Donor Focus May: Roger Berle

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Roger Berle has been a major donor to PMC for over ten years. But his passion for supporting his community goes back to his parents. His mother was a quiet conservationist and his father raised money for MIT, where he was a student and professor. Roger went to college with an interest in working in the foreign service. His paternal grandparents came from Norway. Roger’s family had spent their summers on Cliff Island since he was a child and he fell in love with the place, and eventually made it his home.

After graduating college with a major in government, Roger went into sales for three years, then worked as a sales manager in a boat yard. Eventually he went to Boston University for his MBA, but was not interested in a desk job. He was a stern man on a lobster boat and then worked in construction.

In the early 1970’s, he was on the City of Portland Charter Review Commission and became interested in Portland City government, bringing the City Manager out to the island to show him the needs of a small, year-round island community, which also happened to be the most remote neighborhood of the City. Roger joined in an Outward Bound experience where he further developed his community leadership skills. He first got involved with philanthropy when he joined the Board of Waynflete.

Roger started his own construction company called Finestkind Excavators, but when the business grew rapidly, it became Finestkind Builders EPD Inc. He made it a regular practice to provide his employees his own baked goods. His interest in culinary arts continues today as the host of PMC’s Community Kitchens.

He has expanded his community activism and philanthropy in the land conservation universe both locally and in state-wide organizations, as well as community media and free speech in his support of PMC. He also supports PMC by volunteering on productions and providing instruction to Board members on fundraising. He is now working on a book with Lesley MacVane about the year round community on Cliff Island called Off Season, Off Shore.

Roger offered this direct comment: "I enthusiastically love and highly value the many ways the average person can benefit from community television.  It truly brings power to the people at street level and offers unlimited opportunity for getting on the air through learning and developing new-found skills and self-confidence. Portland Media Center has dramatically grown its capacity to not only make so much happen right here on Congress Street but to then also connect us directly to the world."

Thank you Roger, for all that you do.