Elevate Maine Initiative

Introducing Elevate Maine.

The Elevate Maine initiative is a partnership between the Maine Early Learning Investment Group (MELIG) and Educare Central Maine (ECM). Its objectives are to elevate early education to the highest in standards and practice, to elevate student achievement for optimal success in school and beyond and to elevate the quality of Maine’s workforce.

Why Elevate Maine?

In Maine, almost 50% of children enter kindergarten already behind in many of the skills necessary for success in school. Yet, research shows that a child’s first few years of life are the most critical for neurological development. Stable, nurturing relationships with caring adults promote healthy brain development. So do safe, stimulating experiences. Together, these relationships and experiences foster development of strong socio- emotional, cognitive and language skills, which are essential for success in school, work and life. Elevate Maine will ensure that all Maine children benefit from positive, consistent early relationships and experiences and become successful lifelong learners.

How Elevate Maine will work.

Elevate Maine will raise public awareness about the importance of early childhood development; strengthen the skills of parents; strengthen the skills of early childhood educators; and help low-income families to access high quality early care and education. Elevate Maine will function as “a partnership of partnerships”.

  • Educare Central Maine will be the lead agency in the implementation of the Elevate Maine initiative for the pre-designated areas by building on existing community-based services.
  • The Maine Children’s Growth Council will guide the Elevate Maine’s public awareness campaign and connect other state and community-based efforts to the initiative.
  • The Maine Community Foundation will host the donor advised fund and the Maine Development Foundation will serve as fiscal agent.

How Elevate Maine will be implemented.

Children’s healthy development and school readiness will require sustained investment in each of Elevate Maine’s focus areas. They will also require strong, sustained collaborations between parents and early childhood educators and the professionals who mentor, coach and train them. Elevate Maine will use a well-tested market- driven approach combined with the latest research and evidence-based programming. Evidence collected in the pre-designated areas will help support the expansion of all Elevate Maine components statewide. The Elevate Maine initiative will highlight the powerful role of high quality early education in ensuring Maine’s future economic prosperity.


Elevate Maine investments that will be implemented statewide:

  • Campaign to raise public awareness: Elevate Maine will increase public knowledge about the important relationship between high quality early learning and sustained educational and lifelong success.
  • Early educator training and technical assistance: Elevate Maine will assist early childhood educators to increase the quality and effectiveness of their programs through training and technical assistance.

Elevate Maine investments that will initially be limited to designated areas:

  • Parent education and mentoring: Through parent education, mentoring and visitation, Elevate Maine will increase parents’ knowledge of child developmental needs and their use of positive, effective parenting skills.
  • Early educator coaching and mentoring: Elevate Maine will provide coaching and mentoring to early childhood educators to help them increase the quality and effectiveness of their programs.
  • Professional development scholarships and quality improvement grants: Elevate Maine will provide scholarships to early educators to assist them with enhancing their formal education and/or credentials and provide grants to help programs improve quality.
  • High quality early education scholarships for at-risk children: Elevate Maine will provide early education scholarships to at-risk children from low-income families so they can attend high quality early care and education programs.

Maine Early Learning Investment Group Members

James (Jim) Clair, Co-Chair
Former CEO
Goold Health Systems
John Peters, Co-Chair
Former CEO
Downeast Energy
Eleanor (Ellie) Baker
Managing Principal
Baker Newman Noyes
James (Jim) Conlon
Bangor Savings Bank
Christopher (Chris) Emmons
Gorham Savings Bank
Jackson A. Parker
Reed & Reed, Inc.
Steve Rich
Architect of Counsel
Former President/CEO
WBRC Architects
Larry Shaw
MMG Insurance
Meredith Strang Burgess
Burgess Advertising & Marketing

Educare Central Maine Board of Directors

Laurie Lachance, Chairperson
Thomas College
William (Bill) Alfond
William & Joan Alfond Foundation
Mike Burke
Vice President
Buffett Early Childhood Fund
Kathryn (Kathy) Colfer
Director, Child and Family Services
Eric Haley
Superintendent of Schools