Downeast Wind Awards Community Grants to Eight Local Organization

Downeast Wind and Apex Clean Energy are pleased to announce eight regional organizations as the latest round of Downeast Wind Community Grant recipients. The program recognizes meaningful local efforts to build healthy communities, support economic development, foster environmental sustainability, and promote education.

“When reviewing grant applications, we get to see firsthand the commitment, creativity, and enterprise of Washington County residents,” said Robert Gee, Development Manager for Apex Clean Energy. “As Downeast Wind advances to construction and takes a more permanent place within this community, we are both thrilled and humbled to call them neighbors and look forward to seeing the results of these great projects.”

The Wild Blueberry Heritage Center will receive a $2,000 grant to support the construction of the Wild Blueberry Walkway & Garden, an educational initiative that promotes greater awareness of Maine’s wild blueberry habitat, provides experiential education about local food systems, and celebrates Downeast Maine heritage. Funds from Apex Clean Energy will help to develop and install interpretive signage along the 150-foot wheelchair-accessible pathway, accompanied by wild blueberries, native pollinator plants, and outdoor exhibits based on wild blueberry heritage and ecology.

"Thank you so much for considering the Wild Blueberry Heritage Center for a Downeast Wind community grant. We are thrilled to have the support," said Program Director Kaysie Logan. "Through the development of the exhibits and gardens, we can offer educational programming and local produce to the community through workshops, events, and school field trips."

A $1,000 grant to the Machias Arts Council (MAC) will help raise awareness of upcoming community events including First Friday Art Walks taking place the first Friday of the month from June-September this year. "We are thrilled and honored to receive this grant from Apex Clean Energy to support the arts in Machias and the surrounding area," said Tim Markley, Chairman of the MAC. "We have great plans and many programs in development, but as a relatively young organization, we lack the funds to embark on many of them. This grant will allow us to move forward." 

Gateway Milbridge was awarded a $1,500 grant to support their summer "Friday Night Live" concert series running weekly from July 7 to August 25 at the Milbridge Town Marina.

“Gateway Milbridge is deeply grateful for the grant support from Downeast Wind to help us make available a free summer outdoor concert series to all the residents of Downeast, Maine," said Richard Bondurant, Treasurer for the organization. "It’s the support and investment back to the community from companies like Downeast Wind that’s making so much happen for Milbridge and the region.”

Women for Health Rural Living received a $1,000 grant to support educational materials and educator stipend's tor the August 19 Butterfly Festival at Milbridge Commons Wellness Park. “This support will help educate our community about the importance of pollinators and provide a family-friendly experience for all,” added Executive Director Chris Kuhni.

A $2,000 grant to Washington Academy will pay for the installation of a new solar panel system along with electricity and water hookups for their garden greenhouse. The Washington Academy community garden program has produced over 8,000 pounds
of produce for the Machias Area and other food pantries since 2017.

"This funding will enable solar panel installation, ensuring the sustainability of our garden. It will also allow us to establish a functional greenhouse with a frost-free spigot and power supply, increasing our ability to provide fresh produce to local food pantries and combat food insecurity within our community," said Washington Academy Biology Teacher Colleen Maker, who helps lead the program.

The Coastal Washington County Institute of Technology was awarded a $2,000 grant to support Health Occupation students participating in the CNA SkillsUSA Competition

"The students and staff at CWCIT truly appreciate the support Apex Clean Energy gives to their local schools," said staff member Nancy Bailey. "Their financial support certainly has made a difference in some of our projects. This adds to the continuous growth and success of our programs." 

Other grantees include a $1,000 grant to Jonesboro Grange to purchase locally-made raised beds for the Jonesboro Grange Countywide Community Garden and a $3,500 grant to the Epping Fire Department to replace a twenty-year-old thermal imaging camera in one of their primary pumper trucks used to respond to structure fires.

These eight grant awards total $13,500 for this program's spring grant cycle. Since its inception, the Downeast Wind Community Grant program has supported more than 25 regional organizations with grants totaling more than $75,000. In addition to the Community Grant Program, Downeast Wind will bring more than $20 million of new revenue to the Town of Columbia and Washington County to support community priorities as well as significant local spending, employment, and investment during project construction and operations.