How?

The goal is to provide a new book to every first grader in the state, every month of the school year by the year 2025.

How are we going to get there?

With a logical approach. With lots of deep breaths. And, hopefully, with your help.

The first step is to get this program underway in the fall of 2019. To do that, our plan is to enlist six towns in Maine for a “pilot program” for Dirigo Reads. Those towns are both large and small, rural and not-so-urban, and each of them will be in a different county. We will announce the towns and schools involved when we officially announce Dirigo Reads later this Summer!

The next step is to find partners. We have been fortunate to find some very community-minded businesses and organizations in the early days of Dirigo Reads who quickly saw the importance of the goals, and the value of investing in our children.

Machias Savings Bank is our first Dirigo Star Founding Partner. That means that Machias Savings Bank has made a significant investment in our kids, allowing as many children as possible to receive a new book to keep for every month of the school year. Machias Savings Bank understands the value of investing in our people and communities, and we thank them for their early support of Dirigo Reads.

Cross Insurance heard about the mission of Dirigo Reads, heard about our goals, and it didn’t take long for them to come back and say yes. Cross Insurance is a family-owned business headquartered in Bangor but serving a much larger geographic area than that. You can watch Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins games with a little more pride knowing that Cross Insurance works with all of them. And now they are partnering with Dirigo Reads as well. Thank you, Cross Insurance.

Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications in Bangor is the reason you are seeing this website, the logo on this website, and some printed materials that are being circulated. They also have provided invaluable insight and helped with connections. Dirigo Reads thanks Sutherland Weston for the support not just for this organization, but for the community at large.

United Way of Eastern Maine is also supporting Dirigo Reads in a big way, by providing strategy help and insight, as well as being our fiscal partner. The goal of Dirigo Reads is lofty, so we really want to stay focused on the books, not so much the book-keeping. United Way of Eastern Maine is helping us with that and so much more. The mission of Dirigo Reads fits well with the mission of the United Way of Eastern Maine, and Dirigo Reads is thrilled to have their support.

As the first year gets underway, plans will be put in motion for year two. More towns and schools, more partners, more books for first graders, and understanding of the benefits of childhood literacy. How many towns will we see on board for year two? We don’t know yet. The road map is taking us from 2019 to 2025. Exactly which roads we take are not determined yet, but we will analyze the first year and continue seeking partners for the program to ensure that year two is met with growth and stability for the program.

If you are a business owner, business employee, or someone who knows someone at a business you think might want to help in these efforts, please reach out to us. Dirigo Reads is starting from scratch, and the businesses who help this effort in its earliest days will see the greatest rewards.

For information about partnering with Dirigo Reads, questions, or media opportunities, please contact Karen Cashman at karen@DirigoReads.com or Dan Cashman at dan@DirigoReads.com.