Giving Guide 2020

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W W W. M A I N E B I Z . B I Z 13 G I V I N G G U I D E 2 0 2 0 – 2 0 2 1 GIVING GUIDE happening with COVID-19, it started to go quiet very quickly. And when it went quiet we realized that there were still all of these organizations out there that need this funding." Understanding the demand, the bank responded by supporting non- profits as nimbly as possible. e mes- sage to nonprofits was clear: "It doesn't matter if you have the event or not. at money is still committed to your organization." At Machias Savings Bank, leader- ship and employees recognized how worried their customers were. "We were one of the first compa- nies in the country to produce and share a video from our CEO [Larry Barker], speaking from his home, shot with an iPhone," says Charlene Cates, vice president of marketing and community impact. "At the end of one of them he even gave out his personal cell phone number and says, 'Call me,' if they didn't know who else to call at the bank." e videos became an ongoing ave- nue of reassurance, education and sup- port to customers. Outside of the bank walls, however, food was a major issue. "Within days of the pandemic's 'official start' we were hearing from our many partners in food security and distribution across the state with a plea for help," says Cates. Machias Savings created its Rapid Relief Fund to address this and other issues. It launched three $100,000 grant initiatives. e first had 131 appli- cations, 42 of which were awarded. How corporate sponsors and foundations continued to give More giving followed these organiza- tions' original efforts. In April, Harvard Pilgrim opened a grant program to nonprofits throughout the state. It was run on a first-come, first-serve basis and grantees could apply for up to $10,000. e need had to be expressed, as some- thing a nonprofit was doing to help communities during the pandemic. "We made the grant application process very easy and very quickly got the money into their hands," says Whitmore. e grants were opened and accounted for within two days. But Harvard Pilgrim wasn't finished. It helped support the Portland non- profit Cooking for Community. e nonprofit opened shortly after the state enacted COVID-19-related closures. e premise was simple: raise money and pay restaurants to make food for vulnerable populations while sourcing as much of the food possible locally. is not only helped those receiving the meals but the restaurants which stayed open with skeleton crews. ere are currently nine restaurants involved with 27 people employed, and approximately 2,000 meals being delivered weekly. "It really is a win-win-win," says Whitmore. e most recent wave of donations by Harvard Pilgrim con- tributed $700,000 to each of three community health centers in Lewis- ton, Portland and Bangor. P H O T O / C O U R T E S Y O F H A R VA R D P I L G R I M H E A LT H C A R E C O N T I N U E D O N F O L L OW I N G PA G E » Lean more about the campaign and donate today at Hunger doesn't take a break and neither do we. Food insecurity in Maine is at an all time high now more than ever. Since 1990, Credit unions across the state have been dedicated to making a difference in our communities through the Maine Credit Unions Campaign for Ending Hunger. Collectively we continue to fight hunger in Maine and strive to see a day when every Mainer is food secure. Bill Whitmore, Maine market vice president of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, which recognized it had act quickly during the pandemic and be flexible with its corporate giving. It focused early on food insecurity.

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