New Ventures Maine Celebrates 40 years

New Ventures Maine is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a gala event on Thursday, November 14, 2019, at the University of New England’s Innovation Hall, 772 Stevens Avenue in Portland. The event will start at 5:30 p.m. with a brief program at 6:30 and feature music by VIVA & The Reinforcements. Individuals can register online at or by calling 207 621-3431.

"Cheers to 40 years!"

Begun in 1978 as a pilot Displaced Homemakers Program through state legislation and operating for many years as the Maine Centers for Women, Work, and Community, New Ventures Maine has evolved and expanded over four decades to provide free on-site and online career, business, and financial education classes and individual coaching in every Maine County. Over this time, around 45,000 individuals in work/life transition have gained skills and taken steps towards economic security through securing good-paying jobs with benefits, starting and completing college, launching and growing small businesses, managing their money and building assets, and becoming community leaders. Profiles of 40 successful graduates are posted on their website and will be highlighted at the Cheers to 40 Years! Event.

The brief program will include the unveiling of a new Changing Lives: New Ventures Maine at 40 video featuring program graduates and other key stakeholders and presentation of the 2019 Merle Nelson Women Making a Difference Award to Barbara Trafton. The Award is made biennially and recognizes an individual who has had a positive impact of the lives of Maine women and girls. Trafton, a co-sponsor of Displaced Homemakers legislation with Nelson in 1977, will be recognized for her work protecting the Maine environment and as a role model for women engaged in their communities and public office. The award will be presented by State Senator Eloise Vitelli and Merle Nelson. Past recipients include Merle Nelson, Ann Schonberger, Betsy Sweet, Mary Cathcart, Mary Herman, and Mary Allen Lindemann.

Sponsors of the event include Back Cove Financial, Coffee By Design, Norway Savings Bank, Hardypond Construction, and Anne Zill.

About New Ventures Maine

New Ventures Maine ( is a statewide community outreach and education program of the University of Maine at Augusta, University of Maine System. New Ventures Maine creates an empowering environment for Maine people to define and achieve their career, business, and financial goals.

Media Contact:

Gilda Nardone, Executive Director, (207) 621-3437.