Joining Forces!

We are pleased to announce that after several years of shared project work, the Western Mountains Alliance has officially joined forces with Maine Rural Partners!  Over its twenty-five year history, Western Mountains Alliance has been a committed advocate for Western Maine.  From helping to establish economic development councils and education centers, to hosting nonpartisan forums on important issues and launching Maine’s first online farmers market, WMA has worked to promote the well-being and prosperity of the communities we serve.

This mission aligns well with the work of Maine Rural Partners.  Based in Orono, Maine Rural Partners (MRP) is the state’s federally recognized state rural development council, within the National Rural Development Partnership, and is dedicated to advancing collaborative, integrated approaches to rural development.  The Alliance and MRP have worked closely together, over the years, advancing grassroots driven community and economic development efforts that align with rural culture and values. 

Our new partnership builds on the grassroots, community-driven focus of both organizations and connects Western Mountains Alliance to a statewide network of organizations and communities focused on rural development. More than ever, Rural Maine needs a strong voice and advocate, to expand opportunities for communities and their residents to succeed.  The Western Mountains Alliance can now bring the strength of its grassroots advocacy to the rest of Maine through the merger of WMA with Maine Rural Partners.  Together, this combined organization has the networking power and grassroots assets to provide that stronger voice. 

If you have questions or are interested in additional information on the partnership, please contact Mark Hews, Interim Executive Director, at mark@mainerural.org.

MRP Board Undertakes Strategic Assessment

Now that the merger with the Western Mountains Alliance is complete, the Board of Maine Rural Partners has embarked on a strategic assessment and realignment to ensure the newly combined organization has the vision and mission necessary to achieve success.  The MRP Board has begun implementing an appraisal of the organization that includes a questionnaire seeking feedback from individuals around Maine.  You are invited to complete a questionnaire to provide your feedback and comments on the future of Maine Rural Partners.  You can access the questionnaire on our website at http://www.mainerural.org/?p=931411.  Questionnaires need to be completed by October 15th.

Regional Listening Sessions
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Regional Listening sessions will be held in September and October to get input from rural residents, organizations, and towns on the issues they feel are most important in their areas related to creating viable “stay options”.  That information will be used by Maine Rural Partners to reinforce or change the organization’s Vision, Mission, and priority areas to advocate and develop policy positions to ensure Maine residents have the tools and resources they need to successfully live anywhere in Maine they chose. 

Each session will be on a Wednesday in September and October and run from 3:00 to 5:30 PM.  Refreshments will be served and a facilitated process will be used to get the input from participants.  The dates by region are as follows:

Farmington (Section A+B, North Dining Hall, UMF) – Wednesday, September 17
Norway (First Universalist Church, 479 Main Street) – Tuesday, September 23
Unity (Unity Barn Raisers, Community Center) – Wednesday, September 24
Machias (UMM, Clipper Lounge) – Wednesday, October 1
Bangor (Cooperative Extension, 301 Maine Avenue) – Wednesday, October 15
Caribou (Northern Maine Development Corporation) – Wednesday, October 22
Standish (Bonny Eagle High School, Room 106) – Wednesday, October 29
Contact Us: 4 York Village Orono, ME 04469 | info@mainerural.org | 207-778-3885
For more information visit our website at www.mainerural.org or like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mainerural!