Maine CITE program supports adaptive technology loan fund

Thanks to mPower Loan Fund for sharing this information with the Maine DOE for publication.

The mPower Loan Fund, which provides loans for adaptive equipment with the support of the Maine Department of Education’s Maine CITE program, announced Monday that two of their representatives participated in the RESNA Catalyst Project meeting in Washington, D.C., last week. Maine CITE was the driving force behind the mPower board obtaining $750,000 in additional federal funds five years ago.

Kathy Adams and James Marc-Aurele co-presented “Moving from Good to Great: Financial Loan Program Evolutions” as part of a panel presentation on Alternative Financing Programs. The focal point of the presentation was that loan programs need unique and varied strategies to continue growing and evolving in an ever-changing economic and political landscape. Each member of the panel presented on his or her state loan activities and gave a perspective on how each was able to move forward and succeed.

The Maine CITE program is designed to help make assistive and universally designed technology more available to Maine children, adults and seniors who need them. Maine CITE is committed to helping Maine citizens with disabilities increase access to and acquisition of assistive technology when needed to participate in education, community living, employment and information technology/telecommunications.

“We have had a very successful collaboration between Maine CITE and mPower,” said Adams. “We have been able to expand the reach of the program in what we refer to as the AFP (Alternate Financing Program) portion of the mPower program.”

The mPower Loan Fund provides Maine citizens and businesses with affordable loans to create access or buy equipment to achieve independence, life enrichment and community participation. After the initial launch, Maine voters passed two bond issues to fund the program. This makes mPower the only citizen-funded loan program in the country. In the past 25 years, more than $23 million has been loaned to individuals and businesses across Maine. As loans are repaid, money is made available for additional mPower loans, creating an ongoing resource for Mainers with disability-related needs.

“We had the opportunity to share the history and successes of mPower, as well as some of our recent marketing efforts,” said Marc-Aurele. “mPower was the first program of its kind in the country when it was launched in 1989. It serves as a national model for alternative financing programs. We were excited to have the opportunity to present our strategies so that others could consider procedures and tactics that they might be able to incorporate into their own programs.”

For additional information about the mPower Loan Fund or Maine CITE, go to www.mpowerloans.org and www.mainecite.org.

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