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Maine Groups to Share $5M in Grants to Raise Students' Aspirations

BANGOR, Maine - Eight different community organizations throughout the state will share nearly $5 million provided by the Lerner Foundation to raise the aspirations of Maine students.

Former independent Maine gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler is president and board chairman of the foundation.  He says the state's community and business leaders must become more involved with mentoring students in rural parts of the state.

"Too many kids in Maine don't have the kind of hope and dreams and expectations of what's possible to drive success," Cutler said.

Cutler said the partnerships encouraged under the Lerner Foundation's Aspiration Incubator represent 39 towns and cities in Maine, with most having a population of less than 2,000 residents. The $4.8 million in grants are crafted to encourage key community stakeholders to develop partnerships with students to identify new emerging career options.

Cutler said the the program has played a role in raising high school graduation rates in some communities through the development of strong social and emotional support networks for young people.