CEI Receives Positive Independent Rating from Aeris

May 31, 2017 (Brunswick, ME)—Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) announced today that it has received from Aeris, the national rating and information service, a Four-star impact performance rating, with Policy Plus and AA- financial strength and performance rating. Aeris provides comprehensive, third-party assessments of a community investment fund’s financial strength and performance and impact.

“CEI maintained its excellent rating from last year across all areas – impact, policy, and financial strength,” said Betsy Biemann, CEO of CEI. “These scores affirm that we are delivering on our promise to help make the economy work for everyone by growing good jobs, environmentally-sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and other rural regions. CEI’s team of professional, mission-driven lenders, business advisors, housing counselors, industry experts, and policy staff continue to aim for impact, often in partnership with others in the public and private sectors.”

A wide range of investors—including banks, foundations, fund managers, and others—rely on Aeris ratings to identify and evaluate community investment opportunities that meet their impact goals and risk parameters. Aeris has issued more than 600 ratings opinions since 2004.

“Our team values Aeris research as they are a trusted source of both financial and impact data,” said Nicole Davis, Partner and Senior Wealth Manager, Veris Wealth Partners. “Their data streamlines our due diligence process for community investment organizations. The breadth of the Aeris database also allows us to compare CDFIs such as CEI, to their peers as well as their historical ratings.”

The rigorous Aeris rating process evaluates a fund’s commitment to transparency and accountability, with regard to its financial performance and its mission impact. The rating encompasses two main components: (1) an Impact Performance Rating, which measures the commitment of the fund’s management to achieving its stated impact; (2) a Financial Strength and Performance Rating, which assesses overall creditworthiness.

A Four-star impact performance rating is the highest impact performance rating awarded. Funds in this group (the top 35% of all funds rated) have a clear alignment of mission, strategies, activities, and data that guide programs and planning, and are using resources effectively to achieve positive impacts related to its mission. A Policy Plus rating recognizes that policy change is an integral part of the funds strategies to benefit disadvantaged people and communities. CEI’s AA- financial strength and performance rating is awarded for very strong financial strength, performance and risk management practices relative to its size, complexity, and risk profile and affirms that CEI is capable of withstanding fluctuations in its operating environment.

More information is available at:

As an Aeris-rated institution, CEI is also included in the Aeris Cloud, the only source of real-time financial and impact performance data on community investment funds. The Aeris Cloud was created to give investors access to Wall Street-quality data on community investment funds.

About Aeris

Aeris guides capital to good. Since 2004, the nation’s leading community investors have used Aeris’ data and ratings to support their community investing. Aeris’ clients range from large financial institutions with Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) obligations, mission-driven charitable foundations, government, private wealth managers, and more. Its proprietary ratings help investors evaluate opportunities that meet their impact goals and risk parameters. Learn more at

Forager Secures Funding from CEI

B2B Platform Aims to Accelerate the Local Food Economy


PORTLAND, Maine, May 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Forager™, a company focused on making locally sourced food widely available to all, announced that it has secured a new round of funding from Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) in Maine.

“Our goal is to grow good jobs, environmentally-sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and across the country,” said Gray Harris, Senior Program Director, Natural Resource Sectors, CEI. “We are thrilled to invest in Forager whose mission and focus on accelerating our local food system aligns so well with our goals.”

Recently recognized by Fast Company magazine for its innovative leadership in affecting social good, Forager is fueled by the passion of its CEO and founder, David D. Stone, a serial technology entrepreneur who wants to give back to the world by accelerating the sharing of local foods. Though the $14 billion local food market is burgeoning, the cost and complexity of the local food sourcing process are barriers to even faster growth. Forager’s new online and mobile procurement-to-payment platform radically simplifies the sourcing process, saving time and significant costs, and enabling grocers, food co-ops, farmers and producers to offer more local products to consumers.

“Since our launch in March, we are already witnessing considerable success with our customers across the state of Maine, and with CEI’s support, we will continue to remove the friction from local food sourcing,” said Mr. Stone. “We know that local food can make a fundamental difference to the health of our environment and our well-being, and we want to fan the flames of a local food revolution.”

Forager launched its platform after completing a successful regional pilot involving 100 farmers and 10 grocers, food co-ops and wholesalers from Maine. The company is rolling it out throughout New England and New York State, and additional grocers and farmers are now participating.

For more information, please visit

About Forager™ (Forager, LLC)
The mission of Forager is to accelerate the growth of the local food economy and make locally sourced food more widely available to all. The company’s online and mobile platform digitizes and streamlines the procurement-to-payment process, saving time and costs for grocers, co-ops, farmers, producers, and other buyers and sellers of local food. For more information about Forager, please see

College Awards Honorary Doctorate to Ron Phillips for his Leadership in Community Economic Development

Ron celebrating with family and friends.

Ron L. Phillips, founder and retired president and CEO of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), received an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service during the Saint Joseph’s College Commencement exercises on May 13, 2017. The College recognized Phillips’ public service in developing financial investment and legislative initiatives that have created economic opportunity nationwide for people and places at the margins of the economy. A prolific author, Phillips has been extensively recognized for his expertise: in 2012, he was appointed by the Obama Administration to the CDFI Fund Advisory Council of the U.S. Treasury, he also served on the Federal Reserve Bank’s Board of Governors’ Consumer Advisory Council, and in 2013, Phillips received the Ned Gramlich Award for Responsible Finance, his industry’s highest honor. Philips is now bringing his sustainable development expertise to Saint Joseph’s College and the Lakes Region. As Co-chair of Saint Joseph’s Mission-Aligned Business Advisory Council, Phillips is helping to guide sustainable economic development initiatives that will advance the College’s strategic goals for the 21st century .

President James Dlugos said, “Ron Phillips has been committed to the principles of social and economic justice throughout his career. With pleasure, we honor his long history of serving those with the greatest need through financial investment strategies. Mr. Phillips represents the pinnacle of the type of service we aim to inculcate in our students. Also, we are grateful that he is providing invaluable leadership and vision as the College moves forward with the bold initiatives of the Mission-Aligned Business Council, initiatives that seek to promote sustainable agriculture and agritourism, the development of a 55+ wellness residential community, and a comprehensive Hospitality program, all within Maine’s Lakes Region. We are deeply grateful for his service and pleased to honor him with an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service.”

Of the College’s announcement, Phillips said, “This honorary doctorate is especially welcomed coming from Saint Joseph’s College, whose own roots reach back to Sister Catherine McCauley, the Irish nun who founded the Catholic Women’s Religious Congregation in the early part of 19th century Dublin, Ireland. McCauley inspired the development of an international network of institutions and services devoted to education, health, housing, and social justice, much like CEI’s network of over 4,000 similar entities in the U.S. active in rural neighborhoods and rural regions.”

Armed with a Master’s of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary of New York City and with completion of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program, Phillips pursued mission-driven financing. Phillips’ philosophy, rooted in the Civil Rights Movement, led to his work with international economic development and fair labor practices. These experiences exposed him to the global disparity of wealth and the challenges associated with inaccessibility of capital. When he relocated to Maine, with his wife Suzanne, he set out to address Maine’s social and economic problems with a new set of financing practices aimed at a more equitable distribution of resources.

CEI is Hiring!

Two new positions have just been posted at CEI: an Executive Assistant and a Loan Services Administrator. Both will be full time, benefited positions, based in Brunswick.

Additionally, CEI is hiring a Business Advisor in the Waterville/ Fairfield region.

Our staff is essential to our mission. As a result, CEI offers a competitive compensation and benefits package for our permanent positions, including health, dental, short and long term disability, up to six weeks paid parental leave, life insurance, medical and dependent care flexible spending, health savings account option, travel reimbursement, wellness reimbursement, retirement plan with discretionary company contribution, generous time off, paid holidays and a commitment to helping staff achieve a healthy work/life balance.

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to:

CEI Welcomes Four New Board Members


April 5, 2017 – Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a mission-driven investor specializing in rural economic development in Maine and throughout the U.S., announces that Angela Butler, John Dorrer, Charles Rudelitch, and Miriam Shark have been named to its Board of Directors. Outgoing board members include Board Chair Ellen Seidman, and members David Bennell, Sue Inches, and Peter Pitegoff, who marshalled CEI through a time of significant change and leadership transition.

Angela Butler is the Senior Vice President, Commercial Services, for Katahdin Trust Company, in Bangor, Maine. Prior to joining Katahdin Trust in 2016, she worked as a commercial banker in Maine for People’s United Bank and its predecessor, Merrill Bank for twenty-two years.  She has extensive experience with low income housing tax credit and state historic tax credit financing as well as commercial lending in the medical, manufacturing, logging and agriculture sectors in Central and Northern Maine.  She serves on several boards in the Bangor region, including Community Health & Counseling Services, Bangor Children’s Home, and the Bangor Soccer Club.  Angela graduated from Colby College with a B.A in Administrative Science, with minors in Mathematics and Education.

John Dorrer is a labor economist and consultant focused on human capital development who has worked at the local, state and national level in leadership, executive and technical roles over the past 35 years. Most recently, he served as Senior Advisor at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, where he helped organize a multi-state consortium of state policymakers, academic economists and data scientists to examine links between state education and training investments with economic and labor market performance. He has been a Senior Fellow at Jobs for the Future (Boston), Acting Commissioner and Center for Workforce Research and Information Director for the Maine Department of Labor, and Deputy Director, Workforce Development Programs, at the National Center on Education and the Economy in Washington D.C. He serves as a Board Member for the Maine Center for Economic Policy, on the Research Committee of the Maine Economic Focus Initiative and on the Alfond Leaders Advisory Committee. Dorrer received a M.S. degree in Resource Economics and B.A. in Economics from the University of New Hampshire.

Charles Rudelitch joined the Sunrise Economic Development Council as Executive Director in May 2014. A Harrington native, Charles has a long history with the Council, having interned with SCEC in the late 1990s and serving on its Board during the early 2000s. He has earned degrees in Applied History from Carnegie Mellon University; Resource Economics & Policy from the University of Maine; as well as a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law.  Prior to joining SCEC, Charles served as the Staff Attorney for Pine Tree Legal in Hancock & Washington counties. In addition to the legal field, he has worked in economic and community development for the towns of Bridgton, Fort Kent, and Guilford, and the Passamaquoddy Tribe, along with the Eastern Maine Development Corporation.

Miriam Shark is an independent consultant working from Portland, Maine to help organizations achieve their visions of excellence. Over a twenty-five-year career at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Miriam assumed wide-ranging management and programmatic responsibilities across issue areas of family, community and opportunity. Among these were the creation of the Rural Family Economic Success (RuFES) portfolio, the launch of Casey’s two-generation approach to reducing poverty, and the leadership of the Philanthropy Engagement portfolio.  Prior to joining the Casey Foundation, Miriam was a Director at the Massachusetts Rate Setting Commission where she oversaw health finance, and director of the Child Outpatient Department at Washington County Human Services, a mental health center in Oakdale, Minnesota.  Miriam has an A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis, an M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from St. Louis University and an M.P.A. from Harvard University.  Miriam currently serves on the boards of the Forum of Regional Associations of Philanthropy, the William J. Clinton Center on Community Philanthropy and Health Care Without Harm.

About CEI
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) helps to grow good jobs, environmentally-sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and in rural regions across the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions. CEI envisions a world in which communities are economically and environmentally healthy, enabling all people, especially those with low incomes, to reach their full potential. For more information, visit

CEI Receives Grant from Hearst Foundation for Microenterprise Development Initiative

May 3, 2017 – Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is honored announce a $100,000 grant award from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, based in New York and San Francisco, to help support its Microenterprise Development Initiative. The initiative will provide one-on-one business advising and training to microenterprises, primarily in rural communities throughout Maine, with an emphasis on serving low income individuals, women, new immigrants, child care providers and natural resource-based industries.

“Funding from the Hearst Foundation will help CEI address Maine’s need for alternative economic options for its residents, particularly low income people in rural areas,” said Jennifer Sporzynski, Senior Program Director for CEI’s Business Development Services. “As a small and microbusiness state, Maine’s economic future depends, in part, on its ability to nurture the entrepreneurial aspirations of its residents, particularly in rural regions.” Over the next year, CEI anticipates providing workshops, individual business consultation and networking opportunities to 2,000 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs across Maine.

Given the difficulty of finding living wage jobs, many Mainers create their own through microenterprises, accounting for 22.3 percent of the state’s employment and in certain rural counties 43.3 percent (a growing trend). CEI’s business advising services take a comprehensive approach to not only address the needs of individual entrepreneurs but also strengthen Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole. CEI offers entrepreneurship education, access to entrepreneurial networks, and coordinated training, management assistance and access to capital. Support for enterprise development is an effective strategy for building economically healthy communities and increasing family assets and stability.

CEI’s 13 professional business advisors work throughout the state, and are housed within three different programs: the Maine Small Business Development Centers at CEI (SBDC) provides general business assistance; the Women’s Business Center at CEI (WBC) delivers targeted services for aspiring and existing women business owners; and StartSmart offers microenterprise support for refugees and immigrants. The project will be carried out with existing staff in each of these programs.

About CEI
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) helps to grow good jobs, environmentally-sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and in rural regions across the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions. CEI envisions a world in which communities are economically and environmentally healthy, enabling all people, especially those with low incomes, to reach their full potential. For more information, visit

About the William Randolph Hearst Foundations

The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health and social services. The Hearst Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives.

Three CEI Clients Win 2017 SBA Awards

April 14, 2017–Every year the Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes exceptional small business owners in a variety of categories at the state and national level. This year, three CEI-nominated businesses are award winners. Joshua Broder, CEO of Tilson Technology Management, was named Maine and New England’s Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year. The Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year award went to Naima Abdirhmon of ARWO Learning Center. Kate Beever of Maine Music & Health was recognized as Maine’s Micro-Enterprise of the Year.


Kate Beever, Founder of Maine Music & Health

“I am grateful to the SBA for this award,” said Ms. Beever.  “It feels good to have worked hard to create a business in an underrepresented field, and this recognition pushes me to keep going. I look forward to further collaborations with local arts and healthcare organizations in our beautiful state,” she added.

Read more about Kate, Josh and Naime in our Success Stories.

Take a Look at Our 2016 Annual Impact Report!

Every business that starts or grows—whether a Washington County farm, a New Mainer’s new business in Portland, a solar array in Massachusetts or a peanut processing facility in Georgia—generates a ripple effect of greater self-sufficiency, resilience and economic mobility. We are honored to share the economic journey of people and businesses in rural regions, and to help create jobs, environmental sustainability, and shared prosperity. We welcome your engagement in, and support for, our work.

Scroll through our 2016 Impact Report and let us know what you think!

New Video: Broadband in Maine

“For the past two years we have been interested in how CEI can stimulate more local broadband development in Maine. We heard from the Maine Broadband Coalition that many people don’t see why high speed and quality broadband is important for their future.”

– Carla Dickstein, Senior Vice President, Research and Policy Development, CEI

The Maine Broadband Coalition supports the expansion of broadband to communities throughout Maine as a bridge to the future.Broadband helps make valuable connections for business people, patients, students, and families.

Watch a new film produced by CEI  for the Maine Broadband Coalition with support from NeighborWorks America.Thanks to Gabe Souza for capturing this important story.

Please share the video widely.

Tom Dolan Selected as Presidential Leadership Scholar

January 30, 2017 — The Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson, today announced that Tom Dolan has been selected to participate. Dolan, Chief Operating Officer of CEI Capital Management LLC, is one of 60 Scholars chosen for the program’s third annual class.

The third cohort was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were selected based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving the civic or social good by addressing a problem or need in a community, profession, or organization.

Over the course of several months, Scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key administration officials, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership, develop a network of peers, and exchange ideas with mentors and others who can help them make an impact in their communities.

The program kicks off in Washington, D.C. on February 7th, where Scholars will visit the National Archives and Records Administration, Mount Vernon, and the White House Historical Association and explore personal and professional development areas including core values and civility.

The latest class joins the alumni network of 121 Scholars in the program. They include individuals from diverse backgrounds and geographies, coming from a variety of sectors, including private, public, non-profit, military, and academia.

2017 Scholars include:

Michael Addis, Litigation Associate, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, New York, NY;

Chike Aguh, Chief Executive Officer, EveryoneOn, Beltsville, MD;

Gabriel Albornoz, Director, Department of Recreation, Montgomery County Government, Kensington, MD;

Lisa Atherton, Executive Vice President, Military Business, Bell Helicopter, Keller, TX;

Vidya Ayyr, Community Relations Specialist, Parkland Hospital, Plano, TX;

Hazami Barmada, Strategy Consultant, Social Entreprenur, and Social Impact Activist, United Nations, Cambridge, MA;

Brian Barnes, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, TandemEd LLC, Memphis, TN;

Anurima Bhargava, Fellow, Institute of Politics, Harvard University, Chicago, IL;

Dana Bolden, Group Director, Public Affairs and Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, GA;

Zachary Bongiovanni, Head of Infrastructure Expansion, Google, San Francisco, CA;

Sheila Colclasure, Vice President, Global CPO and Public Policy Executive, Acxiom Corporation, Little Rock, AR;

Marta Colon, Chief Performance and Attitude Strategist, Buena Gente, San Juan, PR;

Rory Diamond, Chief Executive Officer, K9s For Warriors, Neptune Beach, FL;

Renee DiResta, Founder and Director of Marketing, Haven, San Francisco, CA;

David Dixon, Major, United States Marine Corps, New Orleans, LA;

Thomas Dolan, Chief Operating Officer, CEI Capital Management LLC, Cape Elizabeth, ME;

Rodolfo Fernandez, Chief of Staff to the President and Vice President for Government Affairs, University of Miami, Miami, FL;

Josh Goldberg, Director of Strategy, Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness, Bluemont, VA;

Carlos Gutierrez, Jr., Senior Government Affairs Advisor, Clark Hill, Washington, DC;

Yasaman Hadjibashi, Group Chief Creation Officer, Barclays Africa Group, Barclays PLC, Johannesburg, South Africa;

Tracey Henry, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant Health Director, Emory University School of Medicine, Powder Springs, GA;

Jane Henzerling, Founder and Head of School, The Mission Preparatory School, San Francisco, CA;

Wade Hinton, Chief Legal Officer and City Attorney, City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN;

Gerardo Interiano, Head of External Affairs, Southwest U.S., Google, Austin, TX;

Brad Israel, Chief Leadership and Chief Operating Officer, 68 Ventures, Mobile, AL;

Kristin Ito, Physician of the Department of Family Medicine and Director of the Hillside Wellness Center, Lincoln Community Health Center, Durham, NC;

Kristin Judge, Director of Special Projects, National Cyber Security Alliance, Ann Arbor, MI;

Lenore Karafa, Partner, McChrystal Group, Alexandria, VA;

Hannibal Williams II Kemerer, Senior Attorney, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, Reisterstown, MD;

Basim Khan, Executive Director, Neighborhood Health, Arlington, VA;

Mansi Kotwal, Pediatrician, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC;

SreyRam Kuy, Chief Medical Officer, Louisiana Medicaid, Louisiana Department of Health, Baton Rouge, LA;

Lucy Lang, Assistant District Attorney, New York County District Attorney’s Office, New York, NY;

Francisco Martin-Rayo, Expert, Boston Consulting Group, Arlington, VA;

Katie McNerney, Founder and Partner, LeaderFit, Washington, DC;

Mariam Memarsadeghi , Co-Founder and Co-Director, E-Collaborative for Civic Education, Bethesda, MD;

Hollis Meminger, Camera Operator, Cinematographer and Producer, SELF, Brooklyn, NY;

Neha Misra, Co-Founder and Chief Collaboration Officer, Solar Sister, Silver Spring, MD;

Michael Monre, Chief of Staff, North America’s Building Trades Unions, Washington, DC;

Griffin Myers, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Oak Street Health, Chicago, IL;

Nitikaji Nautiyal, Executive Director, Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy, World Business Chicago, Chicago, IL;

Sarah Cotton Nelson, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Communities Foundation of Texas, Dallas, TX;

Scott Nolen, Director, Drug Addiction Treatment, Open Society Foundations, Silver Spring, MD;

Elizabeth Northcutt, Founder and Executive Director, City Living NY, Brooklyn, NY;

Meghan Ogilvie, Chief Executive Officer, Dog Tag Inc., Washington, DC;

Manuel Pelaez-Prada, Attorney, Pelaez Prada, PLLC, San Antonio, TX;

Daniel Presley, Chief of Police, Webster Police Department, League City, TX;

Natasha Quiroga, PREP Manager and Senior Counsel, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, DC;

Michael Reeves, Managing Director and Head of Marketing, Investor Relations, and Business Development, Greylock Capital Management LLC, New York, NY;

Christina Rosenthal, Dentist and Chief Executive Officer, Paradigm Dental Center, LLC, Collierville, TN;

Byron Sanders, Vice President and Private Client Advisor, U.S. Trust, Addison, TX;

Jenifer Sarver, Principal, Sarver Strategies, Austin, TX;

Scott Schlegel, District Court Judge, 24th Judicial District Court, Parish of Jefferson, State of Louisiana, Metairie, LA;

Jamie Scott, Executive Director, Pulaski County Youth Services, Pulaski County, North Little Rock, AR;

Prabhjot Singh, Chair, Department of Health System Design & Global Health, Mount Sinai Health System, Pelham, NY;

Shoeb Sitafalwalla, Medical Director, South Asian Cardiovascular Center, Advocate Health Care, Chicago, IL;

Elizabeth Smith, Chair of the Board, Raphael House, San Francisco, CA;

Joseph Stenger, Chief Executive Officer, Flying Scarfs Inc and F-35A Instructor Pilot, U.S. Air Force, Goodyear, AZ;

Brintha Vasagar, Associate Program Director, Tidelands Health MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program, Medical University of South Carolina, Surfside Beach, SC;

Antonio Williams, Senior Director of External and Government Affairs, Comcast NBCUniversal, Washington, DC

To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, visit For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PresidentialScholars or follow @PLSprogram on Twitter and Medium.

For questions about the program, please contact:

Brittney Bain, 214-200-4309,

Sara Horowitz, 212-348-0360,