Island Institute announces the Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund

A new community development catalyst fund provides grants, loans, and equity support for small businesses and coastal infrastructure projects

Posted 2019-07-01

ROCKLAND, ME –The Island Institute, a community development organization serving Maine island and coastal communities, today announces the launch of the Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund, a new catalyst fund which seeks to build a more diverse coastal economy by providing grants, loans, and equity investments for small businesses and municipalities. The Fund was made possible through a grant from The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation to honor Tom Glenn II and his lifelong commitment to Maine’s island and coastal communities.

“Without resilient communities, the unique character of Maine’s islands and coasts will be lost,” said, Rob Snyder, president of the Island Institute. “The Glenn Impact Fund enables us to help those communities in a concrete way, whether it’s small business loans or planning grants to address sea level rise. Strong local economies are the key to long-term resiliency, and the Island Institute is committed to providing not only technical assistance and advice but funding that will move projects forward.”

The Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund supports the Island Institute’s strategic priority, Strengthening Community Economies, giving preference to projects aligned with the organization’s impact targets for economically critical community infrastructure and the diversification of coastal livelihoods.

Island Institute grant and loan programs seek to impact the following beneficiaries in Maine’s island and coastal communities: small business owners, municipal officials, local leaders, volunteer groups, local nonprofit organizations, artists and makers, electric co-ops, fishermen and harvesters, and seafood processors and distributors. This financial support is designed for broadband, energy, sea level rise, working waterfront infrastructure planning projects, and small business development and expansion.

“An Island Institute grant supplied a key last piece of the puzzle to complete our Islesboro Municipal Broadband project. They educated themselves on island Internet access issues, listened to our needs and responded. Perfect.” said, Roger Heinen, Chair of the Islesboro Municipal Broadband Committee.

In 2018, Mott Feibusch and Carley Mayhew were looking for ways to build a business and continue living on the island of Monhegan year round. A variety of seasonal jobs were paying the bills, but they wanted more stability to continue living on Monhegan. Good, fresh coffee was a need on the island, but they knew little about the coffee business. Bringing the raw material to the island was a possibility, but how do you roast it? Carley took advantage of the Island Institute’s professional development grants and was able to travel out of state to attend a coffee roasting industry workshop. Two months after she returned from her training, Carley and Mott had completed a business plan for Monhegan Coffee Roasters and applied for a loan from the Island Institute. Their successful loan application enabled them to purchase their first roaster.

“The grant gave us the opportunity to attend training that we otherwise couldn’t afford. This training has helped us fine tune our roasting operation and network with others in our field. Training opportunities like this are often overlooked because of the expenses associated with them. The Island Institute’s grant program is a great resource for small businesses that want to learn and grow,” Mayhew said.

“The Island Institute was key in our success of launching Monhegan Coffee Roasters,” she continued. “We had an opportunity and a vision and needed to work quickly to get off the ground before the tourist season started. The Island Institute brought their expertise to the table and not only awarded us a loan but they helped us form a business plan and financial projections so we had a better understanding of our business. We’re celebrating our first year in business and see a lot of growth on the horizon.”

Craig Olson, senior community development officer at the Island Institute, is managing fund applications and is thrilled with this new resource for the coast of Maine. “The Glenn Impact Fund provides us with the ability to respond to the needs of communities along our coast. To date, we have raised $3 million of our $5 million goal, and it is our hope that by offering this type of assistance businesses will be started or expanded and communities will be able to plan and adapt to the opportunities and challenges they face every day.”

For more information or to apply online visit:

Contact Craig Olson at colson@islandinstitute.orgwith questions.