Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) recently launched a year-long thirtieth anniversary celebration in the State House Hall of Flags. The agency unveiled a new logo and provided information and resources to legislators, stakeholders, and citizens as part of “FAME Day” at the Maine Legislature. FAME staff also was joined by professional sports team mascots from the Portland Sea Dogs, the Maine Red Claws, and the Portland Pirates. FAME partners with these sports teams through the Maine College Savings Program, also known as the NextGen College Investing Plan® (Next Gen®), through which the teams provide scholarships to Maine students.
FAME was created in 1983 by the Maine Legislature and then-Governor Joseph E. Brennan and charged with improving economic development strategies, policies, and activities, as well as securing loans and funding for Maine businesses. In 1989, FAME became the designated state guarantor for federal student loan programs, as well as the administrator of the state’s higher education grant, loan, and loan forgiveness programs. In 1998, the Legislature created the Maine College Savings Program and assigned the administrative responsibilities to FAME. NextGen is now the seventh-largest college savings plan in the nation, with approximately $6.8 billion in assets as of April 30, 2013. In 2008, thanks to the generosity of the late philanthropist Harold Alfond, the Harold Alfond College Challenge was launched. This first-in-the-nation program provides a $500 grant to every Maine baby to open a NextGen account by the baby’s first birthday. Nearly 19,600 children now have a NextGen account seeded with this grant.
Some other impressive statistics about the agency include:
- Over the past 5 years, FAME has awarded over $52 million in grants to 59,552 Maine students through the Maine State Grant Program.
- FAME provides financial aid and financial education information to several thousand Maine students and families each year.
- College Goal Maine, which is annually coordinated by FAME, assisted 987 Maine families with completion of the FAFSA in 2013.
- FAME’s Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program has made over 772 loans totaling $39 million. These loans leveraged another $258 million in investments, helping to create and retain 10,509 Maine jobs.
- FAME’s Seed Capital Tax Credit Program has awarded $30 million in tax credits, resulting in approximately $75 million in new Maine business investments.
- In FY 2012, FAME’s commercial loan insurance and direct loan programs totaled approximately $42 million and leveraged total loans in the amount of approximately $67 million. These programs made funds available to 248 Maine businesses and helped to create and retain 4,713 Maine jobs.
FAME’s year-long thirtieth anniversary celebration will culminate with its annual dinner and awards celebration, Showcase Maine, which will take place Nov. 12 at Portland’s Holiday Inn By the Bay. The event will prominently feature business and student success stories over the years.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
At its April 18, 2013 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) approved financing for three businesses in the transportation, tourism and manufacturing sectors of Maine’s economy. The businesses are Isherwood Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Custom Coach and Limousine; Mega Industries Realty, LLC and Mega Industries, LLC (co-borrowers); and Rood Enterprises, LLC and B & B Precise Products, Inc. (co-borrowers). FAME’s actions will help these companies create and retain approximately 171 Maine jobs.
“FAME is pleased to support these Maine companies and their plans for continued operation and expansion,” stated FAME Chief Executive Officer Beth Bordowitz. “We are beginning to see signs of an economic recovery taking hold in Maine and our actions will help these businesses to position themselves to create and retain good Maine jobs.”
Custom Coach and Limousine is a Portland-based, family-owned and operated company that was founded in 1988 with one mini-coach. Today the company employs fifty people and operates a fleet of over forty-five vehicles. FAME will provide loan insurance on various Camden National Bank loans to the company, which will help lower the cost of debt.
FAME also approved a direct loan of $180,000 through its Economic Recovery Loan Program to Mega Industries. The company manufactures high-power, low-frequency microwave components for scientific, military, and commercial applications. Mega Industries will use the funds to help expand its existing manufacturing facility in Gorham. The company expects to create eight new jobs and retain forty-six jobs as a result of FAME’s financing.
“Mega Industries is grateful to FAME for its assistance as we expand our operations and grow our workforce,” stated Peter Anania, President of Mega Industries, LLC and Anania & Associates Investment Co.
Finally, FAME also has agreed to insure three separate loans by Androscoggin Bank to B & B Precise Products, Inc. The financing will enable the company to access working capital and purchase two new machines for its manufacturing facility.
B & B Precise Products, Inc. is located in Benton and was established in 1990 as a machine shop with two employees. Today it is an ISO 9001:2000/AS9100 REV C certified precision manufacturer employing fifty-seven individuals. The company’s customers include global companies in the aerospace, defense, homeland security, semiconductor, and energy sectors. FAME’s financing is expected to help the company create an additional eight-to twelve jobs.
“Our company very much appreciates FAME’s support. FAME’s actions will enable us to grow and compete in the global economy,” stated Wellman “Will” Rood, President of B&B Precise Products, Inc.
Friday, April 19, 2013
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is recognizing April as Financial Literacy Month by offering a variety of statewide initiatives and educational workshops intended to promote the importance of financial education to Maine citizens.
FAME’s College Access and Financial Education (CAFÉ) Team will be visiting schools throughout Maine to present a variety of topics intended to improve the financial capability of Maine students. From kindergarten to college and beyond, FAME offers a diverse selection of financial education initiatives to Maine students.
FAME’s CAFÉ Team annually presents financial education sessions to several thousand Maine students. These sessions are offered directly in the school or college setting through presentations, games and a variety of hands-on learning activities.
FAME also partners with American Student Assistance (ASA) to revolutionize how Maine college students manage their finances and student loans. Through the innovative educational membership program SALT®, powered by ASA and administered through a pilot program created by FAME, Maine college students and alumni receive financial education and pro-active debt management education and services free-of-charge. FAME launched the pilot at Husson University last fall, with an additional nine institutions having signed-on to the program since then. The pilot is funded by the Maine College Access Challenge Grant, a federal grant administered by FAME. Students should contact their college directly for more information about SALT.
“FAME’s financial education efforts have become a key and growing part of our mission. We provide outreach to schools throughout the state, from Aroostook to York Counties, in order to help prepare Maine students for financially prudent futures,” stated FAME Chief Executive Officer Beth Bordowitz. “FAME is a proud co-sponsor of the upcoming financial literacy conference for education professionals.”
“Fostering Financial Literacy in Maine Schools Conference,” the fourth annual financial literacy conference for Maine teachers, administrators, counselors and others, will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on May 2, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. FAME again is sponsoring the conference along with the Maine Office of Securities, the Maine JumpStart Coalition, the Maine Credit Union League, and others. FAME staff also will be presenting at the event, which is designed to help Maine teachers develop strategies for educating students about the basics of earning, saving, spending and investing money.
For more information on the financial literacy conference, please visit:
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine citizens pursue businesses and educational opportunities. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The partnership between the Maine Departments of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Finance Authority of Maine and the Maine Municipal Bond Bank will support implementation of projects that reduce agricultural impacts to water resources.
AUGUSTA - Maine's Departments of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are helping farmers who want to do their part to protect water quality by releasing $3 million for agriculture improvements loans.
The two State departments, in partnership with the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, have expanded the Nutrient Management Loan Program, developed to fund construction of containment and handling facilities for milk room and manure waste. Since its inception in 1999, that program has made 14 loans totaling $1.3 million.
The DEP-administered Clean Water State Revolving Fund will provide up to $3 million for FAME to finance the loans with farmers able to borrow up to $450,000 at a fixed interest rate of 2 percent for up to 20 years.
"Agriculture is a $1.5 billion industry in Maine, and the thousands of people who work in it have the important responsibility of stewarding 1.25 million acres," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "I thank these two agencies for coming together with FAME and the bond bank to increase the sustainability of Maine farms and our state. This expanded loan program is good news for our natural resources and for our economy."
Loans will fund agricultural projects that mitigate nonpoint source pollution by reducing or treating agricultural runoff and improving or maintaining water quality through irrigation system improvements and the use of irrigation reservoirs to maintain in-stream flows and water levels.
Eligible improvement projects include repairs to or installation of roof runoff structures, water and sediment control basins, composting facilities, anaerobic digesters and irrigation system water conservation. DACF will review the proposed projects for eligibility and to ensure they are completed in accordance with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services design criteria.
"Maine's farmers know firsthand the great value of clean water and the importance of minimizing agricultural runoff," said DEP Commissioner Patricia W. Aho. "Thanks to our increased funding commitment, these important partners in protection will be able to better steward the land and water they depend on for their livelihood while investing in the future of the farms that feed Maine people and our economy."
"These loan opportunities will lead to investments in agricultural infrastructure," added DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. "Long-term agricultural viability protects Maine water resources."
Since 1989, the Maine Clean Water State Revolving Fund has provided over $650 million in low-interest loans for projects that improve water quality and protect environmental and public health, largely to publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities.
For more information on Maine's Nutrient Management Loan Program, visit http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/narr/ or contact Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Nutrient Management Coordinator Mark Hedrich at (207) 287-7608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Maine's Clean Water State Revolving Fund, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/assistance/grants-loans or contact Maine Department of Environmental Protection Engineering Services Manager John True at (207) 287-7808 or email@example.com.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Maine “dream-maker” and philanthropist Harold Alfond would have celebrated his 99th birthday on March 6th. His legacy lives on in our state through the Alfond Scholarship Foundation, which to date has awarded over $9 million - or 18,000 $500 Harold Alfond College Challenge Grants - to Maine babies – so they can dream big, too.
The Alfond Grant is awarded to a NextGen College Investing Plan® account administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Opening a NextGen® account to receive the grant can even be done online in about 15 minutes. The grant is available to any Maine resident baby for whom a NextGen account has been opened by their first birthday.
Harold Alfond was well-known for challenging wider involvement to accomplish a certain goal, and the Alfond Scholarship Foundation works with many community and hospital groups to encourage more parents to open NextGen accounts and receive the $500 grant.
Central Maine Medical Center Pediatrics, for example, had tried many things to encourage patients to sign up for the Alfond Grant and most recently installed an on-line application kiosk for parents to sign up right in the waiting room. “We have been reminding parents about the $500 opportunity for the past four years, and they often say they will get to it when they have time. It’s such a great opportunity and we want to help families in as many good health and aspirational aspects as we can,” said Pam Cullet, Practice Manager.
There are no income limits and no contributions are required to receive the $500 grant. Funds in the NextGen account may be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses at any accredited post-secondary school, including four-year and two-year public and private colleges, certificate programs, trade schools, and even graduate schools.1
Families of Maine babies may apply for the grant by visiting http://www.500forbaby.org or calling FAME at 1-800-282-3734 and completing an application by their child’s first birthday.
About the Alfond Scholarship Foundation
The Alfond Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit corporation established specifically to sponsor and support the Harold Alfond College Challenge. The foundation is a partnership of organizations and individuals who truly embrace Mr. Alfond’s philosophy, and includes representatives from the Maine Compact for Higher Education, FAME, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, the Maine Community Foundation, the Mitchell Institute, and at-large members that include representatives from MaineGeneral Health and the Maine Hospital Association. To learn more about the Harold Alfond College Challenge, please visit www.500forbaby.org.
About the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine people and businesses pursue educational and business opportunities. Established in 1983, FAME is committed to innovative, flexible financial solutions that address the needs of Maine individuals and companies in a changing economic landscape. FAME administers the Harold Alfond College Challenge and the NextGen College Investing Plan®. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com
1 To be eligible for the favorable tax treatment afforded to any earnings portion of withdrawals from Section 529 accounts, withdrawals must be “qualified higher education expenses,” as defined in the Internal Revenue Code. Any earnings withdrawn that are not used for such expenses are subject to federal income tax and may be subject to a 10% additional federal tax, as well as applicable state and local income taxes.
Please remember there's always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.
The Alfond Grant is awarded to a NextGen account. NextGen is a Section 529 plan administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Before you invest in NextGen, request a NextGen Program Description from your Maine bank or financial advisor, or call FAME at 1-800-228-3734 and read it carefully. The Program Description contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in NextGen, which you should carefully consider before investing. You also should consider whether your or your designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s 529 plan. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC, is the program manager and underwriter.
Friday, December 21, 2012
The Board of Directors of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has approved financing for East Boothbay-based Hodgdon Shipbuilding, LLC and two New Markets Capital Investment Program Tax Credit certificates related to investments in GNP Maine Holdings, LLC, an entity related to the former Great Northern Paper mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket. The projects are expected to help to create and retain 448 Maine jobs.
At its December 20, 2012 meeting, the FAME Board approved a $300,000 Economic Recovery Loan to Hodgdon Shipbuilding, LLC. The company plans to utilize the funds to construct a 10.5 meter Limousine Tender for use with mega-yachts. The proposed model tender will serve as a demonstrator for the company at popular yacht shows around the globe.
Hodgdon Shipbuilding has been building high-quality yachts and other sea-going vessels in East Boothbay since 1816. It is currently the oldest, continuously operated boat-building company in the United States. FAME’s action will help the company to create and retain approximately 139 Maine jobs.
Hodgdon Group, LLC president and chief executive officer, Timothy Hodgdon, stated: “Thanks to FAME’s assistance, Hodgdon Shipbuilding will be able to proceed with construction of a demonstrator tender that should lead to increased production and jobs in the state. We are grateful for FAME past and current assistance with our company’s growth and success.”
FAME also approved the certification applications of two community development entities, Stonehenge Community Development LXI, LLC, and Enhanced Capital New Market Development Fund X, LLC, under the Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program. The action is related to investments by each entity in GNP Maine Holdings, LLC, a company related to Great Northern Paper, LLC, in Millinocket and East Millinocket. These are the first certification applications to be approved under the new program, which was created by the 125th Maine Legislature to be administered by FAME.
FAME authorized the issuance of a tax credit certificate for Enhanced Capital in the amount of $8,125,260, and a tax credit certificate for Stonehenge Community Development in the amount of $7,800,000.
In doing so, the board determined that both entities have made or will make investments required under the statute in the low-income community of East Millinocket. These investments are related to capital expenditures at the mill and are expected to help create and retain 309 Maine jobs in the Katahdin region.
The Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program provides refundable state tax credits of up to 39 percent to investors in qualified community development entities (CDEs) that reinvest in certain businesses in eligible low-income communities in Maine. The program is modeled after the federal New Markets Tax Credit Program, and is administered by the Finance Authority of Maine, in cooperation with Maine Revenue Services and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.
“FAME is pleased to support these storied Maine companies with their plans to expand make improvements, and create and retain Maine jobs,” stated FAME Board Chair Susan Snowden.
After the monthly board meeting, FAME hosted Gov. Paul LePage for an informal holiday visit with members of the Harold Alfond Scholarship Foundation and FAME staff. FAME administers the Harold Alfond College Challenge Grant, which provides a $500 grant to all Maine resident babies under one year of age who open a NextGen College Investing Plan® account. The Governor toured FAME with Chief Executive Officer Beth Bordowitz, Alfond Scholarship Foundation Chair Larry Pugh, Harold Alfond Foundation Chairman Gregory Powell, and others, to thank FAME employees for their assistance in making the program a great success. To date, the program has enrolled over 15,000 Maine babies with college savings accounts.
Friday, December 21, 2012
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is currently displaying photography by Dennis Griggs of Topsham. Dennis owns Tannery Hill Photographic Laboratory in Topsham and his clients include the United States Postal Service, Bath Iron Works, Greater Portland Landmarks, the Maine Development Foundation, local banks and advertising agencies. Dennis received formal training in Photographic Science at Rochester Institute of Technology and also was a photographer at Brunswick Naval Air Station.
FAME Chief Executive Officer Beth Bordowitz stated: “FAME is pleased to host Dennis’s photography, which adds vibrancy to our office while helping to bring public attention to Maine artists and photographers who enrich our communities.”
In addition to serving as one of New England’s foremost commercial photographers, Dennis regularly attends “casting calls” on behalf of the Harold Alfond College Challenge, which provides a $500 grant to all Maine resident babies under one year of age who open a NextGen College Investing Plan® account. The babies are offered free professional photographs, which are taken by Dennis. A collection of featured photographs of these babies are part of the current display at FAME.
FAME strives to bring visibility to the achievements of Maine artists by providing opportunities to exhibit their artwork and to inspire passion about art in others.
The public may view the exhibition for free at FAME’s Augusta office until mid-January 2013. FAME is open Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. FAME’s office is located near the Augusta Civic Center at 5 Community Drive, Augusta, Exit 112 off I-95.
To learn more about FAME art exhibits and openings, or if you are an artist who would like to have your work considered for exhibition, please contact FAME at 1-800-228-3734.
Friday, November 16, 2012
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) held its annual meeting and awards event, Showcase Maine, on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at Portland’s Holiday Inn By The Bay.
Showcase Maine is a celebration of the many successful businesses and higher education initiatives happening within Maine.
The evening featured a reception, including a showcase of exhibits by Maine businesses and educational organizations that partner with FAME; a dinner and awards presentation; and a keynote speech by Robert C. Pozen.
Pozen is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He previously served as chair of MFS Investment; vice chair of Fidelity Investments; and president of Fidelity Management and Research Company. Pozen offered post-election reflections on the U.S. economy, including the likelihood of Congress avoiding the impending “fiscal cliff.”
“We enjoyed celebrating the successes of the past year with our partners in Maine’s business and higher education communities,” said Beth Bordowitz, FAME’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to showcase Maine businesses and educational organizations, and it was a privilege for us to honor some of Maine’s innovative leaders.”
This year’s award recipients included:
• Anania & Associates Investment Company, LLC of Portland (Business at Work for Maine Award): Anania & Associates Investment Company is a private investment fund that invests in small, well-managed companies in the manufacturing, service and distribution sectors. Over the years it has successfully utilized the FAME-administered Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Program to increase out-of-state investment in Maine. Some businesses in Anania & Associates’ portfolio have used other FAME programs to expand into new product lines.
• Junior Achievement of Maine (Education at Work for Maine Award): JA is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Maine students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. In the 2011-12 academic year, JA delivered programs to 535 Maine classes and 9,915 students in 112 Maine schools.
• Camden National Bank (Financial Institution of the Year Award): Camden National Bank frequently partners with FAME to provide financing to Maine businesses. It also is committed to the communities it serves, supporting a variety of businesses, community, and non-profit organizations. The bank sponsors Community Spirit of Giving, a community outreach program that helps raise money to help area families in need at the holidays.
• Machias Savings Bank (Financial Institution of the Year Award): Machias Savings Bank actively partners with FAME to provide financing to local businesses, including lobstermen and the fishing industry. In 2011, Machias Savings employees donated volunteer labor by participating in many worthy causes, from coaching youth sports to serving on non-profit boards. During the same period, the bank made contributions to various organizations, as well.
• Hon. David Richardson of Carmel (Dirigo Legislative Champion Award): Richardson, a state representative from Carmel, was co-chair of the 125th Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. He is a strong supporter of FAME’s mission, especially with respect to providing higher education opportunities for all Maine students.
“Our company, which has collaborated with FAME on financing, enjoyed exhibiting our handsewn shoes before the dinner and making new connections. We also enjoyed hearing the positive testimonials by the various award winners, as well as the informative remarks by Bob Pozen,” stated Kevin Shorey, partner in Quoddy, Inc. of Perry and Lewiston.
Prior to the dinner and awards ceremony, the FAME Board met and re-elected the following individuals as officers for 2013: Susan Snowden of Scarborough, Chair; Cheri Walker of Falmouth, Vice President; and Patrick Murphy of Portland, Treasurer.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Items of Interest for October 2012:
Alfond Babies Make TV Debut
Husson and Thomas Celebrate SALT
Promising Practices Forum
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) will hold its annual meeting and awards event, Showcase Maine, on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Portland’s Holiday Inn By The Bay.
Showcase Maine is a celebration of the many successful businesses and higher education initiatives happening within Maine.
The evening will feature a reception, including a showcase of exhibits by Maine businesses and educational organizations that partner with FAME; a dinner and awards presentation; and a keynote speech by Robert C. Pozen.
Pozen is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He previously served as chair of MFS Investment; vice chair of Fidelity Investments; and president of Fidelity Management and Research Company. Pozen will offer post-election reflections on the U.S. economy, including the likelihood of Congress avoiding the impending “fiscal cliff.”
“We look forward to celebrating the successes of the past year with our partners in Maine’s business and higher education communities,” said Beth Bordowitz, FAME’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to showcase Maine businesses and educational organizations, and it is a privilege for us to honor some of Maine’s innovative leaders.”
This year’s award recipients include:
Anania & Associates Investment Company, LLC of Portland (Business at Work for Maine Award): Anania & Associates Investment Company is a private investment fund that invests in small, well-managed companies in the manufacturing, service and distribution sectors. Over the years it has successfully utilized the FAME-administered Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Program to increase out-of-state investment in Maine. Some businesses in Anania & Associates’ portfolio have used other FAME programs to expand into new product lines.
Junior Achievement of Maine (Education at Work for Maine Award): JA is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Maine students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. In the 2011-12 academic year, JA delivered programs to 535 Maine classes and 9,915 students in 112 Maine schools.
Camden National Bank (Financial Institution of the Year Award): Camden National Bank frequently partners with FAME to provide financing to Maine businesses. It also is committed to the communities it serves, supporting a variety of businesses, community, and non-profit organizations. The bank sponsors Community Spirit of Giving, a community outreach program that helps raise money to help area families in need at the holidays.
Machias Savings Bank (Financial Institution of the Year Award): Machias Savings Bank actively partners with FAME to provide financing to local businesses, including lobstermen and the fishing industry. In 2011, Machias Savings employees donated many hours of volunteer labor by participating in many worthy causes, from coaching youth sports to serving on non-profit boards. During the same period, the bank contributed monetarily to various organizations, as well.
Hon. David Richardson of Carmel (Dirigo Legislative Champion Award): Richardson, a state representative from Carmel, was co-chair of the 125 Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. He is a strong supporter of FAME’s mission, especially with respect to providing higher education opportunities for all Maine students.
The public is welcome to attend in this celebration. Anyone interested in attending the event can register online at www.famemaine.com