$604K raised for local business fund

MOUNT DESERT — The Summer Residents Association (SRA) has exceeded its goal of raising $500,000 to help Mount Desert businesses survive the loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

As of Wednesdaydonations totaled $604,806. 

The SRA received grant applications from 60 retail, restaurant or tourism-driven businesses in Mount Desert by the May 8 deadline. 

We plan to start evaluating applications this Friday and to make grants before the end of May,” SRA board member John Boynton said Tuesday. 

We’ve been amazed by the outpouring of support. As one of our most generous supporters told me, ‘There is no community without unity,’ and we’ve had a good showing from both summer and year-round residents.  

“It feels like we’re going to be able to make a difference,” Boynton said. “We won’t cure the problem, but we’ll soften its blow. 

Seventy-one individuals, couples and businesses have contributed to the SRA’s COVID-19 business relief fund so far. 

Two donors gave $100,000 eachChris and Binkie Orthwein and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew A. Davis / The Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund. Sally and Leonard Leo contributed $75,000. 

The SRA began the fundraising effort with a donation of $50,000. That amount was matched by “the four Rosengarten sisters.” 

Gifts of $25,000 each were made by Christine and Pasco Alfaro, Julia Merck and Hans Utsch, and members of the David Rockefeller family. 

There have been seven donations of $10,000 each, and 10 donors have each given up to $5,000. Forty-six others have given $1,000 or less. 

The SRA is still welcoming donations. Information about the Mount Desert business relief fund is at 

Donations to the fund are not tax deductible because the SRA is a 501(c)4 organization. “However, the IRS may make an exception due to the COVID-19 crisis,” the SRA says on its website. 

The website also informs donors that their generosity “will be tastefully recognized on a sign board displayed at the center of Main Street in Northeast Harbor.” 

Boynton said that more than 15 applications for grants were received from businesses in Bar Harbor and Southwest Harbor, so they did not qualify for SRA funding. But he said those applications suggest “the opportunity for summer residents in those communities to mount similar efforts.” 

“We’re happy to share what we’ve learned during this process with our neighboring communities,” he said. 


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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