Quimby Family Foundation invests more than $60,000 in Waldo County

By Jordan Bailey | Aug 06, 2014

The Quimby Family Foundation has selected five Waldo County arts, recreation, and agricultural projects to fund through its 2014 grant program.

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association will receive $35,000 to support its Maine Heritage Orchard; The Waldo County Trails Association will receive $15,000 to hire a coordinator for the Hills to Sea Trail project, a recreational footpath from Unity to Belfast; Belfast Creative Coalition will receive $6,000 to fund the Cultivate: Belfast Area Farm and Art Trail and Fall Tour; and Waterfall Arts will receive $5,000 to support its youth art programs. Maine Farmland Trust, a land trust based in Belfast, will also receive $35,000 to operate a farmland access loan program it will pilot in Washington County.

The Quimby Family Foundation, founded by former Burt's Bees owner Roxanne Quimby, is awarding 72 grants totaling $1.7 million in 2014 to projects that align with its mission to encourage vibrant sustainable Maine communities.

"The arts, outdoor recreation, and organic agriculture each contribute immensely to community wellness, which is a priority of the Quimby Family Foundation," Hannah Quimby, a member of the foundation's board of directors, wrote in an email to The Republican Journal July 30. "In Waldo County in particular, grant-seeking organizations are placing emphasis on the intersection of arts and agriculture, trail development for outdoor recreation, and opportunities for young people to experience the arts, which fills an important gap in the existing school curriculum."

Waterfall Arts in Belfast has been filling such a gap for local sixth graders and will now be able to expand their free weekly after-school art club to more students ages 8 to 13. Martha Piscuskas, co-director of programming at Waterfall Arts, said a grant in 2013 from St. Margaret's Foundation allowed Waterfall Arts to begin the program.

“Everyone loved it so much we wanted to expand it to be available to more students,” Piscuskas said. “This is incredible for us to be able to have this program run all year long.”

The Waterfall Arts' grant will also fund monthly art club gatherings on Saturdays, partnerships with libraries, schools and galleries to make art accessible to all ages, and a traveling Waterfall Arts tent where hands-on, all-ages, art-making activities will be offered at events across the county.

Ted Quaday, executive director of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association said their $35,000 grant has been awarded as capital support for the Maine Heritage Orchard, which was just started last year with a similar grant from the Quimby Family Foundation.

"The Quimbys' support has been key in getting the orchard established, keeping those trees alive and continuing to expand the orchard, so we thank them for that," said Quaday.

Doug Van Horn, chair of the Waldo County Trails Coalition, said their $15,000 grant will primarily fund a coordinator who will handle communication and publicity. "We hope to get the word out about the trails we have constructed and recruit more people for our work parties," Van Horn said. "We also hope this person will help develop ways to sustain this position for the future."

Kimberly Callas of Belfast Creative Coalition said their $6,000 grant will go toward coordinating and running the Cultivate: Belfast Area Farm and Arts Trail Fall Tour and updating its map of artist’s studios, galleries, cultural organizations and farms in the Midcoast area.

Grantees will be honored and checks awarded at a luncheon hosted by the Quimby Family Foundation Friday, Aug. 22, in Freeport.

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