Nine Wicket Foundation
History

 

The Nine-Wicket Foundation was started in 1986 by longtime Yarmouth resident Gertrude McCue, shortly after the death of her husband, Allen. Mrs. McCue was interested in starting a small foundation to support social and environmental causes in Maine, especially Cumberland County.

Since 1986, the Nine-Wicket Foundation has made grants totaling around $40,000 annually, usually in amounts ranging from $3000 to $6000. The grants have been focused mainly on agencies providing social services in Cumberland County, and some environmental groups. Examples of recent recipients include the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Program, Maine Audubon, Friends of Casco Bay, and Good Shepherd Food Bank. Grants are awarded annually in June, and the application deadline is April 1.

Some may wonder how the foundation directors came up with such an unusual name. That’s a very good question, and here’s the answer. Since 1968, Mr. and Mrs. McCue had been the owners of the Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor, on Mount Desert Island. Mr. McCue, in the years shortly before he died in 1985, became increasingly enamored of croquet, a game he had played since his earliest years in Berwick, Maine. He worked tirelessly to establish and nurture a croquet tournament at the Claremont, which he named the Claremont Croquet Classic. The tournament is still played at the hotel every year during the first weekend in August. It should be pointed out that nine-wicket croquet is distinct from the English six-wicket version, and is derived from the popular game that was played by many people in small town Maine, especially in the early and mid-1900s. The name of the foundation was thus the family’s way to remember and honor Mr. McCue.