Topic: Donate

Students “Score”

While the Patriots racked up points on the way to their fourth Super Bowl victory, the youth ministry program at Good Shepherd Parish was busy scoring donations to benefit two local organizations.

On Super Bowl Weekend, high school youth and other parishioners, wearing football jerseys to draw attention, stood at the entrances of parish churches (Most Holy Trinity Church, Saco; St. Joseph Church, Biddeford; St. Margaret Church, Old Orchard Beach; and St. Philip Church, Lyman) with soup pots in tow to collect money as part of the Souper Bowl of Caring, a national initiative that inspires youth across the nation to fight hunger and poverty in their community.

In total, the teenagers collected $2,024.95, which will be distributed between Preble Street Teen Center in Portland and Catholic Charities Maine’s Child and Adult Food Care Program, which helps provide healthy meals and snacks to children receiving child care in Maine.

"The youth opted to split the proceeds between the two organizations," said Josh Houde, youth minister for Good Shepherd Parish. "It’s an amazing accomplishment for both the youth and adult leaders and further proof that when there are people in need, the generosity of our parish community is boundless. I hope this collection produces lasting hope for the many who will benefit."

The collection was part of the Mustard Seed Project, a part of Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry program. The project helps educate Catholic youth and young adults about doing good works and demonstrates that great things can come from humble beginnings.

"We believe that even small steps, made by a few, can have a lasting impact in our communities," said Michael Smith, the manager of Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry program.

“Souper Bowl of Caring” Raises Money for Preble Street

Teens in the youth ministry program at Good Shepherd Parish in Saco collected $2,024.95 during the "Souper Bowl of Caring" challenge last weekend. The money will be divided between Preble Street Teen Center in Portland and Catholic Charities Maine’s Child and Adult Food Care Program. Members of the youth ministry program at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough collected $1,376 at three Masses to benefit St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen in Portland. Souper Bowl of Caring is a national initiative encouraging youths to fight hunger and poverty.

Preble Street Named Top Charity in Maine

Preble Street, a Portland-based social service agency, announced it earned the highest score of any charity in Maine in a 2014 fiscal-year analysis performed by Charity Navigator, a national evaluator of charities. The agency recorded an overall average of 99.17 points out of 100 to rank among the highest-scored nonprofits in the country.

Maine Voices: Wealthy ‘angels’ needed to help end suffering in Portland

We are blessed at Preble Street with generous, loyal donors who, year after year, send us a check. Whether the donation is $50 or $500, we are inspired by their support. Some have been doing this for as long as we can remember. I’ve been sending "thank you" notes for over 20 years to people I feel I know well, though I’ve never met them. These donors and their heartfelt gifts save lives and meet growing needs in Portland and beyond.

We also have some "angels" who have made very large, transformational donations to keep a shelter for children open when another agency announced its closing; to open Logan Place, a housing alternative to overcrowded shelters; to launch the Maine Hunger Initiative effort to improve Maine’s tragic status as the country’s fifth hungriest state.

All the donations, large and small, make Preble Street a strong, committed, solutions-centered organization, and we appreciate the investment each donor is making to our relentless, mission-driven work.

But something is missing.

Specifically, it’s people like the couple who gave $30 million to a homeless service organization in Philadelphia to replicate successful models and move thousands of people from the streets to stable housing. When I heard about that gift, I filled a whiteboard at Preble Street with a vision map, and our New Year’s resolution is to find visionaries here in Maine with the means to underwrite those dreams.

With a fractured social compact, where government is no longer able – or willing – to support a sturdy safety net, it has fallen to private funders to keep emergency shelters open, stock shelves at soup kitchens and meet the basic needs of our brothers and sisters.

But philanthropy can do more: It can build bridges to dignity, stability and independence.

Yet in 2012, only 13 percent of philanthropic dollars nationally supported human services, according to Giving USA 2013. Human services doesn’t even appear on the list of "causes that received gifts of $5 million or more" in a 2012 Chronicle of Philanthropy report.

And, most troubling to me, the percentage of donations allocated to social services sinks as incomes rise, with only 4 percent of donors with incomes over $1 million designating contributions to basic needs, according to a New York Times report.

In 2012, of 95 individual gifts over $1 million (totaling an amazing $7 billion), only four were donations to human services – and those went to the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.

None were made in Maine, and that needs to change.

Human service organizations are not simply "do-gooders." We are thoughtful, strategic, expert problem-solvers. We have to be: The stakes are too high. Every day, thousands of Mainers count on us to help them survive the ravages of poverty, homelessness, hunger and abuse.

Every day we witness these struggles at Preble Street:

• A 79-year-old woman with dementia, getting around in a wheelchair, living in shelters and on the streets, unable to access an assisted living program.

• A 17-year-old boy whose only experience of family has been 14 foster homes.

• A 35-year-old man with untreated severe mental illness, shuttling back and forth between shelters, hospital emergency rooms and jails.

• A 30-year-old victim of domestic violence, forced to trade her body for a place to stay.

They deserve better, and agencies like Preble Street know what needs to be done. All that’s missing is the power that wealthy donors alone have: the power to capitalize on what we’ve proven works, allowing us to dramatically improve outcomes. And to save lives.

Some examples from Preble Street’s whiteboard:

• $1 million would run a recovery house for homeless women struggling with addiction.

• $5 million would provide a comprehensive service system replacing the long lines of mats in jam-packed shelters and endless wandering from one end of town to the other to get a meal, register for a job and sign up to see a doctor.

• $10 million would open another Logan Place for medically compromised people living in poverty.

• Four $10,000,000 gifts would virtually end chronic homelessness in Portland.

I am certain that social service agencies all over Maine have their own whiteboards. They, too, deserve angels. There is so much we all can accomplish, if we have the means.

We’re grateful to all our donors. They underpin the lifesaving work we do. If they could, we know they would do more.

But to move beyond rescue operations, social service agencies need investors who understand the urgency of our work and who believe that all people matter.

With a few generous donors we could transform Portland, filling the cracks so no one falls through, moving everyone closer to their dream, celebrating a city where all are better off when none are suffering.

Help us meet our 2015 resolution.

– Special to the Press Herald

Our Opinion: To do good, donors must do their homework

Nonprofit groups in Maine, like those around the country, have a high profile this time of year. Knowing what the holidays represent, members of the public dig into their pockets to give to organizations that help the less fortunate.

And to ensure continued support for those who need it the most, it’s important for donors to evaluate a nonprofit’s bonafides before giving. Charity Navigator – a national watchdog organization that’s given Portland’s Preble Street the highest ranking of the 43 Maine organizations that it rates – is a good source of information …


Preble Street lauded for nonprofit works

…Preble Street earned the top rating of the 43 nonprofit groups in Maine rated by Charity Navigator, with a score of 99.17 out of 100. Preble Street operates with a $9 million budget, running homeless shelters and a food pantry in Portland, as well as various programs to help low-income and mentally ill people…


Read more.

Preble Street Joins Electricity Maine on “Q Morning Show.”

Electricity Maine is joining Town Square Media (WJBQ-Q 97.9, WHOM 94.9, and WBLM 102.9) to present this year’s Annual Tree Lighting in Portland’s Monument Square on Friday, November 28th. Music starts at 5:00pm with the Tree Lighting to follow at 5:30, and then music continues after.

Powered by Electricity Maine and benefiting Preble Street, an Electricity Maine #powertohelp partner-folks attending the tree lighting are encouraged to bring adult winters hats, gloves and coats to One City Center to help those in need for the chilly Maine winter. There will be collection boxes on hand in Monument Square.

On Wednesday morning Will Fessenden from Electricity Maine and Mark Swann of Preble Street were guests of Meredith, Lori and Jeff on the Q Morning Show to talk about Electricity Maine’s Power to Help Initiative and the work of Preble Street.

During the interview, Electricity Maine presented Mark Swann and Preble Street with a $500 donation to assist their efforts this season.

Eight nonprofits get awards from Electricity Maine

AUBURN – The owners of Electricity Maine announced that their eight Power to Help Core Partners will each receive $20,000.

Seven of the eight nonprofits were on hand for a check presentation and luncheon held in their honor at the Martindale County Club in Auburn. In attendance were representatives of Good Shepherd Food-Bank in Auburn, Camp Susan Curtis in Stoneham, The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, Tedford Housing in Brunswick, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in Lewiston, Preble Street in Portland and New Beginnings in Lewiston. The Shaw House in Bangor was not able to attend. All are Electricity Maine Core Power to Help Partners.

"Partnerships with for-profit companies are extremely important to our foundation," Becky Dyer, director of Research and Development at the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, said. "We must all work together to help families improve their educational levels. Our partnership with Electricity Maine supports the Barbara Bush Foundation as we invest in the education of Maine’s children and their parents."

Core Partners are nonprofit organizations that work to help residents obtain the skills and resources they need to create better lives for themselves and their families. Each organization fits into one of four categories: homelessness prevention, access to education, healthy living, or hunger prevention.

"Providing electricity at competitive, fixed rates to Maine residents is just one way we support Maine. Another important value of our company is to support the communities in which we do business," Emile Clavet, co-founder of Electricity Maine, said. "We do this with our Power to Help Fund, providing some great organizations with some much-needed help to do the work they do. My business partner Kevin Dean and I have been very fortunate, both personally and professionally. This is our way of giving a little back."

Breakfast Cook-Off starts Maine Restaurant Week

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Sea Dog Brewing kicked off Maine Restaurant Week Friday with the Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off. Competing restaurants cooked their best breakfast dish and ticket buyers tasted and then voted for their favorites.

PHOTOS: Breakfast Cook-Off

Just before 9 a.m., Maine Restuarant Week announced the winners. The second runner-up, or third place, was East Ender. Coming in second for the runner-up position was a big surprise – Lisa Kostopoulos of The Good Table fell back from her first place crown of five years.

The winner was Chef Tim Labonte of Eve’s at the Garden. This is his first year competing at the Cook-Off and will now return next year to defend his new title.

"It’s sold out every year. It was born on the idea of putting the spotlight on a different time of the day for restaurants," said Jim Britt, who is one of the Maine Restaurant Week organizers. 

All ticket proceeds go to Preble Street.


Maine Voices: Efficient and effective, Preble Street respects humanity of those it serves

PORTLAND – Our roles as stewards of Preble Street’s mission, philosophy and approach compel us to respond to a recent Maine Voices column that questions the effectiveness of the work our organization does ("Poor oversight of homeless services erodes Bayside’s quality of life," Feb. 4).

That column demands steps that were addressed and, in many instances rejected, by the Portland Homeless Prevention Task Force report.

At Preble Street, if a human being comes through our doors and asks for help, asks for food, asks for a roof over her head, we will do everything we can to help that fellow human being.

Besides these basic life-saving services, we will also provide, as do other nonprofits in this community, services to help people get jobs, find housing and reconnect with family.

We will not ask, "Well, how hungry are you?"

We will not say, "You can sleep on this mat on the floor, but only after we see a valid ID."

We will not wait weeks to get a criminal background check processed by the state before we offer a neighbor an emergency food box.

These kinds of requirements apparently feel good to some people, with some sense that to do otherwise is simply enabling people. What we’re doing is enabling people to eat. We’re enabling them to survive a freezing, scary night.

We know that the Greater Portland community shares and champions the values and work of Preble Street, with thousands of volunteers, food drives, clothing donations and financial support.

Preble Street is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors from this same community, who bring considerable and diverse professional and personal experience to their role and who take that role extremely seriously.

Like all nonprofit boards, the Preble Street board is responsible for the financial health and fiscal oversight of the agency as well as maintaining and nurturing our mission, and all of our members know what good governance is.

Just as we rely on a variety of assessments to ensure that our programs and services are achieving results, so, too, our financial well-being is frequently scrutinized.

As a private nonprofit agency, Preble Street undergoes a thorough and independent financial audit every year, and our financial statements have received an unqualified opinion from independent auditors for more than 20 years.

In addition to these audits, United Way of Greater Portland conducts a strict and thorough financial and program review of Preble Street every year and has consistently given us high marks for results that meet the needs determined by their comprehensive community assessments.

Preble Street currently has 30 contracts from various government departments — municipal, county, state and federal. Each and every one of them is competitive, includes regular and strict monitoring and evaluation and demands regular reporting on benchmarks and results.

Each of the dozens of private grants awarded to Preble Street also requires outcome reports and fiscal accounting. Preble Street has been invited to present its research findings and the efficacy of its program models in public and private forums throughout the United States.

In addition, Charity Navigator, providing independent evaluation of the financial health and accountability and transparency of 6,000 American charities, has given Preble Street its highest rating.

We invite anyone in the community to come in, take a tour and find out more about our work, and about the neighbors we are helping to lead more stable and productive lives by connecting to health and trauma services, housing and educational and vocational resources.

A recent evening reminded us not only of why we are here, doing this work, but also of how much it is needed.

On Jan. 23, when it was near zero outside, 512 people waited in line to eat dinner at Preble Street. More than 500 people, forced to sit on the floor of a jammed soup kitchen and eat off their laps.

After a chaotic dinner, these same people waited in line at the city shelter hoping for a mat on the floor.

Of course, many could not get in because the building capacity is limited, so they had to sit up in chairs all night in an empty office building.

We at Preble Street look forward to the day we can close our doors because the problems of hunger, poverty and lack of housing have been solved. Until that day arrives, we’ll keep doing our work.

Maurice A. Selinger III is president of the Preble Street board of directors, and Renee Schwalberg is vice president of the board.