Please join us for the BCDI Annual Meeting!
Wednesday, December 13 from 6:30-8pm in the Kendall Room (at the Town Offices/Library)
Topics will include the BCDI Year In Review and relevant updates from the Village Community Conversations
Refreshments will be served! All are welcome (you don’t have to be a member to attend)!
VILLAGE COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
Our “Village Community Conversations,” held in September and October 2017, solicited robust resident participation in the exchange of creative ideas and candid discussion about the future of Bowdoinham’s village area. More than 100 community members participated over the course of two meetings, exceeding all expectations in terms of engagement, enthusiasm, creativity, and commitment to the town’s future. A wide range of more than 50 ideas were initially generated, ranging from the creation of a community center to the establishment of a safe family swimming area in the Cathance River. A subset of possible actions was further refined for community action by the residents and BCDI Board. BCDI is continuing to build on the success of the village meetings by shepherding next steps and continuing to work with the Town of Bowdoinham, interested citizens, and other stakeholders to make progress on some of the “high feasibility, high impact” ideas that emerged. A Final Report was created by our meeting facilitator, Jane Lafleur, which includes a thorough summary of both the meetings and the ideas that transpired from each. The full report is available at the link below. Thank you to all who participated, and will continue to be involved!
Greetings engaged Bowdoinham citizens!
The BCDI Board was thrilled at the initial turnout of nearly 100 enthusiastic residents at our September 20 meeting. Who knew that the Town Landing’s pizza was so popular! We have been working with our consultant, Jane LaFluer, to distill the notes from the initial meeting, identify key themes, and finalize the agenda for the next session at 6 PM on October 25 (pizza at 5:30). We have also received numerous additional comments following the meeting, and we will make sure those comments are reviewed as well. Themes included the status and visions for existing structures (e.g., Grange), public places (e.g., waterfront), and businesses (gas station/country store), as well as may others.
We hope you will join us again on October 25 to focus on turning these ideas into actions. Please sign up at https://bcdi2.eventbrite.com/. We look forward to seeing you there!
Join us for a Community Conversation about Bowdoinham’s Village!
Click here for more information: Community Conversation Flyer , and here to register for this FREE event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bowdoinham-village-community-conversation-tickets-36657725243
New coordinator will Join BCDI as of 19 June!
The BCDI Board is very pleased to announce that we have contracted Ingrid Leschefske as Coordinator. Ingrid, who lives in Bowdoinham on the Bay Road with her husband Griff and daughter Anja, will be working up to 10 hours a week to help carry out the work of the organization including the community loan/investment program, “neighbors investing in neighbors”. Ingrid will be taking on many of the tasks previously handled by David Whittlesey, who continues as a member of the Board. Welcome, Ingrid!
Loan to Apple Creek Farm fully subscribed and disbursed 29 April. Thanks to all you Members who are participating!
New Investment Opportunity for Members – BCDI has processed and approved a loan application from Apple Creek Farm, as Abby and Jake continue to grow their operation on the Millay Road. If you are interested in this neighbors investing in neighbors program, your will need to be a Member of BCDI. Click on “Membership” above and join today!
Changes on the BCDI Board – There have been two recent changes on the BCDI Board – David Whittlesey, who has been the Consulting Manager for BCDI has joined the Board, and Dwight Sholes has stepped down after two years of service on the Board. Dwight will continue supporting our efforts in an advisory capacity as he focuses energy on immigration issues while continuing his full-time job. Many thanks to both for their efforts in support of BCDI over the years. It is likely we will be adding a few Board Members in the coming months, so if you are interested in getting more involved, please let us know!
Common Good Day Comes to Bowdoinham – On Saturday, 17 September, 12 Bowdoin students came to Bowdoinham to work on several community chores to celebrate Common Good Day with BCDI! The students painted the fence at the Community School (long over due) worked with Adelaida in the community garden at the school, and planted daffodil bulbs around the newly installed signs around town. It was a great opportunity to learn more about Bowdoinham and connect with the community! Thanks!
Sewall Foundation Awards Grant to BCDI
In addition, to the three grants previously highlighted, BCDI is very pleased to have received a two-year grant of $25,000 from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation. The grant will allow BCDI to focus on completing an interactive farmland inventory and strengthen its capacity to engage with the community in revitalizing the village area of the town. A big “Thank You” to the Sewall Foundation! The BCDI Board has worked this summer to organize itself and do some initial planning on how best to take on these challenges in the course of the year. We are looking forward to a site visit from the Foundation in early September to share with them our initial work. Stay tuned!
It is a real pleasure to have again received support from The New England Grass Roots Environment Fund – NEGEF! We have been granted a “Grow Grant” of $2000, the third year in a row that NEGEF has provided support to the organization! Additionally, The Maine Community Foundation has awarded BCDI a grant of $8000 to help build our capacity to facilitate the revitalization of the village area and develop a strategic plan to help support the implementation of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. These are in addition to the $1910 Bowdoin College Common Good Grant received in March to support program costs. Stay tuned for more news as BCDI continues the Neighbor Investing in Neighbors Program while taking on new challenges.
The BCDI loan program is designed to meet the needs of businesses that are unable to obtain a low-cost loan through traditional lending institutions for reasons such as insufficient credit history. You must be a Member of BCDI to participate in this program either as an investor or a recipient.
Since 2012, BCDI has granted over $70,000 in loans. Some examples are:
- $7000 to purchase a tractor – fully repaid
- $5000 to purchase a high-tunnel greenhouse – fully repaid
- $7000 to purchase fencing and pasture enhancements for sheep pasture – fully repaid
- $3000 for materials and equipment needed to launch two online businesses – fully repaid
- $1800 to repair a truck and obtain saw blades to get a wood business off the ground – fully repaid
- $7000 to purchase two greenhouses and establish a farming operation – fully repaid
- $12000 to put a new roof on a local business – fully repaid
BCDI works to connect local business owners with resources that can help establish or sustain their business. For example, loan recipients have been connected with accountants, website developers, and other community or regional resources. In addition to the loan program, BCDI has been working to connect the expanding Bowdoinham farming community with the Local Farms – Local Food Program and others interested in helping increase the availability and consumption of quality local food.
Going forward, BCDI loans and other activities will continue to be aimed at supporting local businesses. The focus of our efforts depends largely on the needs of the businesses in Bowdoinham – BCDI is a resource ready and able to respond to the needs of the community.
BCDI’s Annual Budget is $16,690. In 2016-17 will rely on Memberships and various fund raising efforts, in addition to the grants that we have received.
The Internal Revenue Service has determined that BCDI qualifies as a 501 (c) (3) “public charity” under the Tax Code. This means that: 1) any contribution to BCDI, INCLUDING YOUR MEMBERSHIP, is tax deductible; and 2) BCDI is eligible to apply for a range of community development grants.
Since June 2012, BCDI has:
- Registered with the State of Maine as a Non-Profit Corporation
- Established a Board of Directors (Currently Andy Cutko, Chair; David Engler, Treasurer; Harriet Van Vleck, Secretary; Brian Smith, Laurel Waterman-Lopez, Kathy Montejo, Abby Sadauckas and Dwight Sholes)
- Adopted basic institutional documents (Vision and Mission Statement, Bylaws, Conflict of Interest Policy, Confidentiality Policy, banking and accounting procedures)
- Established Communications tools (Logo, Website, Facebook page)
- Applied for and received 501 (c) (3) status with the IRS
- Established a tiered fee process for Membership in BCDI; there are currently over 100 members.
- Established process and criteria for accepting and vetting loan applications and funding them through support from members of the community (over $66,000 in loans have been disbursed).
- Developed and maintained good working relationships with the Town Manager and Community and Economic Development Office, the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC), Merrymeeting Arts Center (MAC), KELT-BTLT, the Merrymeeting Food Council and numerous farms and businesses in town.
The community support mechanism so far has processed over $70,000 in loans. All loans that have come due have been paid back in full and within their timeframe. There are currently several potential loan requests under consideration. Members of the Board participate actively on CDAC, the Food Bank committee, regional food hub/processing facility development, the Merrymeeting Food Council and a number of ad hoc discussions on possible community development activities related to its mission.
Interest in the community loan mechanism remains strong. So far, BCDI has been able to process loans rapidly, from request received to check delivered in roughly three weeks or less. We thought this might lengthen some as BCDI strengthened its mechanisms to ensure complete transparency, disclosures and compliance with State regulations, but the Office of the State Securities Administrator has been incredibly efficient and helpful in keeping the process expeditious!. The lending rate has remained stable at 3%, with the lenders receiving 2% and 1% going to support BCDI operational costs or otherwise creatively support the community. Sustainable operational financing ($16,600/year) remains a challenge, which BCDI intends to meet through diversified income sources: grants, service fees, interest differential, memberships and fundraising events.