SCARBOROUGH — Though Town & Country Federal Credit Union’s 2020 Better Neighbor Fund reception was a ‘virtual’ affair for the first time ever, the community spirit among nonprofits sharing in $25,000 awarded by the credit union was very real, indeed. At a special online event, the credit union announced the 2020 grant recipients as determined through a month-long vote during October which resulted in more than 10,000 votes cast through the Town & Country FCU Facebook page and its website.

David Libby, president and CEO of Town & Country FCU, acknowledged the challenges facing nonprofits at this time. “Our 2020 Better Neighbor Fund comes at a critical time for organizations that mean so much to our communities. For so many nonprofit organizations, the impact of COVID-19 on fundraising and the ability to provide essential services and programs has been significant. Nonprofits are such an important part of our community and many are teetering on the brink of survival. From the beginning of the pandemic, we recognized the need to help our communities. We are proud that our ‘Local Helping Local’ initiative has provided strong support to local restaurants, other local businesses, educators and, of course, nonprofits. We understand that our communities are only as strong as the organizations that contribute to make our communities and neighborhoods vibrant are. While the $25,000 we are awarding today will help our recipients, I would encourage everyone in our community to not forget that our nonprofits need our support and need it now more than ever.”

In 2010, Town & Country introduced the Better Neighbor Fund to celebrate the ideal of neighbors helping neighbors, a concept that has a long and rich tradition in Maine. The credit union has awarded $275,000 to 88 charitable initiatives, to date.

Eight charitable organizations from an original finalist list of 25 nominees were awarded a share of $25,000 from the 2020 Better Neighbor Fund – three received $5,000 grants and five received $2,000 grants.

The 25 finalists were nominated in September, and during October, the public voted online for the project they felt was most deserving to receive one of the eight grants.

The winners of the 2020 Better Neighbor Fund grants include (all serve Cumberland and/or York Counties):

• Strive Maine (South Portland) – expand the online program to teach independent living skills to individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism and to provide scholarships to people with financial need.

• The Summer Camp (Bridgton) – furnish girls between the ages of 6 and 18 living in low-income and foster homes across southern Maine with free “camperships” to experience summer camp in 2021.

• First Lutheran Church Pre K Program (Portland) – provide tuition support to needy families in the neighborhood so they can send their three and four year-olds to this high quality pre-kindergarten program.

• Frannie Peabody Center (Portland) – expand the purchase of food for clients living with AIDS/HIV in need of emergency assistance over the coming year.

• Girls on the Run Maine (Westbrook) – expand access to girls in grades 3-8 to a youth development program through At-Home Kits and scholarships to cover program fees.

• Habitat for Humanity of York County (Kennebunk) – support Saco’s first home built this fall. Volunteer labor, tradespersons, donations of money and materials and the homeowner will build this home.

• Riding to the Top Therapeutic Center (Windham) – provide “riderships” to needy children ages 3 to 18 with disabilities to access the benefits of therapeutic riding, hippotherapy or equine assisted learning.

• Sanctuary Baking (Harpswell) – expand fresh food and baked goods donation program for homeless, at-risk elderly and shut-ins through mobile bakery plus launch nutrition and basic cooking program for the underserved.

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