BCDI Awarded a Bowdoin College Common Good Grant

BCDI is pleased to be a recipient of a Bowdoin College Common Good Grant of $1910 for 2016 to support our program costs! The grant beneficiaries were determined by a Board composed of Bowdoin Students as part of a program designed to strengthen the bonds between Bowdoin College and the greater Brunswick community. The program aims to help educate students about the non-profit world, and and engages students in evaluating and honoring local non-profits. As part of the evaluation process, two Bowdoin students from the program visited Bowdoinham and had the chance to see BCDI’s work first-hand, visiting with Board Members, investors and loan recipients. It appears they appreciated what they saw!


BCDI, a non-profit organization governed by a Board of eight Bowdoinham residents, has established the capacity to provide local capital to address local needs by creating a system for local investment – neighbors investing in neighbors. The amount of a BCDI loan may be a minimum of $500 and maximum of $15,000. Loans are very low interest (3%) and short term; repayment is expected between 12 and 24 months after disbursement. The repayment schedule is flexible and is tailored to meet the specific needs and capacities of the beneficiary. The BCDI loan program is designed to meet the needs of businesses that are unable to obtain a low-cost loan through traditional lending institutions for reasons such as insufficient credit history. You must be a Member of BCDI to participate in this program either as an investor or a recipient.

Since 2012, BCDI has granted over $66,000 in loans. Some examples are:

  • $7000 to purchase a tractor – fully repaid
  • $5000 to purchase a high-tunnel greenhouse – fully repaid
  • $7000 to purchase fencing and pasture enhancements for sheep pasture – fully repaid
  • $3000 for materials and equipment needed to launch two online businesses – fully repaid
  • $1800 to repair a truck and obtain saw blades to get a wood business off the ground – fully repaid
  • $7000 to purchase two greenhouses and establish a farming operation – fully repaid
  • $12000 to put a new roof on a local business – fully repaid

BCDI works to connect local business owners with resources that can help establish or sustain their business. For example, loan recipients have been connected with accountants, website developers, and other community or regional resources. In addition to the loan program, BCDI has been working to connect the expanding Bowdoinham farming community with the Local Farms – Local Food Program and others interested in helping increase the availability and consumption of quality local food.

Going forward, BCDI loans and other activities will continue to be aimed at supporting local businesses.  The focus of our efforts depends largely on the needs of the businesses in Bowdoinham – BCDI is a resource ready and able to respond to the needs of the community.

BCDI’s Annual Budget is $15,690. We have received $5,000 through the Town’ 2015-16 budget to support roughly one-third of BCDI’s 2015-16 operational costs.

The Internal Revenue Service has determined that BCDI qualifies as a 501 (c) (3) “public charity” under the Tax Code. This means that:     1) any contribution to BCDI, INCLUDING YOUR MEMBERSHIP, is tax deductible;  and 2) BCDI is eligible to apply for a range of community development grants.

Since June 2012, BCDI has:

  • Registered with the State of Maine as a Non-Profit Corporation
  • Established a Board of Directors (Currently Andy Cutko, Chair; David Engler, Treasurer; Harriet Van Vleck, Secretary; Brian Smith, Laurel Waterman-Lopez, Kathy Montejo, Abby Sadauckas and Dwight Sholes)
  • Adopted basic institutional documents (Vision and Mission Statement, Bylaws, Conflict of Interest Policy, Confidentiality Policy, banking and accounting procedures)
  • Established Communications tools (Logo, Website, Facebook page)
  • Applied for and received 501 (c) (3) status with the IRS
  • Established a tiered fee process for Membership in BCDI; there are currently over 100 members.
  • Established process and criteria for accepting and vetting loan applications and funding them through support from members of the community (over $50,000 in loans have been disbursed).
  • Developed and maintained good working relationships with the Town Manager and Community and Economic Development Office, the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC), Merrymeeting Arts Center (MAC), KELT-BTLT, the Merrymeeting Food Council and numerous farms and businesses in town.

The community support mechanism so far has processed over $66,000 in loans. All loans that have come due have been paid back in full and within their timeframe.   There are currently several potential loan requests under consideration.  Members of the Board participate actively on CDAC, the Food Bank committee, regional food hub/processing facility development, the Merrymeeting Food Council and a number of ad hoc discussions on possible community development activities related to its mission.

Interest in the community loan mechanism remains strong. So far, BCDI has been able to process loans rapidly, from request received to check delivered in roughly three weeks or less. We thought this might lengthen some as BCDI strengthened its mechanisms to ensure complete transparency, disclosures and compliance with State regulations, but the Office of the State Securities Administrator has been incredibly efficient and helpful in keeping the process expeditious!. The lending rate has remained stable at 3%, with the lenders receiving 2% and 1% going to support BCDI operational costs or otherwise creatively support the community. Sustainable operational financing ($15,000/year) remains a challenge, which BCDI intends to meet through diversified income sources: grants, service fees, interest differential, memberships and fundraising events.

If you have not yet joined BCDI as a Member, please do join us! A strong Membership participates in deciding the direction of the organization, and is one way we can help cover our operational costs. If you are already a Member, consider making a tax deductible donation to BCDI – any amount would be appreciated! Send your contribution to:

BCDI, 182 Ridge Road, Bowdoinham 04008

or contact David Whittlesey at david.whittlesey@gmail.com or 522-4118

For More information on the projects which have been funded so far, please go to Programs & Projects

Welcome to: Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative