About Us


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.

The MELMAC Education Foundation’s portfolio is currently valued at approximately $28 million, making it the largest non-college affiliated education foundation in Maine.

The MELMAC Education Foundation is committed to supporting high quality initiatives that serve the purpose of increasing educational opportunities for Maine people. The Foundation believes that Maine people and the State of Maine will thrive in the new economy by providing access to the appropriate education, skills and training at all levels.


In 2002, the MELMAC Education Foundation partnered with the Foundation Strategy Group (FSG). Together they initiated a comprehensive statewide Education Needs Assessment and Strategy with two phases. The objective was to identify a strategic focus that would create a lasting impact on the education of the people of Maine, affirmed by statewide data about educational needs and priorities.

Phase I examined the entire Maine educational landscape, considering a broad range of issues. FSG compiled a Study of Studies, reviewing and synthesizing data from over 25 studies on topics critical to Maine’s educational performance, including independent research, legislative recommendations, and conference presentations.

Phase II research was designed to gain an understanding about key Gap to College needs and identify points of leverage critical to closing the Gap to College for students in Maine. Two core strategies were selected covering specific needs affecting student aspirations for college, enrollment in college, and graduation from college.

Connect Aspirations to a Plan


  • Improve the ability of Maine students to better understand options for continuing education after high school graduation
  • Increase the college enrollment of Maine students
  • Target population: middle and high school students

For more about Connect Aspirations to a Plan, click here.

Supporting Early Success in College


  • Improve the successful transition to college of Maine students (and those attending Maine colleges), particularly in the first year
  • Increase retention rate of Maine college students and the graduation rates at Maine colleges
  • Target population: Students under 25 years old, particularly first year and first generation

For more about Support Early Success in College, click here.


Click here for more information about MELMAC’s Board of Directors and staff.


During 2002, MELMAC Education Foundation partnered with the Foundation Strategy Group of Boston in order to refine its strategic focus and craft an organizational and grantmaking strategy that would maximize the Foundation’s resources and mission. The two phase process (for more information see the Strategy section) produced five publications summarizing the Foundation’s findings. Each of these documents is available below.

Study of Studies (PDF)
A comprehensive catalog, review and synthesizing of twenty-five recent studies on educational needs specific to Maine, including independent research, legislative recommendations and presentations at major conferences. Includes select educational statistics comparing Maine to national and regional figures

Summary of Study of Studies (PowerPoint and PDF)
Highlights and key findings of the above mentioned Study of Studies

The Funding Landscape (PowerPoint and PDF)
An analysis of the funding landscape identifying foundation and federal resources currently directed toward educational priorities in Maine

Educational Needs Assessment and Strategy (MS Word and PDF)
Narrative summary of the state of the education landscape in Maine, an analysis of Maine’s greatest educational needs, and current foundation and federal funders. Concludes with a clearly defined strategy regarding how MELMAC Education Foundation can positively impact Maine students and adults in order to increase Maine’s overall educational attainment

Overview of Strategy Development (PowerPoint and PDF)
Highlights and key charts regarding MELMAC Education Foundation’s process toward a clearly defined strategic focus