CEI Welcomes New Team Members

ASHLEIGH BRIGGS – Business Advisor, Bangor office

Ashleigh is a Business Advisor for the Maine Small Business Development Center, providing one-on-one business counseling in the Bangor area. She has a long history of working for, managing, and owning small businesses and has a passion for helping others fulfill their own dreams of owning their own successful business.  Most recently, Ashleigh ran an operations consulting company that focused on helping businesses identify and deploy technology that promotes operational efficiencies and improve bottom lines. She received a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and minor in Political Science from the University of Maine.

 

ANNA BROWN – Resource Development and Strategy Advisor

Anna Brown is CEI’s Resource Development and Strategy Advisor, charged with enabling more effective, well-resourced programs for the organization. Passionate about social and economic justice and environmental stewardship, Anna is an interdisciplinary practitioner with experience in inclusive urban development, resilience building, sustainable development, and philanthropy. Anna brings a decade of work with The Rockefeller Foundation, including seven years in Asia, where she managed the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), a large, multi-country initiative. Anna also helped shape the Foundation’s approach to advancing more Inclusive Economies, developing a global strategy and leading a portfolio of research and innovation grants. In addition to Anna’s experience in philanthropy, her past work includes research with the MIT-USGS Science Impact Collaborative, a program devoted to improving the use of science in decision-making, leading the sustainable development work of the Quaker United Nations Office, and working with the water and peace unit of UNESCO. Anna serves on the Board of Extra Terrestrial Projects, an innovative equity-oriented organization focused on finding new ways to explore, understand and protect the world that surrounds us, and she runs her own consulting practice. Anna earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University and a master’s in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

 

RYAN GREEN – Credit Analyst

Ryan joined CEI in 2018 as a Credit Analyst. He assists the lending department to underwrite and review loan requests and perform annual reviews on the existing portfolio. He also supports the financial analysis of incoming deals to CEI’s lending department. Prior to joining CEI, he worked at Seafax, Inc. for over seven years as a portfolio and credit manager within the Seafood department. Ryan has a BA in International Business and Marketing from the University of Maine, Orono.

 

 

MICHELLE RIDLON – HR Payroll and Benefits Specialist

Michelle is the HR Payroll and Benefits Specialist for CEI.  She is the point person for benefits-related matters and inquiries within all of CEI. She supports the accounting team with post payroll accounting, general ledger, and benefits reconciliation. Prior to joining CEI, she spent over 15 years in HR Benefits and Payroll administration.  Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Maine, Orono.

Historic Restoration Seeds Downtown Revitalization in Old Mill Towns

From Maine to Hawaii, efforts to revitalize communities, especially rural ones, are taking hold with public-private partnerships between developers and community investors like CEI. Historic Tax Credits and New Market Tax Credits play a necessary role in projects that renew downtowns and power economic development—without the credits, developers would have little incentive to focus on historic structures that have fallen into disrepair, which are often costlier to rehab than building new.

Read more in the recently published Revitalization News article: Historic Restoration Seeds Downtown Revitalization in Old Mill Towns, authored by Leah B. Thibault, Director of Executive Administration and Special Projects at CEI Capital Management LLC, and John Egan, Chief Investment Officer at CEI.

CEI’s Bright Community Capital Wins Opportunity Finance Network’s NEXT Award for Innovation

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 13, 2018 — Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) today announced that CEI’s new subsidiary, Bright Community Capital, is one of five recipients of the NEXT Fund for Innovation (NEXT Fund), a pilot program that builds on ten years of innovation and impact driven by the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards (NEXT Awards) for Opportunity Finance. Developed with support from Wells Fargo and Prudential Financial, the program funds business models, products, platforms, or processes holding the ability to drive transformational change and scale in the community development financial institution (CDFI) industry. The NEXT Fund provides a new source of long-term debt capital for community development financial institution innovation.

“Over the course of ten years the NEXT Awards propelled CDFIs ready for scale to achieve their vision. With the NEXT Fund we recognize and reward emerging CDFI business models, platforms, or processes with great potential—bringing flexible capital, including equity and subordinated debt, into play at a critical stage. As a result of the NEXT Fund CDFIs can achieve the 10x influence that is needed to truly drive transformational change,” said Beth Lipson, OFN Treasurer and Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives.

“We’re proud to continue our work with OFN to help CDFIs continue to innovate in the communities they serve,” said Megan Teare, Senior Vice President and manager of CDFI investing at Wells Fargo. “These five awardees have the potential to employ creative, high-impact strategies that can drive change.”

The five CDFIs who are set to receive awards are:

  • Building Hope, Washington, DC: Awarded $1,000,000 to expand its charter school real estate development practice into new markets such Texas and Tennessee, complementing its growing charter school lending.
  • CEI, Brunswick, ME: Awarded $1,500,000 for a newly formed solar energy financing subsidiary, which will focus on providing long-term debt and equity capital to mid-sized commercial solar power projects.
  • Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), Minneapolis, MN:Awarded $1,000,000 to provide a new, patient equity-like capital product to support early-stage minority-owned business in Minneapolis that have potential for high growth.
  • ROC USA, Concord, NH: Awarded $1,000,000 to continue its transformational work converting manufacturing housing community from investor-ownership to resident-ownership by supporting a new product in the manufactured housing space to address park-owned home and park-financed home portfolios.
  • Reinvestment Fund, Philadelphia, PA: Awarded $500,000 to invest in a newly-formed subsidiary that invests in pay-for-success transactions that support the scaling of promising policy innovations. The new PFS Fund will target investments in housing, education, social services, and health care throughout the U.S.

About OFN
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), strives to ensure low-income and other under-resourced communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services. Members of OFN are CDFIs that deliver responsible lending to help low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2016, OFN’s network originated $54 billion in financing in rural, urban, and Native communities. This financing has helped to create or maintain more than 1,202,000 jobs, start or expand more than 256,000 businesses and microenterprises, and support the development or rehabilitation of nearly 2 million housing units and more than 10,000 community facility projects. For more information, visit www.ofn.org.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Wells Fargo No. 3 on its most recent list of the top corporate cash philanthropists. In 2016, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 14,900 nonprofits and Wells Fargo team members volunteered 1.73 million hours with 50,000 nonprofits. Wells Fargo’s corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on three priorities: economic empowerment in underserved communities, environmental sustainability, and advancing diversity and social inclusion. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

Bright Community Capital Brings Solar Energy to Underserved Communities

New CEI subsidiary has launched to finance high-impact, mid- scale solar projects

February 7, 2018 – Brunswick, Maine – CEI today announced the launch of Bright Community Capital, a new subsidiary created to fill a financing gap in the solar energy marketplace.

Bright Community Capital will invest equity, debt, and tax equity to develop non-residential solar projects in low- to moderate-income communities, a historically underserved segment of the market. The projects deliver both environmental and social benefits to the community, through climate-friendly energy production, sustainable land management at project sites, quality job creation in installation and maintenance and a lower cost of energy for low-income residents.

The formation of Bright Community Capital was made possible through a $20 million bond from the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund designated expressly to finance community and small business solar power generation projects that impact low income communities across the country. It was the first ever award of long-term debt from the CDFI Fund for solar financing.

The Bright Community Capital team has experience directly negotiating, structuring and managing tax equity transactions on behalf of CEI and its New Markets Tax Credit subsidiary CEI Capital Management.

“Our model fills a gap in the solar energy market,” said Bright Community Capital CEO Niels Zellers. “These mid-sized projects can be a challenge because each is so different, with unique variables, but by controlling multiple sources of capital, Bright Community Capital can finance more efficiently at this scale.  When completed these solar projects will return a full spectrum of impact, lowering energy costs in low-income communities, contributing to a sustainable economy and climate change mitigation. Our financing and impact investing strategy will deliver what many impact investors want: investments with impact and a return.”

This new subsidiary is in keeping with CEI’s mission to build an economy that works for everyone and its belief that climate change disproportionately affects people and communities with low incomes. Bright Community Capital will not only help transition communities away from CO2-intensive fossil fuels, it will create good jobs for people with varying levels of education and also provide workforce training for entrants to the field.

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. Learn more about how CEI is helping to build an economy that works for everyone here: www.CEIMaine.org.

 

Rural CDFIs Give Voice to Brighter Future in Rural Regions

This issue of the Community Development Investment Review explores innovations and lessons learned from cross-sector practice across a range of issues. The authors examine initiatives designed to strengthen collaborative leadership and effect systems change.

CEI’s CEO Betsy Biemann and President Keith Bisson author the essay Rural CDFIs Give Voice to Brighter Future in Rural Regions. In this essay, they summarize some of the lessons learned from working at the individual client level, the systems level, and from related fields, and they reflect on the future of community development.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear raises $1.1 Million in Early Stage Venture Capital

CEI Ventures, Maine Venture Fund, and Telluride Venture Fund lead funding round for innovative outdoor gear that’s made in America

BIDDEFORD, Maine –  January 18, 2018 — Hyperlite Mountain Gear, manufacturer of 100% USA-made ultralight outdoor equipment, announced it has completed a $1.1 million early series round of financing. CEI Ventures co-led the round along with Telluride Venture Fund and  Maine Venture Fund. The investment will enable the 50+ employee company to expand production and R&D capacity and begin introducing automation to its manufacturing facility in Biddeford.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear is a pioneer in the emerging ultralight outdoors movement, an adventuring technique of carrying only the lightest and most efficient gear possible so a hiker, backpacker or mountaineer can do more in the outdoors in less time and with less stress on the body. The company’s high-tech material technologies and designs are allowing a wide range of hardcore adventurers to weekend enthusiasts increase their performance, efficiency and enjoyment in the outdoors.

“We are thrilled to announce this round of investment to further help us grow,” said Mike St. Pierre, founder and CEO of Hyperlite Mountain Gear, “and we look forward to building on our ability to help outdoor adventurers do more with less as we expand our reach and product offering of high-tech, high-quality, high-performance ultralight gear.”

With a product line of lightweight, durable and functional backpacks, shelters and accessories, Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s base of manufacturing is in Biddeford, Maine’s historic Pepperell Mill. Once a national center of textile manufacturing, Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s commitment to producing there is significant in the rebuilding of the local economy with an innovative 21st century textile product. The founders insist on keeping production in-house to provide the highest quality product for its consumers.

“Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s success proves that rural America is home to smart, high-growth companies,” said Chandler Jones, Principal of CEI Ventures. “We invest in companies that exhibit rapid growth and dynamic transformation that also contribute to building an economy that works for everyone.”

Hyperlite is an alumnus of the Telluride Venture Accelerator, a program affiliated with the Telluride Venture Fund. While not in Telluride Venture Fund’s typical geographic footprint, Hyperlite Mountain Gear fits its investment sector focus of the outdoors.

“The company has an impressive management team and solid existing product portfolio,” said Kurt Dalton of Telluride Venture Fund and Chairman of the Board at Hyperlite Mountain Gear. “The co-founders Mike and Dan St. Pierre have been a fantastic one-two punch on the creative and operational side — better than we initially expected. We were ready to support the business regardless of the fact that they weren’t basing themselves in our geo-region. Their products are certainly used by many in our geo region! This fundraising round solidifies the company’s growth plans for the future”

Jayme Okma Lee, Investment Manager of Maine Venture Fund congratulates the company’s team and board of directors for its continued growth and success, “Hyperlite Mountain Gear is an excellent example of how impact focused venture capital funds collaborate to support a well-performing business that is creating jobs and value for its shareholders.”

About Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Founded in 2010, Hyperlite Mountain Gear has been transforming the way people experience the outdoors by offering high-performance, ultralight equipment that allow adventurers to do more with less. The company was born out of CEO, Mike St. Pierre’s past dissatisfaction with the market availability of high-performing ultralight gear. Today, Hyperlite Mountain Gear product development is steered by the internal motto, “Precisely what’s needed and nothing more,” and it is dedicated to developing high-quality products free from the latest trends and nonessentials. The company has been rapidly expanding each year since inception and is located in the Pepperell Mill, a historic Biddeford, Maine mill that once employed thousands of textile workers from the mid-1800s through the late 20th century. Hyperlite Mountain Gear proudly sources all materials, and hand-crafts its products directly in the U.S.A. For more information about Hyperlite Mountain Gear, please visit: http://www.hyperlitemountaingear.com and follow the team’s adventures on Instagram: @hyperlite_mountain_gear

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. Learn more about how CEI is helping to build an economy that works for everyone here: www.CEIMaine.org.

Media Contact:

Christen Graham; Izzy Forman

cgraham@givingstrong.com or iforman@givingstrong.com

207.838.0082

 

Look for CEI at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show Jan 9-11

The 77th Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show will be held Tuesday, January 9, through Thursday, January 11, 2018, at the Augusta Civic Center. Hosted by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF), the show highlights Maine agriculture and the people involved through demonstrations, presentations and meetings of over 50 major agricultural organizations.

Where can you find CEI?

  • CEI staff will be exhibiting at a booth for the duration of the event.
  • CEI’s food system specialists Gray Harris and Brett Richardson will be available in the Beginning Farmer Resource Network room to talk with interested farmers.
  • Gray Harris will be running the ‘Shark Tank’ session on Thursday from 9-11am where farmers have the opportunity to pitch their farm business ideas to a panel of lenders in a fun, interactive format.

Learn more about the event here.

Forbes Highlights CEI Client American Roots and Maine’s Burgeoning Textile Industry

Forbes recently shared a story about the resurgence of the textile industry in the state of Maine. CEI client American Roots is on the front lines of the local industry, working collaboratively with organizations including CEI to offer training courses at a local community college and provide good jobs for a diverse cohort of skilled stitchers.

A stitcher at American Roots. Photo: Carol Liscovitz

Read the original story: A Made-In-Maine Startup Trains Locals In The Art Of Stitching

GreenMoney Journal’s Community Investing Issue Features CEI’s Approach to Increasing Economic Mobility

This article was originally published in GreenMoney Journal’s January 2018 issue on Community Impact Investing.

Building an Economy That Works for Everyone

By Betsy Biemann, CEO and Keith Bisson, President, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

Last year, as Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) conducted a strategic review as part of its leadership transition, we found ourselves asking the same questions that were being asked across the country, on both sides of the political aisle. At the heart of those questions was the recognition that our economy is not working for everyone. And a major takeaway was that rural regions, gateway cities, and the people who live there were being left behind.

Maine-based CEI is taking strides to change that. CEI invests in small companies, coaches people as they are starting and growing businesses, helps connect low-income jobseekers with training and good jobs, works to accelerate natural resources-based industries, and advocates for pragmatic policy solutions in our home state of Maine as well as in rural regions throughout the U.S. And over the years, as we have developed our track record of expanding shared prosperity in these regions, we have helped to create new ways to channel public and private investments into communities that are starved of capital.

The story of St. Croix Tissue, Inc. in the rural Maine town of Baileyville (population ~1,450), illustrates the unique role that CEI plays in community investing. CEI’s subsidiary, CEI Capital Management, invested in St. Croix Tissue using a New Markets Tax Credit which provided an opportunity for partial vertical integration of the host pulp mill operations of a related company, Woodland Pulp LLC. This investment contributed significantly to the stability and future viability of Woodland Pulp’s 300 employees, while also creating 80 new jobs at St. Croix Tissue. CEI stayed close to the company in this growth phase, offering deep knowledge of workforce development, public sector resources, and qualified organizations able to provide job training — essential support for a distressed community. This investment with wrap-around services has helped jumpstart the economy and provide some hope in Maine’s poorest county.

New tissue paper-making machines en route to St. Croix Tissue.

Now in its 40th year, with $96 million in total assets, CEI is in a strong position to advance its mission further and deepen its impact. CEI grew from an early community-development innovator founded on the rocky coast of Maine to a nationally-known best practices leader and policy advocate for inclusive regional economic growth, and a trusted channel for impact investing. Its wholly-owned for-profit subsidiaries expand its suite of financing products targeting underserved communities and contribute to its financial self-sustainability. Two years ago, CEI and its subsidiaries, including a seasoned management team and next generation of forward-looking leaders, moved into a LEED Platinum-certified building that generates half of its power from solar energy and 100% of its heating and cooling with geothermal energy.

CEI LEED Platinum-certified headquarters in Brunswick, Maine.

From its beginnings as a small non-profit serving mid-coast Maine, the CEI family of organizations has invested in 2,724 businesses and projects, helping to support over 39,000 jobs in Maine and across the country. CEI is entering a new phase of its work, based on a new strategic plan that will guide us for the next three years. We are growing good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises and shared prosperity.

By all measures, Maine’s lobstering industry is an economic powerhouse, providing thousands of jobs and adding more than $1 billion annually to the state’s economy. This bright picture, however, belies two startling statistics: a very small percentage of Maine’s 3,500-mile coastline provides commercial access to fishermen and nearly half the licensed lobstermen are over the age of 50. Transitioning this industry to the younger generation, while preserving working waterfront access, is crucial to the future of Maine’s economy.

Purchased in 1978, Millers’ Wharf in Tenants Harbor serves as home base for a lobstering business operated by the four Miller brothers and their extended families. Over twelve years, CEI worked closely with the Millers, providing a loan in partnership with Key Bank to expand the wharf and dredge so that bait and catch can be off-loaded regardless of the tide. With CEI financing, the Millers added four hoists, increasing efficiency and the number of boats they could serve. CEI also helped secure the property through the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program, ensuring access not only for future generations of Millers, but other fishermen as well. With the impacts of climate change already visible to Mainers, CEI is now helping to diversify income streams by teaching the fisherman to grow and harvest shellfish and kelp.

In the late 1970s, CEI’s early supporters were motivated by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for social justice and the War on Poverty at a time when options for young Mainers to earn a decent livelihood were shrinking. Maine was losing good jobs in forestry and farming, access to working waterfront infrastructure and species for fishing were declining, and larger companies were closing and leaving the state.

CEI began work in other rural regions as well as in its “gateway” cities of Portland, Lewiston and Auburn. These small cities that were magnets for immigrants a century ago were undergoing economic transitions and again attracting immigrants and refugees from countries in East Africa and the Middle East, who drew on their entrepreneurial drive and skills to build a new life in the U.S. In response, CEI launched StartSmart, a program to coach and finance immigrants and refugees seeking to launch small businesses to support their families.

Founder, Naima Abdirhmon with children in the ARWO program – ARWO is a hub for immigrants and refugee businesses in Portland, Maine.

ARWO opened in April 2015 on Forest Avenue, a hub for immigrants and refugee businesses in Portland, Maine. In two years, the center has grown to an enrollment of 70 children and 18 employees. ARWO means “prosperous” in Somali—the center’s wish for every child in its care. Founder Naima Abdirhmon immigrated to the U.S. from Somalia, and worked closely with CEI’s StartSmart and the Portland Jobs Alliance to identify, train, and hire numerous staff members, including five new Americans. Prior to launching ARWO, Naime attended Portland public schools and then earned a Doctorate of Pharmacy Degree from University of New England. She is passionate about educating young people and helping them succeed.

As CEI grew its geographic footprint, it also identified an array of investment tools needed by businesses in rural markets. CEI’s for-profit subsidiary, CEI Ventures, Inc.’s four funds have raised over $45 million, investing in growth-oriented companies that have created over 2,000 net new jobs, approximately two-thirds of which are located in distressed or rural areas[1]. At the federal level, CEI advocated for rural regions to get their fair share of New Markets Tax Credits to finance larger transactions. Since 2004, CEI Capital Management LLC has placed over $944 million into 91 projects in communities from Maine to Hawaii. In addition to creating and sustaining jobs, these projects have generated renewable energy and alternative fuels, conserved over 833,000 acres of forestland under easement, and developed over 550 units of affordable housing.CEI works statewide in Maine using its full suite of financing tools, business advisory services and policy advocacy, while expanding its reach nationally via its for-profit subsidiaries. These subsidiaries provide resources in support of the parent nonprofit and extend its rural expertise and mission impact to small cities and towns across the U.S. This model has strengthened CEI’s financial health and self-sufficiency.

A New Path Forward

CEI’s new strategic plan calls on the organization to harness its investing capacity, deep expertise and broad networks, and program and policy know-how to revitalize rural regions and gateway cities. We invest to create impact for people with low incomes, expand the numbers of good jobs, and ultimately, increase shared prosperity. We take risks on early stage innovators that conventional lenders won’t—calculating good jobs and environmental benefit as core to its return on investment.

We see opportunity in Maine’s burgeoning local food movement, and creating access to new markets for food producers. We work in partnership with others, locally and nationally, to make sure that capital is available for entrepreneurs throughout the food system, from farm to consumer. We are exploring the opportunity to grow the aquaculture industry and renewable energy industry in and beyond Maine, and building support for forest reliant communities in the Northeast to advance community and economic development, conservation and forestry. In 2017, the CEI family of organizations deployed $51.7 million to 79 businesses in mostly rural regions. We are committed to our role providing impact investment channels, coaching, and industry expertise to ensure that everyone has a foothold in our economy.

KeyBank Donates $450,000 to Coastal Enterprises Inc. to support new job growth in Maine’s Rural Counties

Three-year commitment is part of Key’s five-year National Community Benefits Plan

December 12, 2017 — KeyBank Foundation has donated $450,000 payable over three years to Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a national leader in rural business development, to support small business growth and job creation in Maine’s rural counties. The grant, approved as part of Key’s $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan, will provide new support for CEI’s small business lending and advisory services and innovative partnerships with local organizations to help grow economic opportunity and quality jobs in rural Maine.

“We are grateful for Key Bank’s recognition of the challenges and opportunities that Maine’s rural regions face as they work to grow more – and better quality – jobs and environmentally sustainable enterprises,” said Betsy Biemann, CEI’s CEO. “We are here to help business owners access the financial resources and business advice that they need to be a successful part of their local economy.”

With KeyBank’s investment of $150,000 per year for three years, CEI expects to provide lending and business advisory services to 1,400 aspiring and current small business owners and help create and retain 300 jobs in the region in the next three years. In addition, CEI will pilot new work with local anchor institutions and partners to grow entrepreneurship as a means to generate income and savings, particularly for individuals with low incomes in the area.

“Support to small business development and entrepreneurship is increasingly recognized as an effective strategy for growing community and increasing family assets and stability,” said KeyBank’s Maine Market President and Regional Executive Sterling Kozlowski. “In rural counties, where 88% of businesses have four or fewer employees, the continued growth of existing and new enterprises is essential to job creation and driving economic vitality in the region, and KeyBank is proud to support CEI’s transformational efforts.”

In March 2016, KeyBank demonstrated its deep commitment to helping communities thrive with the release of its National Community Benefits Plan. The plan marks KeyBank’s $16.5 billion commitment to community development and investment across its 15-state footprint over the next five years in four main areas: mortgage, small business lending, community development lending & investment (CDLI), and philanthropy. The goal of the National Community Benefits Plan is to help drive transformative change across all the communities KeyBank serves. The $450,000 commitment to CEI is the second major charitable gift made this year in the state of Maine; in August, KeyBank Foundation committed $300,000 to Preble Street in Portland ME to help eliminate homelessness.

KeyBank has 50 branches serving individuals, families and businesses throughout Maine, including 15 branches in the rural counties of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, and Aroostook.

Photo Caption: Participating at a recent check presentation event were (from left) KeyBank Maine Market President, Sterling Kozlowski; CEI Senior Program Director of Business Development Services Jennifer Sporzynski; KeyBank Corporate Responsibility Officer Brigitte Ritchie; CEI President Keith Bisson; and CEI Chief Executive Officer Betsy Biemann.

About CEI
Now in its 40th year of building an economy that works for everyone, 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. Find out more at www.ceimaine.org.

About KeyBank Foundation:
KeyBank Foundation serves to fulfill KeyBank’s purpose “to help clients and communities thrive,” and its mission is “to support organizations and programs that prepare people for thriving futures.”  The Foundation’s mission is advanced through three funding priorities – neighbors, education, and workforce – and through community service. To provide meaningful philanthropy that transforms lives, KeyBank Foundation listens carefully to understand the unique characteristics and needs of its communities and then backs solutions with targeted philanthropic investments. KeyBank Foundation is a nonprofit charitable foundation, funded by KeyCorp.