property to be known as the Bert G. and Coral B. Clifford Campus of the Ecology Learning Center

Unity charter school awarded $100,000 matching grant

Mon, 07/20/2020 - 10:15am

Story Location:
Ecology Learning Center
Unity  Maine
United States

UNITY — “The building is amazing! It's huge!” said high school student Azure Walauski at an open house for the Ecology Learning Center charter school at 230 Main Street in Unity. 

Unity Foundation recently approved a $100,000 matching grant to support the Ecology Learning Center’s purchase of the 6000-square foot building. The Center, Maine’s newest public charter school, launched a capital campaign to raise the matching $100,000 by August 15. 

“We’re thrilled with the Unity Foundation’s generous support of our school,” said Robin Chernow, board president of the Ecology Learning Center, in a news release. “This summer is a critical time for our capital campaign as we look forward to opening in September. The building positions our students and staff to embrace multidisciplinary learning both indoors – safely spread apart – and out in the local community.”

Since June, the school has reached more than 125 donors, and raised more than $48,000. On July 28 the school will host an open house and silent auction. Unity Foundation will match every dollar donated, according to the release.

“We are grateful and humbled by such generous support – from Unity Foundation and the community at large,” said Leza Packard, founding principal of the school.

The Ecology Learning Center opens September 1 for 48 students in grades 9 and 10. 

“The Foundation’s support for the Ecology Learning Center exemplifies our founders’ – Bert and Coral Clifford – vision for helping youth and the community,” said Larry Sterrs, CEO of Unity Foundation.

As part of the grant award, the property will be known as the Bert G. and Coral B. Clifford Campus of the Ecology Learning Center.  In addition to providing the $100,000 matching grant, Unity Foundation will assist the school with organizational development such as strategic planning; board governance and growth; and fundraising. 

Interested families are encouraged to visit the school’s website and enroll immediately, as there are only a few spots available. The final student open house is scheduled for August 4, 4:30 p.m. 

For more information, go to, or contact Leza Packard at


Ecology Learning Center’s mission is to deeply root students in Maine’s ecological & cultural landscapes, foster authentic real-world learning through mentorship & craft, and cultivate compassionate and resilient leaders prepared to engage in the challenges of today & tomorrow.

Unity Foundation’s mission is to support mission-driven nonprofits in Maine through capacity-building initiatives, organizational assessment, programmatic grantmaking and nonprofit management education. Our goal is to promote strong, sustainable nonprofits that reliably serve Maine communities.