By: TFN Staff

Are you a funder working in the Northeast — and looking to build relationships with other foundations, local partners and others working in the same area?

TFN’s Northeast Funders’ Network will hold its annual meeting, in partnership with the Orton Family Foundation, during a two-day event that will span two Maine cities June 18-19: Biddeford and Kennebunkport.

Join us as we delve into a range of topics of keen interest to Northeast funders, deepen learning from place and share best practices and strategies with peers. The meeting will focus on innovation and key trends affecting small towns, rural communities and older legacy cities.

The meeting kicks off Monday, June 18, at the Pepperell Mill Complex in Biddeford, where we’ll hear a powerful story of how civic leaders, residents, business interests and local institutions are coming together to pursue a more sustainable and vibrant future for this once-thriving mill town. Biddeford is making a transition from dependence on a single waste-to-energy incinerator toward a future built on diverse and robust smaller ventures.

In 2012, the Biddeford’s leaders decided to buy the waste facility for $ 6.5 million and close it, losing 80 jobs as well as the largest contributor to the city’s tax base. Since then, more than 90 new businesses have moved into the redeveloped Pepperell Mill complex creating 500 jobs, with the space is only half built out. Today, Biddeford has a growing economy and stable, stronger tax base. But revitalization has brought new worries about gentrification and other issues.

During a deep-dive session moderated by Gabrielle Smith, senior associate for strategic partnerships at the Orton Family Foundation, we’ll hear from Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant and others about how Biddeford is taking steps to address these challenges.

Our first day will also include a walking tour of Downtown Biddeford with Delilah Poupore, executive director of Heart of Biddeford, and Pete Lamontagne, head tour guide at the Biddeford Mills Museum.

Our second day of the NEFN meeting will take us to nearby Kennebunkport, where we’ll explore clean energy opportunities in the region, innovations in rural development and the potential of investing in local media.

Take a look at our agenda highlights below, or view full agenda and list of speakers here. For registration information on the NEFN Annual Meeting visit us here.


Agenda Overview

Monday, June 18

2:00-4:00 p.m. | NEFN Meeting at Pepperell Mill Campus
• Learning from Place: A Biddeford Deep Dive


·         Gabrielle Smith, Senior Associate for Strategic Partnerships, Orton Family Foundation (Moderator)

·         Alan Casavant, Mayor, Biddeford

·         Tammy Ackerman, Executive Director, Engine & Program Director, Maine FabLab

·         Delilah Poupore, Executive Director, Heart of Biddeford

·         James Bennett, City Manager

·         Doug Sanford, Developer

·         Mathew Eddy, Economic Development Director

4:00-5:30 p.m. | Walking Tour of Downtown Biddeford 

Joining us on the tour:

·         Pete Lamontagne , Head Tour Guide, Biddeford Mills Museum

·         Delilah Poupore, Executive Director, Heart of Biddeford

6:30 p.m. | Networking Reception and Dinner

Tuesday, June 19

8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. | NEFN Meeting at Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport
• Learning from Peers: Lightning Presentations

• Advancing Clean Energy Opportunities in the Region


·         Meredith Hatfield, Climate Program Officer, Barr Foundation (Moderator)

·         Christine Donovan, Vermont Energy Investment Corp, Brooks Winner, Island Institute, Maine

·         Jared Duval, Energy Action Network (EAN), Vermont

• Rural Development Innovations in the Northeast and Beyond


·         Rob Riley, President, Northern Forest Center

• The Potential of Investing in Local Media


·         Gaye Symington, High Meadows Fund (Moderator)

·         Daniel Dinsmore, Executive Director, Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

·         Anne Galloway, founder and Editor of Vermont Digger

·         Mark Simpson, News Director, Maine Public Radio