Helping young Maine students build a brighter future for themselves and their communities.

The Future of Maine
Aspirations Fund

Donate through PayPal using a credit card or a PayPal account. Please email us if you wish to designate your donation to a particular school, community, or region of Maine.

The Foundation for the Advancement of Education was established as a publicly-supported 501(c)(3) in 1992. In 2002 Maine College Circle was registered as a dba of FAE and became the public face and name of our efforts. Because F.A.E. is a 501(c)(3), your donation may be tax-deductible.

Thanks for joining us and helping us build a brighter future of Maine!

The Future of Maine Aspirations Fund is a permanent fund committed to building a brighter future for Maine communities and their youth.

We focus on raising the early aspirations of young community members. We start by sharing information about the opportunities of education, and helping them connect their opportunities and aspirations with their education and a brighter future . . . for themselves and for their community.

  • Knowledge and education are the foundation on which to build a brighter future in communities we support.

  • Aspirations are an essential part of successful education. Education without aspirations will only lead to short-term measurements of accumulated information. Aspirations are what engage students in the educational process and help them reach higher goals.

  • If we wait until late in high school to develop aspirations, communities and their students will fall far short of their potential. It is essential that every student guide his or her education with aspirations, so, we focus on building the aspirations of elementary school students and we help the students understand the potential of higher education. We help them set their sights high, and help their community support and celebrate their aspirations.

  • Information is a key component of aspirations. We should not expect students to aspire to what they do not know and understand. Access to new and inspired information can be especially challenging in isolated, small, rural communities. Aspirations are limited by what students know and see. In rural communities, aspirations are often no higher than a few feet short of the tallest tree and no farther than a few feet short of the town line.

  • Brighter futures must be built from within, by the community and its members. Community engagement in our efforts is essential. Outside support can share knowledge and experience to broaden the horizon, but should be a finite and modest relationship with each community and a relationship that encourages and enables each community to weave its own efforts into the fabric of a brighter future for their community.

  • Our efforts and goals are not limited by data and what we can measure. They are built on conviction and experience and what we know is needed to make a long-term commitment to a brighter future in each community. We break our large, challenging, future goals into small actions today that we believe will have a lasting impact.

  • Current welfare efforts often appease current needs but often hinder efforts to build a brighter future. The Aspirations Fund’s focus is squarely on youth, education, early aspirations, effort, equal access to information on the opportunity of higher education, and community engagement . . . to build a brighter future for all.

What the Aspiration Fund supports

Since 1992, each year we have provided Aspirations Workshops to over 3000 elementary and middle school students about college, colleges, college majors, and careers after college. The communities we will reach in 2013 – 2014 are listed. We have awarded Future of Maine College Aspirations Scholarships to over 1000 elementary school students. We have celebrated the aspirations of these scholarship recipients at College Aspirations Scholarship Ceremonies in communities throughout Maine. These scholarship recipients receive VIP recognition on college campuses through Maine, and they receive VIP benefits in their community. We celebrate fun college knowledge at the Maine College Knowledge Bowl each year on a college campus. We coordinate college campus visits for scholarship recipients. We coordinate College Crosswords to increase community conversation about education beyond high school. We award College Scholarships to juniors in high school who have previously received College Aspirations Scholarships to promote the value of early effort and aspirations.

Contribute to the Aspirations Fund

Rural Maine communities have many challenges, but their youth have tremendous potential. I see it every day I spend talking to elementary school students. These communities and their challenges go unseen by many. I, for one, care a lot about these kids and their future and this state’s future. The path is quite clear for many of these kids, unless someone cares and supports and celebrates their aspirations. There is a lot that I like and admire about even the lowest income communities in this state, but the trajectory of their future is unclear, at best, and more likely quite bleak. We are not trying to extract the best and brightest from their community, but rather to help these students build a brighter future for themselves and their community.

If you care about the future of Maine communities and about the future of their youth, I hope you will consider a one-time or annual contribution that is a direct investment into these communities and their youth. Your contribution supports, inspires, educates, and celebrates youth in these communities. Your contribution gives students information and encouragement; the rest of your contribution they earn. Your contribution might not meet their most urgent needs today, but it helps them build a brighter future, through their own efforts . . . for themselves and for their community.

You can designate your contribution to all Maine communities we support, or to any one of the individual regions or communities, or your contribution can help us reach other communities you identify.

Please don’t hesitate to call me to discuss your interest and support, or you can contribute through our website.

Thanks. I hope you will join me and others throughout Maine in this effort.

Invest in the future of Maine communities and their young students online.

Bob Stuart, Director, Maine College Circle

Tax-deductible, charitable contributions can be made out to Maine College Circle and mailed to Maine College Circle, 251 Main Street, Yarmouth, Maine 04096.