Courtesy Kane Family

Marion Kane, Former Maine Community Foundation President, Dies at 67

Courtesy Kane Family
Marion Kane

FALMOUTH — Marion Meschter Kane, a woman who had a special gift for taking on fledgling organizations, nurturing, defending and, when necessary, prodding them until they were able to soar, died Aug. 20.

Along with her husband, Dan, Marion Kane helped College of the Atlantic navigate through the difficult early years. She later helped start the Maine Community Foundation, an organization that offers grants and scholarships to nonprofits throughout Maine. As its president from 1990 to 2000, Marion raised the MCF endowment from $3 million to $85 million and the foundation continues today as a vital funding resource for a variety of nonprofit undertakings. After leaving MCF, she became the first executive director of the private Barr Foundation in Boston, where she also helped to nurture and develop that organization.

Born Marion Meschter in 1945, she graduated from Germantown Friends School and took her love of literature and talent for writing to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. During her senior year at Wellesley she met Daniel Kane, a young Harvard Law student, who pursued her ardently the year following her graduation. The couple married Aug. 26, 1967, moving to New York City where Dan entered his father’s patent law firm. It was not a good fit. Feeling stifled by the family business and overwhelmed by the frenetic bustle of Manhattan, Dan and Marion headed to San Francisco, where Dan worked as a patent lawyer and Marion got a job writing for Sierra Club magazine.

During that time, their two sons, Christopher and Daniel, were born.

In the early 1970s a friend of Dan’s, Sam Eliot, started extolling this new College of the Atlantic that was being established on an island off the Maine coast. Not only would this place be new in the physical sense it would be new philosophically, with a goal of both educating its students and also challenging them to find ways for humankind to live in harmony with the natural environment.

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