KeyBank Foundation committed to donating $450,000 payable over three years to Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a national leader in rural business development, to support small business growth and job creation as a path to financial wellness in Maine’s rural counties. The grant, approved as part of Key’s $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan, will provide new support for CEI’s small business lending and advisory services, and innovative partnerships with local organizations, to help grow economic opportunity and quality jobs in rural Maine.

How CEI Boosts Business

With KeyBank’s investment of $150,000 per year for three years, CEI expects to provide lending and business advisory services to 1,400 aspiring and current small business owners and help create and retain 300 jobs in the region in the next three years.

“We are grateful for KeyBank’s recognition of the challenges and opportunities that Maine’s rural regions face as they work to grow more – and better-quality – jobs and environmentally sustainable enterprises,” said Betsy Biemann, CEI’s CEO. “We are here to help business owners access the financial resources and business advice that they need to be a successful part of their local economy.”

In addition, CEI will pilot new work with local anchor institutions and partners to grow entrepreneurship as a means to generate income and savings, particularly for individuals with low incomes in the area.

KeyBank Emphasizes Job Creation

“Support to small business development and entrepreneurship is increasingly recognized as an effective strategy for growing community and increasing family assets and stability,” said KeyBank’s Maine Market President and Regional Executive Sterling Kozlowski. “In rural counties, where 88% of businesses have four or fewer employees, the continued growth of existing and new enterprises is essential to job creation and driving economic vitality in the region, and KeyBank is proud to support CEI’s transformational efforts.”

Committed to Communities

In March 2016, KeyBank demonstrated its deep commitment to helping communities thrive with the release of its National Community Benefits Plan. The plan marks KeyBank’s $16.5 billion commitment to community development and investment across its 15-state footprint over the next five years in four main areas: mortgage, small business lending, community development lending & investment (CDLI), and philanthropy. The goal of the National Community Benefits Plan is to help drive transformative change across all the communities KeyBank serves. The $450,000 commitment to CEI is the second major charitable gift made this year in the state of Maine; in August, KeyBank Foundation committed $300,000 to Preble Street in Portland, Maine to help eliminate homelessness.

KeyBank has 50 branches serving individuals, families and businesses throughout Maine, including 15 branches in the rural counties of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot and Aroostook.

Learn more about Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

More information about Key's National Community Benefits Plan