New organization aims to support its town

Posted Oct. 28, 2011, at 5:59 p.m.

JACKSON, Maine — A new nonprofit organization, Jackson Neighbors, has been formed in Jackson to organize and support local charitable projects and community events. Jackson Neighbors is incorporated as a Maine public benefit corporation.

The organization took root last summer when Selectman Debbie Ludden convened a meeting of residents to discuss ways to revitalize the town-owned Jackson Community Center. From this original focus on the Community Center, residents identified a much broader range of projects needed to support the community. Jackson Neighbors is the result — a nonprofit organization to plan and facilitate a wide range of these ideas to revitalize Jackson as a center of rural life.

The organization’s stated purposes include assisting with fundraising for public services such as the Community Center, library and Jackson Fire Department; sponsoring cultural, social and healthy recreational activities that benefit the community; and supporting local and sustainable economic development in keeping with Jackson’s rural traditions and character. Jackson Neighbors also plans to help the town make the transition to a sustainable future by promoting access to local, nutritious food; promoting access to affordable, safe housing and shelter; and promoting energy conservation and local forms of healthy, safe energy production.

The group held its first fundraiser on Aug. 20, sponsoring the Barefoot Ball. The event featured live performances by Steel Toe Booty and The Rugged, two bands with Jackson roots, and raised nearly $1,000 from donations and concession sales.

The next Jackson Neighbors sponsored event is a Resume Building workshop led by Jenny Tibbitts 3-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Jackson Town Library. It is free to attend. The workshop will provide assistance in resume writing, editing or fine-tuning.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, Jackson Neighbors will host Medicare Plan D Work Session at the Jackson Town Library with representatives from Senior Spectrum.

Other planned events include a winter variety show, a community breakfast to be held before the annual Jackson Town Meeting, assistance to seniors in navigating Medicare, and a food festival next fall featuring offerings from local farms and food producers.

Jenny Tibbitts, vice chairwoman of Jackson Neighbors and organizer of the Barefoot Ball, describes the group’s plans with enthusiasm, “Jackson Neighbors really is a platform for neighbors helping neighbors. We are an inclusive, transparent organization that wants to make Jackson an even better place to live. Our activities will benefit everyone in our town. Plus, we’ll throw in a healthy dose of imagination, creativity and fun.”

The incorporators of Jackson Neighbors are in the process of writing bylaws and applying for federal 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. Jackson Neighbors now is allowed to accept donations; federal 501(c)(3) status will enable donations to the group to be tax-exempt. The organization plans to make the transition to a membership form of governance and to elect a community board of directors within the next few months. For more information about Jackson Neighbors or coming events, visit http://www.jacksonneighbors.org.

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