A Few of Our Favorite Things: Giving Tuesday

Island Institute
Posted 2020-12-01

In honor of the holiday season and in the spirit of giving, we’re collaborating with our friends at Luke’s Lobster on “A Few of Our Favorite Things,” a series highlighting the people, organizations, and places we cherish in Maine.

For Giving Tuesday, we’re kicking off this series with three Maine organizations doing wonderful things for our state and our communities.

During a year in which so many have struggled, and continue to struggle, we hope you’ll take some time to learn a bit about each of the great organizations below and consider supporting them in some way.

We also look forward to sharing more about the things that inspire us in the coming weeks!

Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association: Fishermen Feeding Mainers 

Maine fishermen have been feeding communities for generations. Now you can help support them and join them in helping to feed those in need.

COVID-19 has dried up traditional markets for Maine’s groundfish, forcing many fishermen to stay tied to the dock despite needing to make money to support their families. At the same time, the pandemic has also created a significant increase in food-insecure Mainers. Fishermen Feeding Mainers, a new program by the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association (MCFA), provides direct financial relief to fishermen by helping them supply food banks and families in need with high-quality Maine seafood.

Maine is already the most vulnerable state in New England, and now close to 20% of our population needs better access to food, especially good quality protein like seafood. Through this program, fish are purchased directly from participating fishermen at a livable wage, which supports their businesses, crew, and the working waterfront, and keeps the supply chain moving when many usual outlets are shut down. Local businesses cut and package the fish, supporting crucial shoreside infrastructure and local jobs, and the packaged fish is then donated to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, Cooking for Community, local schools, and other community organizations working to fight hunger in Maine.

MCFA strives to ensure that fishermen have the community infrastructure and environmental resources to maintain Maine’s coastal cultural identity and sustain vibrant working waterfronts for this and future generations of Maine fishermen. They received a generous donation to start this program, but need additional funding to meet their goal of 100,000 donated meals. They hope to raise $50,000 by December 31st to continue to support local fishermen and feed those in need. To contribute, donate here.

Indigo Arts Alliance

The mission of Indigo Arts Alliance is to cultivate the artistic development of people of African descent and build global connections by bringing together Black and Brown artists from diverse backgrounds to engage in their creative process with an opportunity to serve as both mentors and mentees. An integral aspect of the Indigo vision is to provide Maine-based artists of African descent access to a broader range of practicing artists of color from around the world.

More than ever, our world needs people who can help us imagine more compassionate, generous, and welcoming human societies. Indigo does that work. It is a great gift to the Portland community, Maine, and our nation as a whole.

Indigo Arts Alliance is rooted in two principles:

  • Art is a key resource for healthy human communities. It should be cultivated and celebrated.
  • Artists play a unique role in strengthening our multiracial democracy. We need their vision and inspiration to help build a more humane, inclusive, and just world.

Co-founded by Daniel and Marcia Minter, Indigo Arts Alliance relies on philanthropy to support artists from across the African Diaspora who are courageously committed to expressing original ideas and thought leadership via their creative practices. The impact of your gift is profound and will make a huge difference in helping grow their artist residency, seminars, and celebrations of Creativity + Courage. If you’re interested in donating, visit here. 

Maine Island Trail Association (MITA)

The Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) is a membership organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the wild islands of coastal Maine. Founded in 1988 to administer America’s first water trail, MITA embraces the powerfully simple idea that care of the islands can be left to the users of these treasured and fragile places. Their ability to turn island users into island stewards is why islands visited by members tend to be in better shape than those left alone.

The Maine Island Trail is a recreational water trail for boaters of all kinds—paddlers, sailors, motorboaters. While there are thousands of islands off the coast, the Maine Island Trail is a specific thread of sites, where boaters of all kinds enjoy the Trail—whether they are just going out for the day or spending weeks hopping from island to island. With over 241 coastal sites and islands in 2020, there is something on the Maine Island Trail for everyone.

The Maine Island Trail Association administers and stewards the Trail, and its members support ongoing stewardship and education efforts aimed at preserving Trail sites and experiences for future generations. MITA members receive comprehensive information about the Trail, helpful tips for safe and responsible boating, and guidelines for low-impact recreation.

To learn more about the Trail and MITA, or to donate, visit mita.org.

As always, we are appreciative of the support of our members, partners, and donors—and everyone who helps sustain the vibrancy of Maine’s island and coastal communities all year long. To learn more about the work of the Island Institute and the numerous ways you can get involved with our organization, please visit our Membership page here. To make a donation to support Maine’s islands and coast, click here.