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:

FocusMaine Announces Launch of Implementation Plan with CEI, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine & Co.

September 19, 2017 — PORTLAND, MAINE — FocusMaine is pleased to announce it is pursuing the full scope of its 10-year implementation plan to create quality Maine jobs and increase worker capacity in Maine. This month marks the start of the organization’s initial three-year phase of implementation. During this phase, FocusMaine aims to build the necessary foundation for sustained job creation in the three traded sectors FocusMaine has identified as having high potential for accelerated job growth: agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharmaceuticals, as well as to build systems to retain and attract knowledge workers for Maine businesses and their selected sectors.

A generous $4.9 million three-year matching grant from The Harold Alfond ® Foundation has helped launch the transition to this implementation phase.

“FocusMaine is excited to have begun working with our partner organizations on the full scope of our plan, beginning in the early years with building the foundation necessary for creating meaningful jobs and accelerating growth in our signature sectors,” said Michael Dubyak, co-chair of FocusMaine. “We are confident our leadership, vision, collaboration with our partners, and long-term commitment to seeing this 10-year effort succeed, which really differentiates FocusMaine, will result in increased economic opportunity for Maine.”

“Entering this implementation phase is the transition from research and planning into action, which is the critical step to achieving our long-term mission,” said FocusMaine cochair Andrea Cianchette Maker. “We greatly appreciate The Harold Alfond ® Foundation’s generous support and their confidence in our ability to execute our research-supported plans to create sustainable, quality jobs and secure workers needed for Maine’s economy.”

FocusMaine works closely with its partner organizations, which include the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Coastal Enterprises Inc., and Maine & Company, who have been instrumental in developing and now executing strategies within the selected sectors to accelerate quality job growth in Maine. The services, programs and resources they will provide to businesses in the selected sectors through FocusMaine will include strategies to attract, recruit and support new investment, address growth barriers, and improve access to growth capital. They also will provide accelerator and mentorship programs, and develop management and analytical tools to aid businesses in the identified sectors.

To lead this multi-partner collaboration, FocusMaine has hired an experienced executive to serve as its first president. Kimberly A. Hamilton, PhD, who grew up in North Yarmouth, Maine, was most recently Chief Impact Officer at Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. Previously, Kim served in a variety of senior roles at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other policy and research organizations. She will start her new role in late October.

The $4.9 million Harold Alfond ® Foundation matching grant, an earlier grant from the Maine Technology Institute, and other donations bring FocusMaine’s implementation phase fundraising total to date close to the $6.6 million it needs to complete the first three year phase of the organization’s implementation plan. FocusMaine is working to secure additional commitments by early 2018 to reach that goal.

FocusMaine aims to stimulate the growth of between 5,000 to 12,000 direct traded jobs (primarily engaging in exports from Maine) and 14,000 to 32,000 indirect jobs (supplier and supports) in its signature sectors over the course of the next ten years. FocusMaine, through its Knowledge Worker Initiative, is committed to fostering, growing, and attracting the talent critical to support the workforce requirements of these traded sectors, as well as increasing Maine’s overall workforce capacity.

About FocusMaine:
Founded in 2014, FocusMaine’s mission is to strengthen and revitalize opportunity and prosperity in Maine by accelerating the growth of jobs in select signature industries that have high potential to create Maine jobs on a sustainable basis. In collaboration with multiple partners, FocusMaine will coordinate and oversee the execution of programs designed to accelerate business growth and business attraction in its selected sectors, as well as increase Maine’s workforce capacity. FocusMaine was founded by a group of proven, private-sector Maine leaders, and in partnership with industry-specific subject matter experts, advisers, economists and partnering organizations, is using a fact-based, disciplined approach to sector selection and industry development. FocusMaine acts as a catalyst for the accelerated and sustainable growth and business confidence that energizes Maine’s economy. For more information visit

Overview of FocusMaine Program Partners
Agriculture Strategies
Coastal Enterprises Inc. (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 will work with FocusMaine on two projects to grow Maine’s agriculture and food industry and create quality jobs and economic opportunity across the state. First, CEI will help attract new investment in Maine’s food industry by hosting forums where investors will meet Maine’s investment-ready food and beverage entrepreneurs poised for significant growth. Second, CEI will work with industry leaders to accelerate the development of several promising food and beverage sectors to meet growing consumer demand for premium products. These initiatives will support businesses with growth goals that are focused on expanding markets inside and outside of Maine.

Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED)
Founded twenty years ago, MCED is Maine’s premier business incubator program launched to serve both Portland and three rural areas around Maine. MCED delivers intensive entrepreneurship training in coordination with strategic partner organizations and the Maine Mentor Network, a cadre of 140 volunteer business specialists. To date, 171 startup companies have graduated from MCED programs, and hundreds of individual entrepreneurs have benefited from one-on-one coaching. MCED is leveraging its experience and networks to launch the FocusMaine sponsored Food, Beverage and Agriculture Accelerator. The new Accelerator will work with ten established small food companies, farms or beverage companies each year to assist in scaling their businesses to the next level. These companies will come together as a Cohort to learn from MCED subject matter experts, and each other, as they grow scalable businesses and diversify the Maine economy.

Aquaculture Strategies
Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI)
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute pioneers collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges. Located in Portland, ME, GMRI is dedicated to the resilience of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it. For more information, visit

Our Role with FocusMaine: Partnering with FocusMaine is an important piece of GMRI’s broader aquaculture objectives. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Aquaculture Program aims to grow aquaculture in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) to support and diversify working waterfront economies. We are working collaboratively with industry leaders, farmers, researchers, the business community, and other nonprofits to identify and pursue opportunities to expand aquaculture. Our aquaculture strategy focuses on providing systematic support, where outcomes impact the industry as a whole and complement other efforts to grow aquaculture in the GOM (e.g. tech transfer, research, training).

As part of the FocusMaine initiative, GMRI, the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) and FocusMaine have formed a partnership to accelerate growth of Maine’s aquaculture industry over the next 10 years. In 2016, the partners convened a group of industry leaders with expertise in business, aquaculture, and finance for an intensive 9-month strategic planning process that produced three broad strategies to enable growth of Maine’s aquaculture industry: 1) address growth barriers and provide resources that support new business success and growth of established small businesses, 2) recruit new large aquaculture businesses to Maine, and 3) improve access to startup and growth capital Within the partnership, GMRI will spearhead initiatives to sponsor growth-ready aquaculture businesses through scale-up and mentoring programs; facilitate a gap analysis of aquaculture workforce training programs; develop a small business resource that provides stepwise instructions (including available resources and how and when to utilize them) for navigating the entire aquaculture business lifecycle, from startup through scale up; and create and maintain a webpage detailing financing and risk management programs available to aquaculture businesses.

In cooperation with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Maine Aquaculture Association and Maine & Company, GMRI will support the establishment of an aquaculture investment recruitment program. This program will seek to attract and support new investment into the state’s aquaculture sector from outside the state and country. The recruitment program will serve as a one stop shop for companies and investors wishing to understand why Maine is the best place to locate their operations.

Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA)
Founded in 1976, the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) is the country’s oldest state aquaculture association. MAA serves as the center of a dynamic and fast-growing cluster of farms, service providers and researchers that comprise the state’s aquaculture sector. Maine has over 190 commercial
aquaculture farms that grow finfish, shellfish and seaweed. These farms employ over 650 people using a
wide variety of production methods and generating over $100 million in sales annually. Recognized as world leaders in the development of sustainable, aquatic farming methods, MAA members continually strive to innovate, reduce their ecological footprint and provide the highest quality, healthy seafood.

MAA is cooperating with FocusMaine to develop innovative, new farm management and analytical tools
for the farming, financing and investment communities. MAA will develop a series of species and production method specific economic benchmarking studies. These studies will assist the financing and investment communities in understanding what normal operating costs and returns on investment should be for five different types of production. The benchmarking studies will also serve as metrics against which existing farms can measure their own performance compared to industry averages.

MAA is also developing a series of generic, species and production method specific, business plans with linked production plans. The production plans will allow farmers to vary some basic assumptions and project production levels and harvest timing based on these variables. The production plans will be linked to the overarching business plans, thus allowing farmers to examine the impacts of different production plans on their business plans, cash flow and returns on investment. The business and production plans are targeted to assist new farmers who have little financial or farm management training.

Join Us for a Free Food & Beverage Entrepreneur Coaching Event!

On Wednesday, October 4th, Samuel Adams is bringing its popular Brewing the American Dream (BTAD) Speed Coaching event to Portland, ME for the first time. Brewing the American Dream, Sam Adams’ core philanthropic initiative, connects passionate food and beverage entrepreneurs with seasoned industry experts and is designed to provide expert, personalized business advice. The events are hosted in partnership with Accion, the nation’s largest nonprofit small business lending network and the Portland event is in partnership with Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural economic development as well as the Maine Brewers Guild, Greater Portland Council of Governments, Food Fork Lab and ScaleUp.

During the free Speed Coaching event, food and beverage business owners receive counseling from business experts to generate new ideas and strategies to help their businesses grow and succeed. Each attendee will participate in up to six, 20-minute personalized coaching sessions with local small business specialists, food and beverage veterans and experts from Sam Adams, Accion and CEI. From sales and distribution to packaging, finance, e-commerce and more, no small business subject is off-limits.

Attendees can expect a fun evening of learning, networking and comradery over a pint of Sam Adams OctoberFest. Attendees will also receive a copy of the book Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two by Sam Adams brewer and founder, Jim Koch.  

RSVP:                    The Speed Coaching event in Portland is free to attend and is open to all entrepreneurs in food, beverage and craft brewing. Business owners interested in participating can register on Eventbrite at 

WHEN:                 Wednesday, October 4th, 2017, 5:30 – 8:30 PM EDT 

WHERE:               O’Maine Studios, 54 Danforth St., Portland, Maine 04101 

WHY:                    Jim Koch started Samuel Adams in his kitchen in 1984, and after 33 years of brewing success, he never forgot how difficult it was to start and run a successful small business. Jim created Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream in 2008 to provide support to business owners in two areas he wishes he had help with when launching Sam Adams: real-world business advice and a loan.

NATIONAL IMPACT: Since the BTAD program began in 2008, Sam Adams has supported Accion in providing more than 1,300 loans totaling $18.9 million to food and beverage businesses across the country who have then created or retained over 5,400 jobs. Just as important, the program has coached or mentored over 8,000 small businesses through events like BTAD Speed Coaching.

NEW ENGLAND IMPACT: In the New England region, Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream has supported Accion in providing over 120 loans totaling nearly $1.4 million and helping some of the most passionate food and beverage entrepreneurs across the region support approximately 495 jobs and counting.

MEDIA RSVP:     If interested in attending, media must RVSP to at

Betsy Biemann Named Aspen Institute Job Quality Fellow

September 7, 2017–With support from The Prudential Foundation and Ford Foundation, the Aspen Institute’s Job Quality Fellowship aims to support and strengthen the work of leaders dedicated to expanding access to and availability of better quality jobs in our economy.

“Now is the time to focus on making better quality jobs,” said Maureen Conway, vice president for policy programs and executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute. “That’s why we’re launching the Job Quality Fellowship. It is our direct engagement with an impressive range of innovators already leading the way toward expanded opportunity and improved job quality.”

Over the next year, Aspen Job Quality Fellows will work together on these crucial issues. The 2017-18 Job Quality Fellows are:

  • Emylene Aspilla, Director, Social Responsibility & Community Sustainability, San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, CA
  • Betsy Biemann, CEO, Coastal Enterprises Inc, Brunswick, ME
  • Laphonza Butler, President, SEIU 2015, Los Angeles, CA
  • Amanda Cage, Chief Program Officer, Chicago-Cook County Workforce Partnership, Chicago, IL
  • Mary Jo Cook, President & CEO, Pacific Community Ventures, San Francisco, CA
  • Jose Corona, Director, Equity & Strategic Partnerships, Office of the Mayor, Oakland, CA
  • Christine Curella, Director, Business Initiatives & Job Quality, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, New York, NY
  • Jess Kutch, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director,, Washington, DC
  • J.D. LaRock, President & CEO, Commonwealth Corporation, Boston, MA
  • Sean Daniel Murphy, CEO, ICA Fund Good Jobs, Oakland, CA
  • Jenny Riggenbach, Workforce Director, Incourage, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
  • Liddy Romero, Managing Director, WorkLab Innovation, Denver, CO
  • Anjali Sakaria, Senior Community Development Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Boston, MA
  • Palak Shah, Social Innovations Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New York, NY
  • Lara Shock, Senior Director, Associate Choice Initiatives, Walmart, Bentonville, AR
  • Walt Tobin, President, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, Orangeburg, SC

“People need stable, quality jobs that are safe, pay enough to live on, and offer essential benefits. There are not enough of these jobs, particularly for low-income, underserved populations,” said Sarah Keh, director of corporate giving, Prudential Financial, Inc., in a webinar discussing the Fellowship. “Low quality jobs can be a core driver of inequality because everything is intertwined in today’s economy. Businesses succeed when individuals, families, and communities are thriving too.”

For over 25 years, EOP has aimed to expand opportunities for people to connect to quality work, build assets, and attain a stable economic standing. The new Job Quality Fellowship Program extends this ongoing mission. For more information about the Fellowship, visit

CEI One of Four New Issuers to Join ImpactUs Marketplace

September 13, 2017—Washington, D.C.—Financial technology provider ImpactUs today announced the onboarding of four additional issuers to its impact investing platform, ImpactUs Marketplace. The Marketplace is a community-driven  platform offering institutions, individuals and financial advisors an extensive range of private impact investing opportunities.

The four issuers* are mission-driven organizations dedicated to building strong, healthy and successful communities.

  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc.: A national leader in rural business development, CEI helps to grow good jobs, environmentally-sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and across the country.
  • Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.: Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., part of the Enterprise Community Partners family of companies, improves communities and lives by bringing capital to developments that make well-designed homes affordable.
  • Iroquois Valley Farms REIT: An early adopter of the ImpactUs Marketplace, Iroquois Valley Farms has added its REIT to the platform to enable investors to directly support the growth of the organic food movement by supporting regenerative organic farmers.
  • MicroVest Capital Management LLC: Founded in 2003, MicroVest applies a commercial framework to investing in unbanked and under-served markets to address financial inclusion by investing in financial intermediaries serving unbanked and underserved communities around the world.

*Some of these issuers’ offerings are only available to accredited investors. Investing in private investments requires high risk tolerance, low liquidity concerns, and long-term commitments. Investors must be able to afford to lose their entire investment.

“These four organizations are now part of the growing number of mission-driven institutions realizing the power that technology, coupled with formal investment administration services, can have in reaching broadening their reach to current and prospective impact investors,” said Reginald Stanley, President and CEO of ImpactUs.

“While ImpactUs Marketplace is the platform through which these issuers seek to receive investments, these organizations are central to furthering our mission of creating thriving communities,” said Liz Sessler, Vice President of ImpactUs. “The issuers allow investors to seek returns in the form of affordable housing and healthcare, employment, sustainable agriculture, microfinance and more.”

ImpactUs provides the technological infrastructure to seamlessly connect investors and advisors with mission-driven institutions, providing end-to-end transactional and capital management capabilities. As a broker dealer, ImpactUs harnesses technology to make impact investing more accessible.

ImpactUs Marketplace is open to investors looking to increase their purpose-driven investments. Those interested in learning about these investment opportunities and more can log onto to register.

The foundational support necessary to launch ImpactUs was provided by some of the leading organizations in the social impact sphere, including MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners and City First Enterprises.

About ImpactUs
ImpactUs Marketplace simplifies the impact investing process. It provides investors, advisors, and impact organizations greater choice at accessible costs while directing more capital to funds and projects that seek to deliver community, societal, and environmental benefits. Every day, ImpactUs connects investors with purpose, creating more equitable and thriving communities.

The information contained in this press release does not constitute an offer or solicitation and may not be treated as an offer or solicitation (i) in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation is against the law; (ii) to anyone to whom it is unlawful to make such an offer or solicitation; (iii) if the person making the offer or solicitation is not qualified to do so. The issuers named in this press release can only be marketed in certain jurisdictions only. 

All securities related activity is conducted through ImpactUs Marketplace LLC a registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, located at 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20009. ImpactUs does not make investment recommendations and this communication should not be construed as a recommendation for any security offering named in this press release. Private investments are only suitable for investors who are familiar with and willing to accept the high risk associated with private investments. Securities sold through private investments are not publicly traded and are intended for investors who do not have a need for a liquid investment.

Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. (“ECI”, together with its affiliates, “Enterprise”) is a Maryland corporation exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).  ECI’s business lines include, among other things, directly and through its affiliates, the syndication of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, multifamily mortgage financing and other structured finance products. ECI’s directors are appointed by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (“Partners”). 

Partners is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code and is a founding member of ImpactUs Marketplace LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (“ImpactUs”), a registered broker-dealer and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.  ImpactUs’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) appointed a manager and CEO, who manages the company’s day to day affairs.

U.S. Treasury Awards CEI $916,000 to Expand Its Community Development Work

September 21, 2017 — BRUNSWICK, ME — Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) today announced it has been awarded $916,000 from the U.S. Treasury Department as part of its FY2017 Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI) Program.

The funds will be used to increase lending and investment in low and middle-income communities, nurturing shared prosperity in Maine and rural regions across the U.S. This is CEI’s 15th award from the CDFI Fund since 1997; providing for loans to entrepreneurs and business owners that create good jobs, affordable housing, essential community services and environmentally sustainable enterprises.

Throughout the country, 303 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including CEI, were awarded a total of $208.7 million.

“This award gives us the ability to build upon four decades of providing capital, counsel and policy innovation to support entrepreneurs and small businesses across diverse industries and demographic profiles,” said CEI CEO Betsy Biemann. “Whether that’s connecting rural farmers and food producers to new markets, or helping immigrants to start businesses as they establish their lives in their adopted communities, we are stepping up our pace as the world around us changes. These funds help us further invest in building an economy that works for everyone.”

This year, the U.S. Treasury reported that it received applications from 434 eligible organizations, requesting more than $567 million through the CDFI Program for FY2017.

“We are so grateful for the support of our congressional delegation – Senator Susan Collins, Senator Angus King, Congressman Bruce Poliquin and Congresswoman Pingree – who recognize the value of this federal community development program in their districts every day,” said CEI President Keith Bisson.

CDFI Fund awards, based on a competitive application process, have enabled community development financial institutions such as CEI to increase lending and investment activity in low-income and economically distressed communities. In total, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $2.5 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations, and financial institutions through the Community Development Financial Institutions Program, the Native American CDFI Assistance Program, and the Bank Enterprise Award Program.

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 CDFI Fund
Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $2.5 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations, and financial institutions through the Community Development Financial Institutions Program, the Native American CDFI Assistance Program, and the Bank Enterprise Award Program. In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $50.5 billion in tax credit allocation authority to Community Development Entities through the New Markets Tax Credit Program, closed guaranteed bonds in the amount of $1.1 billion through the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, and awarded more than $171 million through the Capital Magnet Fund.

To learn more about the CDFI Fund and its programs, please visit the CDFI Fund’s website at

CEI Headquarters Certified LEED Platinum

Coastal Enterprises, Inc.’s (CEI’s) new headquarters in Brunswick, Maine, earned a prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum accreditation, the highest level for building energy efficiency and sustainability, and one of just six awarded in Maine for new commercial construction since the standard was created.

According to Gunnar Hubbard, LEED Fellow, principal and sustainability practice leader at Thornton Tomasetti, a global structural engineering firm with its sustainability office in Portland, Maine, and colleague Heather Walters, the senior project manager and LEED consultant on the build, getting to a platinum-level certification was far from certain, given Maine’s climate (cold winters and hot summers) and CEI’s relatively moderate budget.

“Originally we didn’t think a platinum-level certification would be possible, but as the design progressed, CEI really wanted to pursue maximum efficiency and sustainability, and the contractor was able to deliver,” says Hubbard. “It’s an interesting story, actually, as we were challenged by both location and budget, which made us all have to think outside the box to get there.”

Built in 2015, CEI’s new headquarters consolidates multiple offices and brings the CEI family of enterprises together under one roof. Creating an environmentally sustainable building was always a top priority, especially for CEI’s founder and CEO Ron Phillips, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the building was completed prior to his retirement in 2016. Sustainability is a central tenet of CEI’s work as a mission-driven investor to help grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity.

CEI relied on a diverse team to oversee the work, including John Egan, CEI’s SVP of lending and investing, COO Corenna Howard, and Construction Analyst Tom Donahue, who worked closely with CWS Architects, AlliedCook Construction of Scarborough, and Thornton Tomasetti.

Since its founding in 1977, CEI has focused on the environment in its financing, consulting, and policy advocacy for businesses and projects in Maine and rural regions throughout the U.S. Many of these businesses, including ocean and land-based food systems, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism, rely on natural resources. Recent examples from CEI’s investment portfolio of nearly 400 companies are Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC), which brings environmentally conscious, marine-powered electricity to rural areas, and Goranson Farm, in Dresden, which installed a solar array in order to become energy independent.

“When CEI embarked on the transition of its physical resources into the 21st century, they made it clear that delivering a new headquarters building, which boldly demonstrated a sustainable path forward for Maine – and the world – would be a central pillar of their move,” says Benedict B. Walter, president of CWS Architects.

“As the planning and design evolved, even as challenges presented themselves, CEI continued to raise the bar,” said Walter. “Ultimately, their commitment resulted in a very efficient facility that taps natural solar and ground water resources without relying on any carbon-sourced operating equipment. Accordingly, their new central office facility is a model development for any business looking for a responsible path forward and proved that CEI truly walks the walk.”

The new office space was designed to maximize daylight in conference rooms and interior spaces and provide accents on the building’s façade that are in keeping with Brunswick’s town character. A reflective white roof minimizes the urban heat-island-effect that contributes to higher temperatures in cities while reducing the cooling load in summer months. AlliedCook chose regionally sourced and recycled materials and installed a highly efficient ground water source heat pump heating and cooling system, which is powered by a photovoltaic system (solar panels). No fossil fuel is used at the site for heating and cooling of the 22,000-square-foot structure.

LEED certification is based on a point system, with each of the first three levels requiring 10 additional points to achieve. An extra 20 points is required, however, to make the leap from Gold-level to Platinum, the highest certification possible. CEI’s building received all of the available points for energy efficiency, due to its energy-efficient lighting, heating, cooling and mechanical systems, as well as insulation. The solar array of photovoltaic panels, installed on the building’s roof, produces more than half of the electricity used in the building.

Heather Walters points out that many of these measures were low- rather than high-tech. “CEI was able to achieve the highest level of energy efficiency using standard technology,” she said. “Whereas some high-tech projects have the budget to order and ship in state-of-the-art materials, we call the materials for this project, ‘state-of-the-shelf,’ meaning that the contractor was able to source locally available materials and get the same result.”

This also added to the building’s sustainability rating while reducing costs. For example, the light maple wood that is visible throughout the building was sourced primarily from Maine and New England, and the flooring was provided by angela adams, a local designer.

John Egan, who served as the internal project manager for the entire construction process, emphasizes how much input staff at CEI had on both the building’s layout and design, and says, “The best part of the building is that we don’t use any fossil fuels on the site. We elected to heat and cool with energy from the earth in an effort to be as self-sufficient as we can.”



CEI Contributes to New Federal Reserve Publication on the Power of Food System Investments to Transform Communities

August 3, 2017 – The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agencies of Rural Development and the Agricultural Marketing Service, has released Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities, a compilation of research, essays and reports that explores the potential for the growing popularity of locally sourced food to be harnessed to boost economic opportunities for rural and urban communities. CEI’s Gray Harris (Senior Program Director, Natural Resource Sectors) was selected to be on the national advisory council that shaped the content and structure of the publication, and co-authored a chapter, as did Daniel Wallace (Loan and Investment Officer), and CEI’s founder and former CEO Ron Phillips. CEI’s aquaculture and fisheries team contributed content as well. The intention of the publication is to spur conversations and action to increase investments in regional food systems.

“Regional food systems represent a promising avenue for economic growth for both rural and urban communities through the creation of new or the enhancement of existing jobs and businesses,” said Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard in the book’s foreword. Through the work that was conducted to develop the book, “we also learned that, with appropriately targeted policies and support, the attendant opportunities can advance the economic and financial security of low- and moderate-income households and communities.”

Contributors include experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, financial institutions, universities, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and more. The book covers topics such as:

  • the investment opportunities available in the regional food systems sector,
  • how to advance efforts to provide meaningful earnings and job opportunities for LMI households and communities,
  • the vital partnerships that are key for deploying knowledge and capital to support the sector’s continued growth,
  • examples of communities who have used regional food strategies to advance economic and other community goals, and
  • models of collaboration between policymakers, practitioners, and the financial community.

In addition to exploring how the development of regional food systems can contribute direct economic benefits, the book also shows how improved access to healthier foods can boost community health and lead to a more productive workforce.

For more information, see the Harvesting Opportunity website at

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 Team Members

COURTNEY PARKER – Loan Services Administrator

Courtney has several years of experience in client facing administrative roles in the healthcare field, most recently as the audiology coordinator at the Pine Tree Society. Prior to that, she was at Martin’s Point Healthcare in Brunswick for six years as the Patient Services Representative. Courtney earned her Associates’ Degree in Liberal Arts from Northern Essex Community College.



JENNIFER KANWIT – Executive Assistant to Keith Bisson & Betsy Biemann

Jennifer has a diverse background in education, marketing and event planning, and executive level assistance. Jennifer started her professional life as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in New York City. After deciding to leave the teaching profession, she joined Reservoir Capital Group in Manhattan as an Executive Assistant, supporting three Principals. After moving  to Maine in 2012 Jennifer successfully launched her own event planning business and worked as the Marketing/PR coordinator for Hear Me Now, a non-profit that provides services for children with hearing loss. Most recently Jennifer worked remotely as the Executive Assistant at a New-York based HR Consulting firm. Jennifer holds a B.A. with a concentration in Journalism from Rutgers University, an M.A. in Early Education and an Ed. M. in Deaf Education.


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 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.



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.