Thursday, October 30, 2008

Partnerships matter

[From the Bangor Daily News]
Coastal Enterprises Inc., (CEI) a Wiscasset-based community development organization, has received a federal allocation of $112 million that will allow it to help finance small businesses and development projects in low-income communities.

“Coastal Enterprises continues to provide invaluable services to communities throughout Maine,” Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins said in a joint statement on Oct. 20. “Investing in affordable housing and community development in Maine’s rural and underserved areas will provide an opportunity for economic revitalization.”

You can read the rest of the BDN article here.

CEI is a private, nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with roots in the civil rights movement. Founded in 1977, the organization provides financing and support in the development of job-creating small businesses, natural resources industries, community facilities, and affordable housing. CEI's primary market is Maine, but, in recent years, has expanded several of its financing programs to northern New England, upstate New York and beyond.

Much of CEI's efforts occur "below the radar," without splash, or hoopla. Yet, without the work and efforts of this organization, it's hard to imagine what other organization, if any, would have picked up the slack over the past three decades.

Over the past two years, CEI has invested over $100,000 in local projects in the five counties (Androscoggin, Kennebec, Oxford, Somerset, and Franklin) of Area 3, partnering with the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board. Because of this, our board recognized CEI's president, Ron Phillips, and Paul Scalzone, a project manager with CEI, with an annual Spotlight Award, at WIB's annual meeting, in October.

Phillips, Scalzone and CEI have been key community partners in the collaboration required to build private/public models of workforce development in the state, and have been a key player in our board's efforts to develop the requisite skills that Maine’s businesses are looking for.

[Ron Phillips and Paul Scalzone receiving a Spotlight Award from Director, Bryant Hoffman]

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