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Making Nonprofit Connections in Farmington

by Jennifer Hutchins

MANP recently spent an enlightening two days in the refreshingly green hills of Western Maine with our nonprofit colleagues in Farmington. Over two days, we hosted three trainings, a MANP Member Meet + Greet, and an overnight board meeting that allowed us to hear more about the critical work Maine nonprofits are doing and learn first-hand about the timely, pressing issues we face as a sector.

(left to right) MANP Program Manager Kelly McCormack, Board Boot Camp presenter Tony Scucci and MANP Event Coordinator Brooke Welty in Farmington

We heard from the remarkably dedicated team at Safe Voices who, every hour of every day, are caring for people experiencing domestic violence. We heard from Community Dental, a 100-year-old organization providing high-quality, affordable dental care from the southern coast to the western mountains. We also heard from the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area and ArtsFarmington who, each in their own way, are supporting the region’s quality of life. While these organizations have very different missions, they all share the vision of a thriving region and are making unique, vital contributions to its success.

At our Meet + Greet, Charlie Woodworth, Executive Director of the Greater Franklin Development Council, and I talked about the challenges facing Maine’s rural communities, particularly a declining workforce and low internet access and I could easily see the connections between members. Community Dental is challenged by recruiting qualified staff, Safe Voices witnesses families in economic crisis, United Way campaigns tirelessly to support the programs serving our most

vulnerable neighbors, and ArtsFarmington offers events that attract people downtown and create cultural vibrancy. Each organization is fervently focused on their particular piece. But, when we take just a few steps back, the connective threads light up to reveal an interdependent web of community vision, dedication and pride.

More than 30 organizations and 75 people participated in our Farmington foray. Having attended our Board Boot Camp, one participant said their biggest takeaways were specific resources they would use to build a “high-performing” board. Another training participant learned the importance of aligning an organization’s core values to the mission.

We honored to be a useful resource, supporting nonprofits throughout Maine with the information and connections they need to be successful. It’s these organizations, and the people who lead and support them, that are doing the hard (often thankless) work of sustaining and building Maine as one of the best places to live, work and visit.

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