Governor John E. Baldacci today announced one of the largest and most significant donations to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife from a private individual. The $500,000 gift, from a woman who prefers to be identified simply as "a proud citizen of Maine", will greatly impact the Department's mission.
"I am pleased to learn of this most generous and charitable gift," stated Governor Baldacci. "This citizen, who takes great pride in Maine's quality of life, recognizes the connection between the treasures of our natural resources and work of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in protecting and preserving these resources."
The idea for the benefactor's donation stems from reading a column written by Representative Matt Dunlap in the Northwoods Sporting Journal on the endemic shortage of funds plaguing the agency. As House Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Representative Matt Dunlap is well aware of the need to secure funding so that the valuable work of the agency is maximized. Upon reading the column, the benefactor contacted Representative Dunlap. She became determined to lead by example by making a donation to the Department.
Her support of the Department's mission, the Warden Service, our fisheries program, and the emphasis on good landowner relations were relayed as part of the decision for making the contribution. The benefactor described herself as a person at home in the woods, who hunts and enjoys boating. She wants the Department to continue to provide search and rescue efforts but realizes that the funds may not always be there.
As far as her wish in distributing the money, the benefactor indicated that $300,000 ought to be placed in the escrow account of the lifetime licenses so that the contribution continues to provide additional funds. The remaining $200,000 ought to go where the Department feels is the greatest need. "I wish to provide the Department with some breathing room," she said. When asked what she would like to see as a result of her contribution, she hoped that others would do likewise. "The future is now," she echoed.
Commissioner Martin was particularly pleased with the donation and said, "The money could not have come at a better time. We were in need of some operation and maintenance funds for our newly upgraded hatcheries and the $200,000 will be placed in a dedicated account towards that end. I'm grateful and thankful for the generosity of this special lady and promise to see to it that the funds are well utilized. I also thank Representative Dunlap for helping to make this possible."