FocusMaine (Foundation for a Strong Maine Economy)

Category: Youth & Community Development
Year of Last Grant Award:2020

Since 2014, the Harold Alfond Foundation has provided grant support to FocusMaine for the development and implementation of sector growth strategies and business plans in the areas of the life sciences, aquaculture, and agriculture, with a focus on skills and talent development. These are high-growth areas in which Maine has demonstrated a competitive advantage.

According to FocusMaine, “The Harold Alfond Foundation made an early bet on FocusMaine. The Foundation’s inaugural grant in 2014 supported the development of our initial strategy, and the subsequent matching challenge provided critical capital to move from strategy to implementation.  Now we are beginning to see the results of the Harold Alfond Foundation’s early vote of confidence.  With $1.2M in initial matching funds and support from the Foundation, we are on a pathway to develop 20,000 quality jobs in Maine in three high-growth global sectors: agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharmaceuticals. 

“Our unique approach will strengthen Maine businesses by growing the market for value-added products that build on Maine’s assets: clean coastline, ample farmland, proximity to major urban markets, and the ‘can do’ spirit of Mainers. By positioning Maine to compete in these sectors, we’ll also attract companies looking to call Maine home.  Importantly, business growth in our signature sectors creates an opportunity to build stronger training pipelines for Maine students, to attract new workers to Maine, and to retain great talent in these high-performing sectors.  Jobs resulting from growth in these so-called traded sectors tend to have higher than average salaries and come with benefits.  These jobs also have a positive, multiplier effect on employment in local communities across the state. 

In 2020, the Foundation renewed its commitment of FocusMaine and its operating partners with an additional three years of programmatic grant support. This commitment, in the amount of $5,184,398, again requires a community fundraising match by FocusMaine.