Governor Mills Donates Remaining Inaugural Funds to Three Maine Nonprofits Supporting Maine Youth

April 19, 2023

Governor donates $10,500 each to the Mitchell Institute, Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, and Camp Susan Curtis

Governor Janet Mills announced today that she has donated surplus funding from her inauguration to three Maine nonprofit organizations that support the growth and success of Maine youth. Governor Mills donated $10,500 each to the Mitchell Institute, the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, and Camp Susan Curtis.

“From day one, the success and wellbeing of Maine’s kids have been at the heart of my administration. I’m proud to donate the remaining funds from my inauguration to outstanding organizations founded by three exemplary Maine leaders – Senator George Mitchell, Senator Olympia Snowe, and Governor Ken Curtis – all of which are dedicated to helping our youth thrive,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I hope these donations will allow the Mitchell Institute, the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, and Camp Susan Curtis to strengthen their great work to help kids across Maine.”

“We are deeply grateful to receive these funds from the Inauguration Committee and Governor Mills,” said former U.S. Senator George Mitchell. “This contribution will create lasting and direct benefits to hard-working high school graduates from across Maine who aspire to earn a college degree and contribute to the state's future workforce.”

“I am deeply honored that, with support from donors, Governor Mills and her Inaugural Committee have selected my Women’s Leadership Institute to join the Mitchell Institute and Camp Susan Curtis in receiving her remaining inaugural funds. The Governor’s extraordinary generosity will be instrumental in furthering the Institute’s mission to build the confidence and aspirations of Maine girls,” said former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. “Governor Mills’ relationship with my Institute goes back to her first year in office as the first female governor of our great state. In the fall of 2019, she attended our annual Fall Forum and addressed more than 500 Olympia’s Leaders participating in our program. As I said at the time, Janet’s many successes and firsts serve as a phenomenal example to our Olympia’s Leaders that, in our state, you can be whatever you want to be—and I remain profoundly grateful for her enduring support of the Institute’s efforts to show girls all across Maine that there are no limits to what women can achieve.”

“Our hope – almost 50 years ago – was to honor our daughter Susan's memory by helping kids in need. The kids who come to Camp Susan Curtis face a lot of struggle in their daily lives. But we believe every Maine child should get to just be a kid and have fun at summer camp, regardless of their background,” said former Governor Curtis. “All kids need encouraging adults who believe in them, the chance to be brave and try new things, and a place they feel they belong. This is what Governor Mills is making possible for kids in need through her donation to Camp Susan Curtis. She is showing kids that they matter, and that so much more is possible for them. We are deeply honored by Governor Mills' steadfast commitment to all Maine kids.”

The Mitchell Institute, founded by former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell, is guided by the fundamental belief that no Maine student with the qualifications and ambition to pursue a college education should be denied that opportunity due to limited financial resources. The Institute awards a scholarship to at least one graduating student from every public high school in Maine. Beyond the scholarship, the Mitchell Institute also provides scholarship recipients, known as Mitchell Scholars, with professional and personal development opportunities and support. Since its inception in 1995, the Mitchell Institute has unlocked the full potential of over 3,400 Maine high school graduates statewide.

The Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, founded by former U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, strives to raise the confidence and aspirations of high school girls by helping them develop the skills required to be leaders in their lives, families, careers, and communities. The Institute offers a unique program focused on helping participants develop their values, voice, and vision. Since launching in 2015, participation has grown from 49 high school girls – known as “Olympia’s Leaders” – to 555 participants across all 16 counties. Approximately 600 participants have graduated from the three-year program since its inception.

Camp Susan Curtis, founded nearly 50 years ago by former Governor Ken Curtis, offers Maine children facing economic hardship a caring, serene setting to build confidence and make meaningful connections while immersed in the outdoors. Our two-week overnight camp curriculum is designed to foster curiosity in campers, giving them opportunities to try new activities and challenging them to explore the world around them in a supportive environment where they can make mistakes and recover. Our compassionate staff are trained to support children’s mental, emotional, and social health. Since its founding nearly 50 years ago, Camp Susan Curtis has impacted the lives of more than 18,000 children, working towards a greater vision that all Maine children feel valued and have the opportunity to thrive.

Governor Mills has prioritized the prosperity and wellbeing of Maine children, investing historic funding into Maine schools, making higher education more accessible, and providing new educational opportunities so that all Maine kids have a fair shot at success.

In 2021, the Governor signed a biennial budget that fully funded the State’s share of education for the first time in history. Through other investments, the Governor also is expanding child care, increasing pay for early educators, and expanding the availability of Pre-K across the state so that children have a safe place to learn and grow.

The Governor has also delivered free community college – an initiative recently celebrated by First Lady Jill Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona – which has led to record enrollment at the Maine Community College System. Alongside her redesign of the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit, which provides $25,000 in student loan debt relief, Governor Mills has made the dream of higher education attainable for Maine people.

Additionally, last year the Governor launched the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative to provide 1,000 Maine students from low income families with hands-on, experiential outdoor learning experiences. The initiative provided students with experiences designed to increase self-confidence and develop teamwork and leadership skills. Through the Maine Career Exploration initiative of her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, Maine is connecting 6,000 young people with paid work experiences with employers across the state.

Shortly after taking office, the Governor also reinvigorated the Maine Children’s Cabinet, bringing together state agencies to improve and promote the healthy development of children and youth in Maine.