Portland Community Squash (PCS) was established in 2013 as a volunteer organization with the goal of pairing squash with academics for an enriching after-school experience for students in the Portland area.
Since then, PCS’s mission has shifted toward serving the whole family by building an accessible community center that holistically supports and unites its members. A community with enough social and human capital to overcome ever-changing societal challenges and prosper—that’s the vision of PCS.
The organization operates as a fully functional squash facility with four squash courts and three classrooms serving more than 500 individual community members. However, squash is only part of the equation. The organization is better known for its efforts to give back to the community through its guided programs for underserved students and families in the Portland area.
The most well-known program at PCS is Rally Portland, an after-school youth development program that provides free transportation for students from school to the PCS facility for squash instruction and wellness and enrichment activities (drafting emails, networking, cooking, critical conversations, and, of course, homework time). On the weekends, students travel to squash tournaments, community service outings, and college visits. PCS also offers school-year and summer programming for younger students and guided programs for families new to the community.
All PCS programs operate on a sliding-scale payment plan. This means that students’ families pay only what they can afford. No student or family is turned away due to an inability to pay. PCS’s strong track record of financial aid is supported in part by the Corporate Partner Program. Mascoma Bank serves as a Bronze-Level Corporate Partner, providing annual restricted support for financial aid at PCS. This helps allow the sliding-scale payment plan to be feasible.
Lucas Bruns, Development Director at PCS, says that one reason their system works is because of the small staff. “With only eight employees, we are able to serve as many students and families as a typical YMCA. This means we all chip in, so in addition to fundraising, I love taking a couple of van driving shifts per week, opening and closing the facility, coaching squash, and helping out with enrichment programs to get the kids comfortable using the facility and engaging with the community on their own.”
Lucas said that PCS is looking to expand its Portland facility in the near future by doubling the squash capacity and building out a community commons and cafe/kitchen to serve prepared meals.
Mascoma Bank wishes PCS luck on its new expansion project and is proud support PCS’s mission of building a strong community for everyone in Maine.