Together we can create a wave of opportunity for the Mainers who are creating a vibrant future for our coast.
The impacts of climate change and economic shifts present new obstacles for coastal communities to navigate. Mainers, however, have a talent for turning challenges into opportunities. Building off a legacy of innovation, we are partnering with community and business leaders to envision and create a working waterfront that is resilient, sustainable, and accessible to all Mainers.
With your help, we can connect Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students with careers on the water, help more women build successful aquaculture businesses, and forge pathways for clean energy jobs. We are excited to announce three new programs that empower the people who power Maine’s working waterfront—but only with your support.
Three new programs that put people first.
Together, we navigate change.
Together, we create a wave of opportunity.
Together, we can lift all boats.
Women face more obstacles when starting and growing their aquaculture businesses. According to our partners at Coastal Enterprises, Inc., female entrepreneurs are offered smaller loans at higher interest rates, and access only 2.3% of venture capital despite owning 42% of all companies in the U.S.
Our new Women on the Water program will provide financial resources through the Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund, as well as technical support like business planning and professional development, and connect women in the industry through networking and mentorship.
“I got to create the life that I wanted— starting a business on a small Maine island, being on the water every day— and I was welcomed and supported in doing so. There is only benefit in recognizing the capabilities of women on the water. Our working waterfronts and our small islands only become more sustainable as communities like mine continue to welcome and support women in pursuing their abilities and potential on the ocean.”
Lauren Gray | Owner, Cranberry Oysters
Your gift will provide financial, technical, and human resources to women-owned aquaculture businesses.
Electric motors are a clean, cost-effective alternative to traditional gas- and diesel-powered engines. To prepare for this clean energy future, we’re helping interested technicians get up to speed with electric motor maintenance and repair.
Island Institute is partnering with the Maine Community College System, the Midcoast School of Technology, and the Maine Electric Boat Company to codevelop a curriculum for the servicing and repair of electric motors. This certificate program will be available to learners ages 15 and up from Maine island and coastal communities.
“There are many opportunities, particularly for young people, to carve out a niche for themselves in the emerging clean energy markets. Whether it’s staring out as an electric boat technician and making themselves more valuable to a boat yard or marina or working in energy storage or clean energy creation, there are going to be new opportunities for years to come.”
Matt Tarpey | Owner, Maine Electric Boat Company
Your gift will help create these courses and provide COMPASS grants for further training and related expenses.
Restrictive licensing criteria and significant financial requirements make it challenging to enter the lobster fishery, particularly for BIPOC fishermen. Luke’s Lobster and Island Institute launched a pilot project—Lift All Boats—to introduce students to lobstering and assist in navigating these barriers.
This two-year mentoring program supports participants on and off the water with educational, business, financial, and professional resources—including a guaranteed buyer (Luke’s Lobster). A dedicated lobster boat in Casco Bay, the F/V Sea Smoke, ensures at least 12 fishing days per summer for students.
“Because of this program, this has been the best summer I have ever had. I got to meet new people and learn new things, that not only help on the boat, but help in real life situations as well. Not to mention I got make make some cash too. Most importantly, I was welcomed into Luke’s family and really got to bond with my fellow lobstermen, which meant a lot to me personally.”
Joshua Lamour | Student lobsterman
Your gift helps fund the cost of gear and fuel so that Portland-area BIPOC students can more easily obtain Maine’s student lobster licenses.
we can lift all boats.
Your support connects Mainers who are creating a strong blue economy with resources and opportunities.