Together we thrive

The Island Institute has worked across the islands and coast of Maine for over 35 years, providing responsive support to community leaders and helping prepare communities for the changes ahead. As demonstrated by the ongoing disruption from the coronavirus pandemic and increased political unrest of 2020, communities are being forced to deal with unprecedented challenges and need support to forge a new path ahead. We at the Island Institute recognize that we are currently in a time of rapid and uncertain change—a time where we as an organization need to be explicit about how we are handling the current challenges, as well as planning for our changing future. It is imperative that both our communities and our organization are proactive and strategic in the days ahead.

Given the current climate and uncertain future, the staff and board of the Island Institute are beginning to operate under a new working hypothesis: 

The Island Institute will prioritize a commitment to inclusion and equity as a central organizational strategy to fulfill its mission, increase internal effectiveness, and serve as a leader of Community Development organizations in Maine and beyond.

Questions? To learn more about the work of the Island Institute’s Inclusion & Equity Task Force, contact Karen Burns, chief leadership officer, at

Island Institute Inclusion, Equity, and diversity Statement

We commit to advancing conversations, understanding, and action around diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice—in Maine’s island and coastal communities and beyond.

We focus on inclusion and equity, with the belief or conviction that inclusion allows for greater diversity and that equity is essential in building just communities.

We aim to address these issues at the individual, organizational, and systemic levels.


In support of our commitment toward realizing a more inclusive and equitable workplace, the Island Institute has invited staff to decide whether or not to include personal pronouns on official email signatures and Zoom names. This invitation aligns with the Institute’s desire to build and maintain a welcoming culture of acceptance, non-judgement, and safety for all staff, whether they choose to share pronouns or not.

For more information on pronoun use at the Island Institute, please refer to our Island Institute Pronouns FAQ.

Read the following message to learn more about our commitment to integrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice into our community development organization and supporting our communities in celebrating and fostering these values throughout our state.