Mary Ellen Barnes elected United Way board chair

Pandemic response and 2019 results reviewed at annual meeting
Fri, 05/22/2020 - 12:00pm

Mary Ellen Barnes, executive director of the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, was elected chair of United Way’s Board of Directors at the organization’s annual meeting Wednesday, May 20. A resident of Westport Island, Barnes acknowledged the many challenges facing people during this pandemic, as well as the positive response in our communities.

“What I’ve seen in Lincoln County is innovation, adaptation, and collaboration,” Barnes said. “These are hallmarks of our United Way. I’m inspired about the work to be done, and I’m just so glad to be part of this United Way.”

In the online annual meeting, outgoing Board Chair Bill Brillant of Wayfair also discussed response to the pandemic, saying: “The COVID-19 Fund our United Way quickly set up has already distributed $160,000 to local programs that are getting people: food – one of the biggest needs we’ve seen, emergency help to prevent homelessness and pay for basic needs, and outreach to especially vulnerable people. I’m proud of what United Way is doing and proud of the excellent work being done by our partner agencies and others to get people the help they need during this pandemic.”

Brillant also reported on United Way’s 2019 achievements, including: helping over 16,000 local people through 37 partner agencies, bringing over $700,000 in earned income and child care tax credits to local people through the CA$H Coalition, special contributions to help homeless shelter residents secure more stable housing and to re-open a program helping homeless youth, distributing 111,470 diapers to parents struggling to pay for them, raising over $1.7 million in the annual campaign, and leveraging the efforts of thousands of volunteers at United Way and partner agencies.

More information is in United Way’s Annual Report, available online at

Other officers elected at the annual meeting were Pam Gerbi, a retired early educator of Brunswick, elected as first vice chair; Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry elected as second vice chair; and Sean Martin, vice president of Bath Savings Trust Company, re-elected as treasurer.

In presenting the treasurer’s report, Martin summarized the independent audit, and said: “I can attest that United Way of Mid Coast Maine takes very seriously its role as steward of donor contributions. The organization follows strict standards of financial accountability and transparency.”

Brillant thanked two United Way Board members whose final terms have ended: Rick Bohan of LL Bean, former campaign chair, and Joel Wegner of Five County Credit Union, former board chair.

United Way of Mid Coast Maine’s mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities. In partnership with thousands of donors, United Way works to improve education, financial stability, and health for people in Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties, Brunswick and Harpswell.