Maine’s nonprofit sector has always been a significant part of its economy, contributing more than $12 billion a year in jobs, purchases and contracts. When the pandemic struck, it dealt nonprofits a double blow: traditional fundraisers were put on hold yet the demand for services increased. The federal government stepped in with PPP loans to help nonprofits keep their staffs, but that assistance ended last year. More help is expected, but not in the same form as PPP’s direct, forgivable loans.

Join moderator Carol Coultas and panelists Jennifer Hutchins, executive director of the Maine Association of Nonprofits; Barbara Leonard, president and CEO of the Maine Health Access Foundation; and Jeannette Andre, president and CEO of the Maine Philanthropy Center, as they talk about trends and offer advice.

Links from the conversation:


Nonprofit Impact Reports

Maine Association of Nonprofits

Maine Health Access Foundation

Maine Philanthropy Center

State grant program

Employee retention on HR Power Hour

Sign up for the MANP’s newsletter

Nonprofit Sector Trends

Independent Sector: Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act

Advocacy and Lobbying Toolkit

Public Policy and Advocacy

Maine DECD

Key takeaways

Unlike the PPP loans that were made directly to organizations, the next round of federal ARPA money is being distributed to states, counties and municipalities. Those public officials will decide how to allocate and spend those resources. That’s an opportunity for nonprofits to talk with public officials and inquire how that money will be used and inform them of the work your organization does. Some decisions may have already been made, but the formal deadline for making those decisions is 2024 for funds that can be expended up to 2026. Maine Association of Nonprofits has materials on how to talk to public officials about your nonprofit’s mission and ARPA funding.

Separately, the state intends to open another round of small business and nonprofit recovery grants in April. This money is included in the Maine Jobs and Recovery Act, enacted in July of last year. Eligibility information is available at the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

Consider forming alliances or coalitions with other like-minded or like-missioned nonprofits in approaching public officials about the new ARPA funding. There’s often greater success when nonprofits collaborate on funding requests rather than compete with one another.

Investigate whether your organization can benefit from the Employee Retention Tax Credit. This tax credit can return up to $7000, per employee, per quarter from January-September 2021 for eligible organizations. When the program was first rolled out, it prohibited organizations from applying for the tax credit if they received PPP loans. But that prohibition has been lifted. Here is a good primer on the program.

Consider making your voice known in Washington. There are two initiatives that, if passed, will have an impact on nonprofits’ financial resources. The first is a bill that would extend the Employee Retention Tax Credit into the fourth quarter of 2021. ERTC coalition Letter in support of H.R. 6161. You can also sign onto the letter here. The second, is the Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act, sponsored by Sen. Angus King, which would establish a timeline for donations to working charities from donor-advised funds. This act would prevent charitable funds from sitting in investment accounts long after the donors have received the associated tax benefits.

About the panel:

Jennifer Hutchins is Executive Director of the Maine Association of Nonprofits, the state’s leading organization for Maine’s charitable nonprofit sector with more than 1,000 members from all 16 counties. Prior to joining MANP, Jennifer was Executive Director of Creative Portland, where she led the City of Portland’s efforts to strengthen the creative economy. Jennifer also served as Director of Communications and External Affairs at the USM Muskie School of Public Service for nine years and Marketing Director at Portland Stage Company from 1995-2000.

Jennifer has served on several boards during her career, currently at the Maine Academy of Modern Music, the Maine Philanthropy Center and the USM Muskie School. In May 2020, Jennifer was selected to participate on Governor Mills’ Economic Recovery Committee, which was tasked with putting forth recommendations to alleviate the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on the state’s economy. Jennifer holds a master’s in public policy and management and lives in Portland with her husband and two daughters.

Barbara Leonard (she/her) has been MeHAF’s President and CEO since October 2016. Barbara brings over 25 years of experience and leadership in philanthropic and public health program development, administration, management and evaluation at state and national levels. Barbara originally joined the MeHAF team as a Senior Program Officer, and then served as Vice President for Programs. At MeHAF, she has played a key role in leading the foundation’s efforts to advance equity, developing health reform initiatives such as a comprehensive portfolio of grants focused on payment reform, development of community-focused programs such as Thriving in Place and Healthy Community grants, and the multi-year Integrated Care Initiative. She serves as primary staff for the Board of Trustees, as well as the Strategic Planning, Finance, Governance, and Executive Committees. Barbara is a past president of the boards of the Maine Philanthropy Center and the Maine Women’s Fund. Barbara was raised in Connecticut and first came to Maine as a student at Colby College in Waterville where she received a BA in Psychology. She has an MPH in Health Policy and Resources from Yale University. In her spare moments, she spends time with her husband, Dan, spoils their Labrador retrievers Cooper and Jessie, cooks for friends, sings as a soprano with Reprise Choral Ensemble, grows perennials and vegetables, and is an enthusiastic amateur at the Belfast Curling Club.

Jeannette Andre is the President & CEO of the Maine Philanthropy Center. She brings to this role a strong commitment to social and racial justice, forged through her own personal experiences and after serving in various roles at The Lenny Zakim Fund in Boston over the past 7 years. There she supported grassroots nonprofits through grants, technical assistance and capacity building that centered equity, promoted self-care and celebrated diverse leadership. She loves living in the North Deering neighborhood in Portland, Maine with her family including a wild 2-year old, her partner, and Australian Cattle Dog. When she’s not working, she continues to navigate the nuances of parenting during a pandemic, cooking new and nourishing recipes, and spending as much time as she can outside.


Want to learn more about nonprofits in Maine? Check out these other resources:

Maine Association of Nonprofits offers resources, training, advocacy and advice to Maine’s nonprofit community

The Maine Philanthropy Center publishes an annual report on giving in Maine

The National Council of Nonprofits offers help on the coronavirus and what nonprofits can do

The Health of the US Nonprofit Sector (Oct. 2021). Data, analysis and recommendations

Giving USA, an annual report prepared by the Indiana University Lilly Family School that estimates total charitable giving in the U.S. In 2020, that estimate reached a record $471.44 billion

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