Wealth: Developing Community Assets

Developing Community Assets for Maine's Future

At Maine Rural Partners we believe that the most critical ingredients for rural vitality are already present within Maine communities — the vision, passion and knowledge of our residents. Our focus is on identifying and leveraging those resources to help Maine communities create and sustain vibrant local economies.

We approach this in many ways, from our Harness the Wealth Program, which guided the development of Washington County: One Community, a dynamic county-wide collaborative building integrated solutions from within — and the Town of Strong’s homegrown Energy Plan (9 MB PDF),  After examining the community’s rich energy assets (including hydro and wind), the town’s buildings are now heated by local wood pellets, which also fuel the local economy.

MRP led the development of a professional analysis of Maine’s community investment potential through planned giving, typically bequests.  Released in January 2010, MRP’s Realizing Maine’s Worth report quantified the amount of intergenerational wealth expected to transfer through 2045 and demonstrates the collective power we have as a community if we would designate a modest average of 5% toward Maine-based causes that matter to us in our estates. Get inspired!    As a pilot initiative, the Unity region has initiated an endowment fund dedicated to perpetual local food system support called CHEFS.  Find out more about that and check back this fall for the release of MRP’s on-line Community Investment Tool Kit, a how-to guide for creating a community endowment fund. 

MRP has provided leadership in advancing community-owned energy policy and continues to support the development and testing of creative local ownership and financing strategies.  We believe that the best energy solutions distribute the benefits and potential downsides among the same people, where communities can make these decisions together.  Exeter Agri-Energy is the first community-based (locally owned and approved by town residents) renewable energy facility to sell into the grid under the pilot program spearheaded by MRP.  DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho stated in a BDN story  in June 2012, “It’s not a win-win. It’s a win-win-win-win”.  We concur.

MRP is connected with many other asset development efforts, including Slow Money Maine, Mobilize Maine,  Community Supported Agriculture  and Port Clyde Fresh Catch  and the Maine Downtown Center .   Pick one that speaks to you and INVEST in rural Maine!

To get involved in MRP’s Community Investment program, contact Mary Ann Hayes (maryann@mainerural.org).