"MELMAC's investments will continue to move the needle to ensure all Maine students have equal opportunity and support in their pursuit of post-secondary credentials."
Craig Larrabee, President and CEO, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates
The MELMAC Education Foundation was established January 1, 2001 as Maine's newest and largest foundation dedicated to advancing the cause of education for all Maine citizens. The Foundation was created as a result of the conversion of Maine Educational Loan Marketing Corporation (MELMAC) from a private non-profit secondary market for student loans into a for-profit entity on December 31, 2000. MELMAC's conversion was the sixth such conversion nationwide of a non-profit student loan agency converting to a for-profit company. The resulting for-profit company, MELMAC, Inc., was subsequently acquired by National Education Loan Network (NELNET) and the proceeds from the sale were used to form the non-profit MELMAC Education Foundation, as directed by IRS law.
Today, the MELMAC Education Foundation's portfolio is valued at approximately $40 million, making it the largest non-college affiliated education foundation in Maine. The MELMAC Education Foundation remains committed to supporting high quality initiatives that serve the purpose of increasing educational opportunities for Maine people. Put simply, MELMAC's vision is to prepare Maine's youth to be ready for and successful in college and career.
MELMAC Education Foundation's guiding principles, honed over 20 years of experience and learnings and tailored to the specific challenges and needs of today, are to prepare Maine's youth to succeed in career and post-secondary education through:
- Flexible, creative, and innovative grantmaking;
- Strategic partnerships and collaborative funding models that multiply MELMAC's impact;
- An organizational commitment to learning and to sharing those learnings broadly; and,
- An inclusive approach to grantmaking that serves all students but also recognizes the need for school partners to focus on underserved students.
While MELMAC's core vision has remained consistent, its strategy has evolved to recognize the changing landscape of college and career and the needs of the state. To work toward its vision, MELMAC's strategy is centered on three pillars:
- Boosting Readiness for College and Career that supports school partners (including Maine's Career and Technical Education schools) in their efforts to raise students' aspirations, explore post-secondary options, and prepare for career and/or post-secondary education after high school;
- Promoting Post-Secondary Success to improve students' ability to persist and complete post-secondary credentials of value that prepare them for satisfying and financially viable careers; and,
- Aligning Education and Employment Systems among secondary schools, post-secondary education providers, and businesses in order to increase the probability of students' post-secondary success.
MELMAC’s strategy is based on a multi-year strategic planning process which was informed by an assessment of Maine’s education needs and engagement with over 100 education stakeholders across the state.
A former reproductive health teacher and Assistant Director of Admissions at Westbrook College (now the University of New England) in Portland, Maine, Ault served as the Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Maine at Farmington for seventeen years.
During her tenure at UMF, she was elected to four terms in the Maine House of Representatives representing part of Kennebec County from 1988 through 1996. She served all eight years as a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, serving as its House Chair during her final term.
In September 1999, Ault became President of the non-profit Maine Educational Loan Marketing Corporation (MELMAC). In December 2000, MELMAC was converted from a non-profit student loan agency to a for-profit company and was subsequently acquired by National Education Loan Network (NELNET). The proceeds from the sale were, as directed by IRS law, used to form the non-profit MELMAC Education Foundation and Ault has served as Executive Director since its creation.
Board of Directors