year community-wide goals.

As the group journeyed through the investment process— including all three programs with intent to pick only one, a mission moment became clear. Supported by the growth of new Brick & Beam members and returning members, there was enough money to invest in the community beyond a single option. To move it all forward, Brick & Beam made the following immediate impact investments for summer 2017:

Mayo Street Arts

Provision of support for a summer program that will link young people and families in Kennedy Park, East Bayside, and other pockets of Greater Portland to quality summer learning in three ways:

  • Summer Tutoring: Daily free tutoring at MSA for kids by East End School staff;
  • Summer Lunch Site: MSA’s facility to serve as a free lunch site for children in the program;
  • RAD (Reading, Art, and Dance) Program: Free literacy-based arts enrichment of MSA’s RAD pilot program.

Portland Public Schools

Improving on last year’s PPS summer reading program at Reiche and Presumpscot schools, funding would support three upgrades:

  • Family Connect: Connecting with students’ families and preparing them to support reading at home;
  • Interests/ Reading Levels: Targeting books to students’ interests and reading levels;
  • Family Check-in: Following up with families when students do not send in weekly postcards— if able, working with Project READS as an outside service.

Walker Public Library

Investing in Arabic and French books to support readers whose native tongue is Arabic or French. Once the book collection is established, thanks to Brick & Beam, further development of the collection will be built into the library budget.

Some membership feedback regarding the investments included, [on Mayo] “This is an amazing opportunity for Brick & Beam to support a program that otherwise might not have had the opportunity to expand and support an important part of the community. Providing support for such a unique program that blends science, technology, and the arts allow us to further build upon that strength and collaboration in Portland!”

Next up: stay tuned for an upcoming synthesis on learnings from year one!