At our Full Steam Ahead Virtual Gala on October 15 at 7pm, Engine will be seeking donations for our inaugural Founder’s Fund! The Founder’s Fund honors the tireless work of our outgoing Founding Director, Tammy Ackerman, who, after 11 years, is moving on to a new adventure this fall.

In Year One, this discretionary fund will be used to support Engine’s IGNITE Makers Incubator, a project near-and-dear to our Founding Director’s heart. Tammy secured partnerships and grant funding to launch the incubator, and Engine is dedicated to shepherding it to completion! IGNITE is intended to support a cohort of six maker-entrepreneurs annually to take their idea from concept to scale, launching new small businesses. 

Funds will be used to finish the design of the space for a 2021 opening. We feel that, given current economic conditions, Engine’s support of entrepreneurs and makers is essential to our community. IGNITE will help create sustainable, creative, local businesses that can survive future challenges, all while fostering the arts through design thinking and innovative collaboration. We encourage you to read more about this exciting project, IGNITE, here. 

Our goal is to raise $20,000 to match secured grants, and provide programmatic support to IGNITE: $9,000 of the money raised will complete the match on our in-hand $45,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant (design of the Engine/IGNITE space in the Marble Block); $6000 will secure UMaine entrepreneurial expertise for the program; and $5000 will provide ten months support for a studio space for income-qualifying makers.

We, the Board, are incredibly excited about this project, and Engine’s leadership in the creative economy via IGNITE is more critical than ever. We hope you will consider donating to the Founder’s Fund: IGNITE. 

You can register for the Gala here:, where you can make a donation in advance OR wait for the LIVE event to make your donation during an exciting fundraising session that caps off an evening of great performances and special guests.

Sincerely, Karin Gregory, Engine Board President
and the Engine Board: Christy Bergland, Peter Montano, Dr. Stephanie Edwards, G. Merrick McCabe, and Stephen Burt

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