In 2005, five local residents had a shared vision of establishing a nonprofit focused on conservation and preservation of the Eastman Lake watershed and surroundingtwildlife habitat. To that end, they formed the first Board of Trustees of the Eastman Charitable Foundation (ECF). In April, 2006, ECF President Maynard Goldman, along with Trustees George Sutherland, Bob Peterson, Bill Zimmerman, and Merle Shotanis, were notified by the IRS that the Foundation had received its 501c3 nonprofit status. Since that time, the all-volunteer Board of ECF has been actively serving the towns of Grantham, Enfield, and Springfield — including the Eastman community.
Not long after receiving nonprofit status, the Foundation Trustees began fund-raising to assist the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust to permanently conserve land in Springfield to protect an important water source. Other early grants included the purchase of a weather station for the Grantham Village School and support for the publication of a shoreline protection pamphlet to educate residents living on the Crystal Lake and Mascoma Lake Watersheds.
In 2013, the Foundation Trustees initiated a scholarship program for local college-bound high school students planning to study sustainability, environmental education or a related field. One scholarship was awarded that year. As of 2021, ECF offers up to three scholarships each year.
In 2014, Maynard Goldman retired as Board President. Trustees elected Shawn Phelps, who joined the Board in 2012, as Board President. She still serves in that capacity. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees grew from 5 to 9 in 2015. Increasing the Board size made it possible for the Foundation to enhance its ability to have a greater impact within the region served. To date, ECF has given nearly $130,000 in local grants and scholarships. The Trustees are grateful to all the generous donors who continue to support the mission of promoting environmental stewardship, education, and green recreation.