By Mally Cox-Chapman, Benefactory Philanthropic Advisors LLC
Most conversations on succession planning turn to how to bring on the next generation or whether to sunset the foundation. Eldon and Betts Mayer thought differently. They wondered if their community on an island in Maine would be willing to take on their family foundation. Three years later, the fund has an engaged board of directors and over 450 donors.
Here’s how they did it.
Maine’s Chebeague Island has 350 year-round islanders and over 2000 summer residents. Three miles by five miles, the island has no bridge to the mainland. It does have a general store, a lovely hotel, and a thriving boatyard, where both lobstermen and recreational boaters coincide. Chebeague also has ten nonprofits that perform many functions that government usually does.
Over the past 40 years, Eldon Mayer has been a moving force for most of the island’s nonprofits, including a superb library, a recreational center that has both a basketball court and a pool, and a high-quality day care and early childhood learning center, open year-round.