A Message from Board President Stephanie Clement

We had another wonderful year at Island Connections in 2023. Carissa Tinker took over the helm as our Executive Director, bringing her heart and enthusiasm for our mission to the forefront. We launched the Giving Circle, a society of donors who pledged to give at the $1,000 level for three years. Our events, such as the Mary Parker Race and Dine-Around Day, continued upward growth after COVID, and we had a strong end-of-year campaign with many generous donors contributing to our financial stability.

Most importantly, our volunteers continued to provide outstanding service to our Neighbors in the Mount Desert Island region. We welcomed David Cohen, President and CEO of the Bar Harbor Savings and Loan, to the Board of Directors after Rhonda Sawyer, Vice President of the Savings and Loan, termed out on the Board after nine years. Fortunately, we get to keep Rhonda as an active Volunteer Driver and as a member of the Volunteer Committee.

Volunteers are the core of our programs, and without them, we would not be able to accomplish our work. We need you more than ever as demand for our rides to medical appointments and for food delivery programs remains high. I am grateful to everyone in the Island Connections family for the roles that they play in the success of our organization!

We developed a new three-year strategic plan in 2022 that focuses on strengthening our volunteer base, bolstering our fundraising efforts, analyzing our services, developing our board and staff expertise, and updating our infrastructure and capacity to serve our Neighbors. We are excited to begin tackling these important goals and have already implemented a volunteer survey and developed the Giving Circle, a program designed to encourage sustainable funding for our organization.

I am grateful to all who have helped our programs grow through volunteer time and financial contributions. Your support has enabled Island Connections to provide critically needed transportation services for our region. There is nothing I love more than our motto of "Neighbors helping Neighbors." Together, we make our community a better place. Thank you for your support!

2023 Report from Executive Carissa Tinker

Reflecting on 2023 has filled me with immense gratitude for everything that our dedicated and kind volunteers do for our community. It has been an honor to step into this role as the Executive Director, and I am grateful to the Island Connections family for their warmth and support during my transition into this leadership position.

The need for our services remained high in 2023, coming in as our second busiest year on record, closely following 2022. Our focus continues to be providing rides to medical appointments and addressing food insecurity. Notably, for the second year running, these essential rides have exceeded the total from our third busiest year, 2019, which included various errands and appointments like the hairdresser, fitness, and trips to the library.

It was a record year for grocery shopping trips, with over a thousand rides to and from the grocery store. While we continued our food deliveries for Meals on Wheels and the Bar Harbor Food Pantry, our overall meal deliveries declined due to the discontinuation of the Food Access Program in the Spring of 2023.

We held two fundraising events in 2023: Dine-Around-Day in July, and the 6th Annual Mary Parker Memorial 5k in October. We also ran our 4th Match Campaign, which raised over $32,000. In 2023, a total of 76% of our funding came from individual donors, a leap from 67% in 2022. Each donor plays a critical role in ensuring that our community stays a safe place to live independently, regardless of disability or age.

We added 59 new Neighbors and 26 new Volunteer Drivers in 2023. A total of 108 volunteer drivers donated over 2,200 hours of their time and drove over 56,000 miles throughout the year. Our devoted volunteers are the driving force of Island Connections.

Island Connections' overall goal is to continue providing free transportation, delivering food to our neighbors, and being recognized in the community as an essential resource. It is through the big hearts of our core group of volunteer drivers and the generosity of our donors that we are able to do this good and much needed work. We are looking forward to another successful year!

*Please note: You may notice differences in some 2019 and 2020 figures compared to previous reports. This is due to revised reporting methodologies. Specifically, the inclusion of two types of rides under a single tag in past reports has been rectified for accuracy in this year's data.