Interest in exploring Maine’s wild islands, and participating in their care, is at an all-time high. As the number of people seeking outdoor adventures grows, particularly since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, so too has the allure of the beauty and solitude of the islands. MITA welcomes this interest with open arms. Everyone deserves to experience these special places and their restorative powers, including those who are not experienced boaters. And as demonstrated over more than 30 years, island explorers become island stewards.
To that end, MITA’s Board of Trustees has developed a five-year strategic plan, Full Speed Ahead (2020-2025), that reflects the organization’s readiness for a new phase of growth and maturity. To advance MITA’s mission, the overarching goal outlined in the plan is to facilitate greater access to the Trail.
Full Speed Ahead identifies several key strategies for connecting new audiences to the Trail:
- Facilitating more volunteerism
- Providing more education around boating skills and resources
- Speaking up for the islands and telling the story of the Trail
- Addressing diversity and equity issues around access to the Trail
Together, these initiatives will provide a roadmap for engaging a new generation of Trail explorers and supporters.
In early 2020, MITA created and hired two new full-time positions in order to execute this ambitious plan: a third Stewardship Manager, Christina Hassett, to facilitate island outings for groups of volunteers; and a Business Engagement Manager, Jordi St. John, to recruit new members, supporters and volunteers through the business community.
With these new hires, MITA’s staff has grown to ten. Consequently, MITA’s annual budget is projected to increase by 36% over five years. Increases in overall revenue will depend on continued growth in all categories of giving, but especially from Trailblazers — supporters who contribute $1,000+ annually. Specifically, we anticipate that MITA must, by 2024: 1) grow its group of annual Trailblazers by 40, while 2) also increasing the average size of their gifts.
To inspire sustained growth in Trailblazer-level giving and fund Full Speed Ahead, MITA’s Board of Trustees and the Arcadia Charitable Trust have created a $100,000 pool of new, restricted funds to match increases in giving of $500 or more.
You can find more details about these matching funds here.
I hope you will consider helping MITA leverage the Trailblazer Challenge matching funds by increasing your annual giving to MITA by at least $500. With your support, in the coming years MITA will help create first-time island adventures for thousands of people, while also recruiting the next generation of Trail stewards and MITA supporters.
Thank you for your commitment to the Maine Island Trail and the people who love it.
Doug Welch, Executive Director