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Maine Service Fellows Development

February 21, 2019

PRESENT: Anita McCafferty, Ed Barrett, Maryalice Crofton, Chris Wolff, Orion Breen

The meeting opened at 1pm by teleconference. Libby Hite had notified everyone she had a conflict and asked Maryalice to shepherd the agenda.


ADJUST STRATEGIC PLAN DUE DATES. The section of Strategic Opportunity 2 related to Maine Service Fellows shows a timeline that needs adjusting. Work is proceeding in the order outlined but the task force didn’t start meeting until after the first deadline. After discussion, the task force recommends the Commission revise the timeline to what is shown below. As a first step, all dates were advanced one year.

It was noted that the current MCCS general fund request would provide a 40% FTE project coordinator plus graduate student assistance to stand up the project and do outreach to establish the pipeline. The current goal is to announce set up of the program and call for host sites at the 25th anniversary gala in October.

MAINE SERVICE FELLOWS - proposed revised work plan
2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 (outside current scope of plan)
   Moved to later time           
  • By 3/15 design Service Fellows program. Include preference for rural placements but permit any locale.
  • By 3/15, Identify potential benefits (e.g., instate tuition rate)
  • By 9/30, Engage consultant or project staff to operationalize Service Fellows program
  • By 10/14 have funding identified to support 2020 pilot group of 6.
  • Call for host site proposals in Oct.
  • By 1/31, select initial 6 Service Fellow host organizations
  • By 6/30, assign initial 6 to local agencies
  • Build pipeline for Service Fellow applicants
  • Secure funding for 10 Service Fellows
  • Assign second Service Fellow cohort (10)
  • Secure funding for Service Fellows through 2023
  • Design and implement evaluation plan
  • Publish preliminary evaluation of Service Fellows.
  • Develop long-term funding strategy for Service Fellows


There was a discussion of focus areas for the Maine Service Fellows at the January 2019 Commission meeting. The feedback there along with feedback from this group and the Maine Volunteer Foundation led to editing the language in the one-pager to read:

Focus Areas for Projects.  Communities seeking to host a Maine Service Fellow may propose a project work plan to address any emerging or persistent local need related to one of these issues:

  • Aging in Place
  • Poverty (food security, transportation, housing, etc.)
  • Opioid Addiction Prevention or Recovery
  • Economic Opportunity

The members present had no further edits. The program description used by the foundation will be updated to match this and then used for fundraising.

POTENTIAL BENEFITS FOR MEMBER SERVICE FELLOWS. This discussion drew heavily on Chris Wolff’s experience with the Island Fellows program at Island Institute. In the end, members listed the following as the core benefits the program would seek to offer:

  • Credit or certificate in community civic engagement issued by USM (Anita will explore how this might be done).
  • Housing allowance to help with rent and/or utilities (especially heat)
  • Offer health insurance assistance if person does not have access (if eligibility to participate remains at “within 5 years of completing higher education degree,” some Fellows may be older and not eligible to be on a parental plan)
  • Formal or intentional networking opportunities that help Fellow connect to community and future employment, public service. Chris shared that one of the factors that helped the Island Fellows succeed was providing two advisors to Fellows. One was the technical advisor – like a work supervisor who had knowledge related to the duties and tasks of the assignment. The second advisor was a social advisor who helped the person connect to the community and develop supportive ties.

GENERAL FUNDS REQUEST FOR PROGRAM COORDINATION SUPPORT. Maryalice gave a brief update on the status. The request appears in the Dept. of Education budget because that agency is the fiscal agent for the Commission. No hearing on the budget has been set. She noted the legislative committee (Education and Cultural Affairs) that will consider it is not the Commission’s oversight committee (State and Local Government) because of the structural path the Commission follows for fiscal matters.

MAINE VOLUNTEER FOUNDATION UPDATE. Orion is on the MVF board. He indicated they are organizing to start the fundraising.

CONNECTING MAINE SERVICE FELLOWS INTO COMMISSION (board). Members discussed the best way to keep the board informed of this program’s operation, challenges, success, needs, etc. It was agreed that during the early years, it will be best to have a distinct advisory committee. The committee could ask the Grants Task Force to handle funding awards but that wouldn’t be a requirement. The advisory group would recommend policy as needed, advise on the program evaluation, and monitor whether the mission was being achieved.

NEXT STEPS: Anita explores certificate/credit idea. Need to consider policies related to program. The document being used for fundraising has a different purpose than a program description that captures the decisions this group is making. May be time to start developing a more descriptive document on how the program would operate.

ADJOURN/CLOSE. There being no other issues to discuss, the members closed the meeting at 1:56 pm.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, March 21, 1-2pm by teleconference