Acorn icon Why Donate?

Open for Opportunity: Investing in Maine’s Brightest Students

Why donate? The Institute’s guiding tenet—that no Maine student with the qualifications and ambition to pursue a college education should be denied that opportunity due to limited financial resources—is as important today as it was at our founding 25 years ago.

From its inception, the Institute has made investments in the futures of deserving Maine students who demonstrated academic prowess, community leadership, and financial need. By awarding these vital scholarships, we invest $1.3 million in Maine’s future every year.

Hard work and a scholarship, however, are sometimes not enough to navigate a daunting college environment—especially if a student is the first in their family to attend college, or has few financial resources at their disposal, as is true for roughly half of each incoming class of Scholars. Through both observation and evidence-based research, we know that additional supports given through a strong community dramatically increase Scholars’ chances of attaining a degree and finding meaningful employment in Maine. We partner with each Scholar, meeting them where they are every step of the way.

From leadership programs, to career development, to the ability to just talk one-on-one with a Mitchell Institute staff member who can help solve problems, the Mitchell Institute’s approach to helping students is multifaceted. Sometimes, a student just needs to know who to talk to at their school’s Financial Aid office, while other times a student needs the money to replace a flat tire so that they can continue to work while taking classes. The Mitchell Institute’s programs, Fellowship Awards, and Promise Fund reduce the barriers students have to succeeding. Scholars and Alumni, in turn, form a resilient community over 3,000 strong: the Mitchell Institute Family, which shares resources, ideas, and connections both in Maine and around the world.

The results of this approach are palpable: 85% of Mitchell Scholars graduate from college within six years, compared to national and Maine average rates of 58% and 60%, respectively. What’s more, Mitchell Scholars report feeling more connected to Maine and more enthusiastic about staying in or returning to Maine when they leave college than their peers.

The cost of college continues to balloon and a post-secondary degree becomes ever more necessary to participate in the economy. The Mitchell Scholarship began as a $2,500, one-year scholarship, increasing gradually to the current amount of $10,000 over four years. This growth, plus our suite of programs and supports the Mitchell Institute needs your support to continue to meet the needs of deserving Mainers.

Explore our financials here.