$25,000 Awardee – Innovation
Genesis Community Loan Fund (Genesis Fund), based in Damariscotta, Maine, received the Innovation award for its work with island communities in Maine. In 2004, the Genesis Fund launched a program to support development on the 14 Maine islands that sustain year-round communities. For generations, these communities have been home to Maine’s fishing and lobstering industries, but lacked affordable housing. Genesis Fund’s work resulted in new housing and led the island organizations to work together on a collective approach to securing resources to help sustain their communities. In 2010, the Genesis Fund realized that a significant new source of capital was needed for the islands to build scale in their affordable housing efforts. The Genesis Fund encouraged island communities to work with the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition—of which the Genesis Fund Executive Director was chair—to advocate for and pass the largest affordable housing bond in the state’s history. The legislation authorized up to $50 million in bonds, of which $2 million was allocated to support the islands.