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June 15, 2021

CEI Receives $1.8 Million COVID-19 Response Award to Help Grow Good Jobs and Economic Opportunity in Maine


June 15, 2021 (Brunswick, ME)—The U.S. Treasury announced a $1,826,265 award to Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) today. The award is part of an historic announcement of $1.25 billion in funds for 863 community development financial institutions (CDFIs) made by Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at the White House.

The funds will allow CDFIs like CEI to respond to economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in underserved communities. CEI is one of the nation’s leading rural CDFIs and, since 1977, has provided $1.46 billion in financing to 3,038 businesses and projects in Maine and rural regions throughout the country.

“Diverse small business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders of community facilities like child care centers need to be part of the team rebuilding an equitable economy in the months and years ahead,” said Betsy Biemann, CEI’s CEO. “In order to bring back businesses that have fallen on hard times, you don’t just rebuild what you’ve lost. You build what you hope to have. These funds will strengthen our ability to help them create jobs, environmentally sustainable businesses and prosperity that everyone can share in.”

COVID-19 put a spotlight on racial, gender and wealth inequality, access to good jobs with livable  wages, working capital, quality child care, healthcare and reliable internet. The funds can be used for financial products and services, business development services, operational capacity, and capital and loan-loss reserves, enabling CDFIs to help businesses, families and communities work together towards a real recovery that addresses significant stress points in our society.

“CEI is honored to be among a national network of community lenders across the country recognized as part of the solution to ending economic inequity,” said Keith Bisson, CEI’s President. “The disruption and uncertainty caused by the global pandemic continue to affect pricing, supply and employment, especially in key sectors of the economy, like child care. As we work closely with business owners to help them pivot or start a new venture, we also aim to deepen our mission for long-term impact across industries and regions, positioning them for the future.”

Fellow Maine-based CDFIs Community Credit Union, Eastern Maine Development Corporation, Four Directions Development Corporation, Genesis Fund, Inc., MaineStream Finance, and Northern Maine Development Corporation also received awards today. Of the 863 CDFIs receiving an award, 245 represent rural geographic markets.

Entrepreneurs in Maine can access CEI’s business advice and inquire about loans, by phone, (207) 504-5900, or email, More information is available at

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. More at

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