Woodard & Curran Foundation Awards Fourth Impact Grant

This fall, our mission-driven organization – the Woodard & Curran Foundation – named Friends of Casco Bay based in South Portland, Maine its fourth Impact Grant recipient. Selected from a competitive field of nearly 60 nonprofit applicants, Friends of Casco Bay will receive $100,000 distributed over the next three years to further its technology, monitoring, and community engagement efforts. 

Studies over the past 15 years shows the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than anywhere on the globe. By monitoring the impact of climate change in Casco Bay, this organization is driving policymaking and education in Maine and beyond. The Foundation awarded Friends of Casco Bay a $2,500 Giving While Living grant in 2017, but their great work rose above their peers and warranted our support. 

Technology, Monitoring, Community Engagement

In response to a report identifying Casco Bay as one of the most polluted regions in America, Friends of Casco Bay formed in 1989 with the launch of a Water Quality Monitoring Program. The organization uses scientific data collected by staff and volunteers to advocate for solutions that address problems threatening this critical waterway in Maine. They also help educate area students, campaign to reduce lawn and garden care chemicals in neighboring communities, and boost stewardship of the environment among area boaters. 

For much of the nonprofit’s 30-year history, data and information about environmental conditions was collected manually by “citizen scientists” on a monthly basis. Three years ago, a monitoring station near Cousins Island was installed to collect hourly data including water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and other environmental conditions. These methods have provided a snapshot of the bay’s conditions, but with the Impact Grant, Friends of Casco Bay will implement more high-tech continuous monitoring stations along the shore to better understand the state of the bay. The grant will also help the group continue community outreach regarding the bay’s evolving conditions, advance policy, and promote behavioral changes to curb the impacts of climate change.  

“We are elated to receive this generous grant, especially given the nationwide pool of applicants,” said Friends of Casco Bay Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell. “Casco Bay is changing quickly. The grant will help us continue to collect timely and essential data about water quality in three key areas of Casco Bay, which shows climate change impacts are evident and increasing. We look forward to continuing working with our community to understand what is changing and how we can champion changes in policies and behavior to support clean marine water, reduce pollution, and improve the health of Casco Bay – even in the face of climate change. We are absolutely delighted to partner with Woodard & Curran Foundation in this work.”

Supporting our Communities 

Woodard & Curran employees organized the Foundation in 2010, acting upon their desire to contribute to the sustainable future of the communities in which they work and live. The nonprofit organization thrives on generous donations of time and resources from employees, the firm, and other individuals and organizations, cultivating and leveraging endowed resources to contribute to causes focused on protecting our water and environment. 

The Foundation’s grant giving history has exceeded $550,000 since its inception. In addition to Friends of Casco Bay being the fourth Impact Grant recipient, the Foundation has distributed an additional $60,000 in Giving While Living Grants to environmental organizations around the country. While the Impact Grant is awarded based on an application process, these $500 to $2,500 micro-grants are awarded to organizations nominated and selected by Woodard & Curran, Inc. employee donors. These smaller grants allow the Foundation to support as many likeminded organizations in the regions where we live, work, and play. 


Barry Sheff

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