Catch the Latest News from CEI: Updates, Stories & Events

Every month CEI publishes an e-newsletter with updates, stories, and events. Read CEI’s newsletters and client stories below:

CEI Closes First Loan Using USDA Community Facilities Relending Program

Maine’s Central Lincoln County YMCA Expands to Reach Growing Community Needs

July 18, 2017 (Brunswick, ME) – Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) announced today the closing of the first loan using financing from the USDA’s Community Facilities Relending Program, with up to $100 million guaranteed by Bank of America. The $2,460,000 loan to Central Lincoln County (CLC) YMCA, a landmark community center in the midcoast region, will allow for the renovation and expansion of its existing facility, originally built in 1973.

“Financially, this loan enabled the Y to bridge the gap between final costs of construction and the amount of funds raised in the capital campaign. We rolled in existing debt to arrive at the total amount, meeting our fundraising goal,” said Dennis Anderson, President of the Board of Directors, CLC YMCA. “This has given us a huge leap forward to be a more inclusive community center while meeting the needs of smaller organizations in the community.”

In October 2016, the USDA and Bank of America announced a relending program to provide long-term, low-cost financing for community lenders working in impoverished rural and Native American communities. The Uplift America Community Facilities Relending Program will facilitate the construction of schools, health care centers, child care facilities and other much-needed services in communities with limited infrastructure development capacity and persistent poverty.  The community lenders will borrow from the USDA’s Community Facilities Program, with the first five years of payments to the USDA guaranteed by Bank of America.

The USDA provided CEI a $20 million loan under a competitive application process, with a guarantee from Bank of America. CEI will loan the capital to organizations that are strengthening rural and low-income communities in Maine and other states.

The CLC YMCA has been a community hub for decades, offering exercise and workout facilities, after school and summer childcare, and summer camp programs to meet the needs of the 10 town, 25-mile service area in the mid-coast region. Approximately 10 percent of year-round residents are members. A fundraising campaign kicked off about three years ago bringing in over $5.4 million for facility renovations.

With renovations currently underway, upgrades to the facility include an expansion from 51,000 to 68,000 square feet, a new fitness center, teaching kitchen and communal space, an elevator, elevated running track, and welcome center. The facility will also become home to Spectrum Generations.

“Vibrant rural communities need more than individual businesses to thrive,” said Betsy Biemann, CEI’s chief executive officer. “They also need community resources that contribute to quality of life and help to retain and attract families and entrepreneurs. Community facilities like the YMCA serve an important role in bringing people together to offer services and recreation.”

“CEI has a long and distinguished history of supporting Maine communities,” said Bill Williamson, Maine State President, Bank of America. “We’re proud to partner with CEI, once again, to provide much needed capital for high impact community projects like the Central Lincoln County YMCA.”

The terms of the closing last week provide for an up-front construction loan from CEI that will be replaced by USDA funds upon the completion of construction.

About CLC YMCA – The CLC YMCA is a key collaborative leader improving the quality of life for all by being the champion for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

About USDA Rural Development – Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD) has funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit

About Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance Approach – At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at, and connect with us on Twitter at @BofA_News.

CEI Welcomes New Employees in Fisheries, Treasury, Business Advising, and Compliance

Nick Branchina – Associate Director, Fisheries & Aquaculture Programs

Nick brings 20 years’ of business development, sales and marketing experience in the private sector and as a consultant. After college, Nick launched his marketing career in Virginia and DC. After moving to Maine, Nick was a consultant at the Endurance Group in Yarmouth, Director of Marketing at Browne Trading Company and most recently was doing contract consulting work for Nick has a B.A. in Political Science from Middlebury College.

Shannon Byers – Business Advisor, Bangor office

Shannon will be working alongside Ann McAlhany in our Bangor office. Shannon has spent the past 17 years in various roles at the Jackson Laboratories in Bar Harbor. Most recently she managed at team of technicians in the reproductive sciences operations and R&D group. In addition to her day job at Jackson Labs, Shannon founded a mobile dog grooming business which she grew and sold in 2015, owns a dove release business, is the town animal control officer, and is a licensed vet tech. Shannon holds a B.S. in Animal and Veterinary Science from U-Maine Orono, a Master’s in Animal Science from U-Maine Orono and an M.B.A. from the Maine Business School at U-Maine Orono.

Sara Cunningham – CCML Compliance Assistant

Sara joins the CCML compliance team, replacing Libby Chenevert who was promoted this past April to Asset and Relationship Manager. Sara brings several years’ experience in the financial services industry. As a Sales and Service Specialist at Bank of America, Sara was responsible for client service, product sales, regulatory compliance and audit controls, and risk management. Prior to Bank of America, Sara was a senior disability claims examiner. Sara holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Maine.

Ellen Rodgers – Treasurer

Ellen joins the Accounting team as our new Treasurer. After college, Ellen spent 7 years Hong Kong and Vietnam working as an economist for JP Morgan, Swiss Bank Corp, and the Vietnam Fund Management Company. Ellen returned to the U.S. in 1999 where she held senior level finance and project management roles at Ernst & Young in New York City.  In 2006 Ellen returned to her home state of Maine, moved to Brunswick and opened Purl Diva, a yarn shop. Ellen closed her business in 2013 and in 2014 was hired by the Brunswick Land Trust as their Financial and Administrative Manager. Ellen holds a B.A. in Chinese and Economics from Wellesley College and has her CFA designation.

Meet our Summer 2017 Interns!

Nina Davenport, Bates College (2018), Philosophy Major

“I am working with Paul Scalzone in Workforce Solutions. I am analyzing the healthcare system on both the federal and state level to better understand the needs of low-income workers and their employers, while also conducting research on the lack of employment candidates companies are facing due to the state’s aging population. The overall mission and goal of Workforce Solutions is to establish positive employment, and create new quality jobs. I am excited to be working with Paul, and thankful to CEI for this opportunity.”



Oliver Kruze, dickinson College (2018), Economics major

“I’m working with CVI under Nat Henshaw, Chandler Jones, and Thao Duong. I’ve been spending most of my time writing investment memorandums which require much due diligence and valuation. Additionally, I analyze potential and active investments, often going on site visits and meeting with management. Interning at CVI has been a great learning experience and an opportunity to do meaningful and impactful work.”



Jennie Msall, University of Massachusetts Boston (2017), MBA

“I’m working with CCML, helping to assess the community benefits generated by their New Markets Tax Credits investments. I’m looking at job creation, environmental impact, and other community enhancements, which together really show the rippling effect that one investment can have in a rural community.”



Jake Shapiro, Bates College (2018), Economics Major

“I am rotating between three separate departments: Finance, Lending, and CVI. I am excited about these opportunities as I believe they will give me a better understanding of the many ways that CEI works to create economically and environmentally healthy communities in Maine. Most recently, while working under the supervision of David Wedick, I have worked on consolidating historical financial statements and have put together a financial services product comparison. I have enjoyed my first month here at CEI and look forward to making the most of the remainder of the summer.”



Chris WIlliams, University of Southern Maine (2017), Economics major/ political science minor

“I’m working with Keith Bisson, President of CEI, to create a comprehensive manual defining key terms used within the CDFI industry—and CEI particularly—and their metrics. The goal of this project is to arrive at consistent definitions of key terms and standardize calculation techniques of core metrics so that CEI can accurately communicate the impact of its mission to grow a strong economy comprised of good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and rural areas throughout the nation.”

CEI Ventures Investment in NBT Solutions Helps Grow Tech Jobs in Maine

June 29, 2017 (Portland, ME) – NBT Solutions, a nine year old mapping software development company specializing in telecommunications mapping solutions, today announced the closing of a Seed Round of equity investment.  The round was led by the Maine Venture Fund and CEI Ventures, Inc, with major support from the Bangor Angels and the Maine Angels.

NBT Solutions was founded in 2007 as a ‘Spatial IT’ software development company with a deep GIS and mapping pedigree.  Co-founders Will Mitchell (CEO) and Sean Myers (COO) both have advanced GIS degrees and over 20 years of experience providing GIS solutions to clients.  They discovered a market opportunity for modern cloud based mapping systems for fiber optic network planning, design, inventory, and management in a growing and fragmented broadband market.  In particular the small and mid-sized ISPs, rural telcos, and community broadband network builders needed better mapping tools and build and operate more efficiently and to compete.

In VETRO FiberMap™ the NBT Solutions team has built a disruptive technology in a traditional infrastructure application space.  The platform takes ease of use to a new level in the highly complex engineering context of managing fiber strands, splicing, and circuits.  And by delivering an open-API architected solution built entirely in house using open source geospatial tools and libraries, the network mapping can be leveraged in entirely new ways with greater flexibility and at a lower cost.

Understanding that broadband is now a critical utility and that networks in the U.S. and globally are being modernized and rebuilt to keep up with bandwidth demand, the investors are backing NBT Solutions’ vision of delivering the best mapping solution into this growth market.

For CEI Ventures, Inc., the for-profit venture capital subsidiary of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), this is the fourth investment of its fourth fund. Coastal Ventures IV LP’s $350,000 investment advances CEI’s socially responsible fund portfolio with the addition of an innovative mapping applications provider exporting their product to a global broadband infrastructure marketplace.

“NBT Solutions is a cornerstone of Portland’s thriving tech sector, providing good jobs and attracting talent and innovation to Maine,” said Nat Henshaw, President of CEI Ventures. “Our decision to invest in them was based on several factors, including rave customer reviews. In addition, our local partners Maine Venture Fund, Maine Angels, and Bangor Angels are co-investors. We know how bubbly the global market is for the expansion of rural internet services. NBT Solutions works with providers to help them decide where to focus their resources.”

Will Mitchell, co-founder of NBT Solutions added, “We welcome this investment and the opportunity to work in partnership with Coastal Ventures, MVF and the Angels.  We have received tremendous local support from the Maine Technology Institute, local ISP Customers, mentors, advisors, and now a strong group of investors.  Our product-market fit has been established, and this growth capital will enable us to accelerate on all fronts and become a major enabler of broadband buildouts.”

The firm plans to double employment over the next three years.

About NBT Solutions LLC and VETRO FiberMap™

VETRO FiberMap™ is a product of NBT Solutions, LLC, founded by experienced GIS mapping professionals who have long provided innovative technology and services to wireline and wireless telecommunications customers.  Our VETRO FiberMap™ Solution is a unique cloud based fiber network inventory platform, with an unrivaled suite of tools for the small and mid sized ISP.  Our fiber network GIS solution has the functionality, affordability and scalability to help level the playing field.  To learn more about the VETRO FiberMap™ solution, arrange demos and request a free trial please visit, email us at or call 207.221.6627.

To learn more about NBT Solutions please visit

C7a Loan Helps Employee Purchase Car Care Franchise from Owners

June 25, 2017 (Topsham, ME) -–  Long-time employee of the Topsham Meineke Car Care Center, Jim Chattley, has purchased the franchise from Melissa and David Eddy. The purchase was made possible by an SBA-backed 7(a) loan through CEI 7(a) Financing of Brunswick, its first such transaction in Maine.

Owner Jim Chattley, Meineke Car Care Center, Topsham

Chattley, an employee of Meineke Car Care Center since its original ownership in 1997, jokes that he “came with the building,” when the Eddys took over the business ten years ago.  He first worked as a mechanic and later became a foreman, earning the trust of the owners and customers alike.

When the Eddys began discussing their plans to retire, they approached Chattley about buying the franchise. Eventually he realized the timing was right.  The benefits to employees buying out the boss work both ways. For owners looking to retire, employee ownership makes for an ideal succession plan. As with Chattley, as a new owner he already has the skills, understands the operation and has a relationship with the client base.

Chattley originally approached his banker to secure financing, but could not come to an agreement on the terms of a loan. Because of the close relationship he has with the seller, and because of their shared goal of the succession plan, Dave Eddy recommended following a path that he himself had taken 25 years before: getting in touch with CEI to explore his options. CEI is a mission investor and has been a national leader in rural business development for 40 years.

Chattley worked with Brad Swanson, Business Advisor at the Small Business Development Center there. Through dedicated customer business advising, Swanson introduced Chattley to CEI’s subsidiary, C7a, which specializes in SBA-backed loans for small businesses.

“The team at CEI and C7a structured the loan with terms that made sense for me and the future success of this business. They really understood me and my goals for the shop.”

-Jim Chattley

Chattley says one of the great things about buying the established business is that he and the other four long-term employees will stay on, creating a seamless transition. He has plans to hire one more technician so that he has more time to do what he likes the most: work on cars.

C7a makes loans nationally, yet this is its first in Maine. “Maine is our home and we are excited to be supporting small business owners here as they follow their dreams and build their enterprises,” says Rob Wilson, CEO of C7a. “Across the country, from Maine to Montana, the small businesses we work with have common goals and challenges that we understand and help them navigate. When they do well, the benefits radiate beyond their four shop walls and flow into the community.

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: