LEWISTON — Community Concepts, a nonprofit organization providing support services to residents in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties, has received a donation from Ted West, Atlantic National Trust founder, to launch “Pay It Forward,” an innovative, privately-funded emergency grant program for those with acute needs that would otherwise go unmet.

Most of Community Concepts’ programs are intended to meet specific needs, such as emergency heating fuel and heating system repairs under CHIP and LIHEAP, as well as transportation to medical appointments and early education for children under age 5 through Head Start Early Learning Centers.

Through Pay It Forward, Community Concepts will have the flexibility to give emergency assistance to qualifying clients for needs that fall outside the scope of established programs, from unexpected auto repairs to purchases of work-required clothing to missed housing payments. Clients will not be required to pay back the funds; instead, recipients will agree to “pay it forward” through volunteerism so that the cycle of giving continues.

“Even something as small as a flat tire can have disastrous consequences for someone on the brink of poverty,” said Community Concepts CEO Shawn Yardley. “Thanks to Ted West, our agency will have the flexibility to help our most vulnerable clients in a way that says, ‘We believe in you and your ability to change for yourself.’”

Pay It Forward will be available for Community Concepts clients beginning in early 2018.

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