Mission / Vision / Values

We are building a just, vibrant and climate resilient economy.

Founded in 1977,

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is a Community Development Financial Institution that works to build a more equitable economy by growing good jobs, livelihoods and diverse business ownership, while advancing a just transition to a climate-resilient future.

About CEI

We take a holistic view of community development. CEI advocates for system-wide change.  We listen to individuals and businesses. We inform our decisions through the lens of our mission, values and  vision of vibrant, equitable and environmentally sustainable local economies that enable all people and communities to thrive.

Our Mission

To build a just, vibrant, and climate-resilient future for people and communities in Maine and rural areas. We do this by integrating finance, business expertise, and policy solutions in ways that make the economy work more equitably.  

Our Assignment

The financial system is built on biases, particularly around race, gender, ability and class, that still keep far too many people from accessing capital and building a more secure financial future for themselves and their families. A changing climate is straining businesses and communities, often those with the least economic flexibility to adjust.

Our Strengths

Our Team

CEI staff and board members stand united and motivated by our mission. Each individual brings professional expertise, lived experience and empathy to their work and decision making.

Our Mission Impact & Fiscal Responsibility

The money we use to lend and invest comes from a variety of sources, including foundations, banks, businesses, individuals and federal funds. We seek partners that share our commitment to investing in people and places prevented from accessing the traditional financial system.

Our more than 45 years of experience has overturned the notion that mission-driven lending is inherently more risky than conventional practices, especially when paired with our supportive advising. This allows us to maximize impact, while managing risk.

Our Relationships

In Maine: We are a Maine-based organization, with strong personal and professional ties across the state. We partner with organizations, communities and legislators to improve access to capital and business resources across Maine through programs and policy advocacy. 

Across the Country: As a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), we are part of a network of over 1,000 organizations nationwide working to empower low-income and underserved people and communities to enter the financial mainstream. We regularly work with our peers and other nonprofits to develop and implement products and programs that improve equity and remove barriers to capital access. We also advocate for federal policies that drive resources to the communities and people that need them most.

Our Commitment to Racial Justice

We are proud of our history and roots in the Civil Rights movement. We believe addressing racial inequities within the financial system is key to building a just and vibrant future.  We are working consistently to identify our own biases and improve our systems, products and programs to better serve people of color and other systemically denied people and demographic groups. 

Our Leadership in Climate-Centered Community Development

CEI is committed to climate justice and enabling environmental resilience. Our changing climate challenges rural communities nationwide, and in particular Maine’s coastal communities, and other local economies that are dependent on natural resource-based industries like fishing, aquaculture, farming, forestry, tourism and clean energy production. 

We help these communities and natural resource based enterprises become more climate-resilient in multiple, interrelated ways, all that have a positive ripple effect. A diverse mix of industry, adoption of more sustainable business practices, policy advocacy, and clean, fossil fuel-free energy production are part of our formula to adapt to a changing climate. CEI is leading the way among community development lenders in tracking and reducing the impact our lending and business activities has on the climate.