Economic Empowerment

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Women in the community can access various types of support through the YWCA Mount Desert Island to achieve economic empowerment.

  • Safe and low-cost accommodations, which is often a lifesaver for a woman in transition
  • Sponsorship of events designed for women to market the handcrafts they have created
  • Help in funding educational opportunities for traditional and non-traditional students
  • Programming to develop money management skills

The Benni Fund

We have created “The Benni Fund” in memory of Benni McMullen, who served as our Executive Director for 39 years.  This fund will offer aid to single mothers, living in the areas we serve (Hancock County, Eastern Washington County, and Western Waldo County).  During her tenure at YWCA MDI, Benni was best known for her compassionate offer of “a leg up” to many, many women.  We think she would be pleased to know that gifts in her memory will make life better for women and their children during this difficult time.

Benni Fund Policy

Donations to the fund can be made here.

You can download the application here, please answer all of the questions and either send it to YWCA MDI, 36 Mt Desert St., Bar Harbor, ME  04609, or scan the completed application and email it to


The Ruth Hodgkins Scholarship was created as a resource for women pursuing a non-traditional course of study, offering financial assistance to women whose goals may not include a college degree.  Ruth Hodgkins Scholarship Application Form

Ruth was born in 1916 and moved to Bar Harbor in 1929.  Following graduation, she worked for Raytheon during the time the computer was developed for the Apollo Moon Landing.  In later life, Ruth worked with us at the YWCA as a secretary until her retirement.  A bequest from Ruth was created upon her death and became the Ruth Hodgkins Scholarship.  Some examples of how this financial assistance has been used include the following:

  • To learn a Trade
  • To take courses and gain skills in the medical field as an LPN or Medical Assistant
  • For Early Education training to start a childcare business
  • To pursue a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Courses on Grief Counseling – Death & Dying
  • To take courses in IT Training

Donations to the fund can be made here.

The Sarah B. Flynn Scholarship was created to provide leadership training for women and girls.  Sarah B. Flynn Scholarship Application Form

Following a successful 25-year career as a chemist, Sarah followed her heart and moved into the field of counseling, acquiring her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She established her therapy practice in Ellsworth, Maine where she played a vital role in the healing of hundreds of lives.  Sarah was involved in the activities of the YWCA since she was a teenager and eventually served on our Board of Directors for multiple terms between 1997 and 2016.

Some examples of how this financial assistance has been used include the following:

  • Courses on leadership training
  • Racial equity workshops to become a community leader working towards racial justice
  • Management skills training
  • Courses on minimizing gender bias in the workplace.

Donations to the fund can be made here.