LearningWorks is committed to strengthening the communities we serve by providing free community-based education programs for children, adults, and families throughout Southern Maine. Our primary goal is to support academic and personal success for our neighbors who lack resources and/or fall outside traditional educational structures. Our unique blend of academics, youth development, and social and emotional expertise makes it possible for us to transition our students from a place of struggle and hopelessness to a place of possibility and opportunity.

Our Mission

LearningWorks responds to educational needs in the community by providing tutoring, mentoring, and alternative education opportunities designed to ensure the success of learners whose needs are not met by traditional systems.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which every learner has the tools, resources, and confidence they need to realize their full potential.

Our Values

LearningWorks has focused on building a strong community since its founding. First, with our students, we build relationships, safety, and a sense of belonging as a core educational strategy. Second, with our team, we create a strong culture and deliver programs as a collective. Third, in our cities and towns, we work continually to ensure our programs meet the community’s evolving needs.

We believe that all of our staff and students should have what they need to succeed at work and in the classroom, to feel safe, and to belong. We understand that we strengthen ourselves and our community when we intentionally seek out, learn from, and celebrate differences in age, ancestry, citizenship, country of origin, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, language ability, marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status.

Everyone at LearningWorks is a leader. We take responsibility for our work, invest in the wellbeing of the entire organization, and commit to professionalism by showing kindness, compassion, grace, and trust in every task and conversation with our colleagues, partners, and students. We actively recruit new team members with exceptional talent and vision, and we are committed to modeling leadership and coaching others.

We understand that we are never done learning and always seek to improve ourselves, our work, and our programs. We are curious and open about new possibilities and actively explore them.

Our students exhibit perseverance in their quest to learn and meet their individual goals while often facing personal and systemic barriers. We respect our students and strive to emulate this perseverance by committing to their success.

Racial Justice
We do everything we can to understand systems of racial oppression and their impact on our colleagues, students, and the communities we serve. We actively work to dismantle those systems within our organization, through our partnerships, and in our classrooms.

Our History

In the mid-1960s, residents of Portland’s West End neighborhood banded together to advocate for change on behalf of families who were struggling to maintain affordable housing. This coalition became known as Portland West in 1967. Through its housing rights work, Portland West came to appreciate that education is the best pathway out of poverty. Thus, the group reoriented its mission to focus on education.

LearningWorks’ journey from a grassroots neighborhood advocacy group to a unique and innovative education nonprofit has been long and remarkable. In late 2016, our staff and board joined forces to rewrite our organizational mission statement to focus on the concept of “reimagining learning” to help Mainers of all ages realize their potential and build thriving communities.

As we celebrate 50 years of service, we look to the future with a focus on what we do best: reaching students that no one else can reach; breaking down barriers to create educational opportunities for all; and helping people of all ages and backgrounds achieve academic and personal success.



1,500+ people

served annually

20 local schools


19 towns

strengthened in Southern Maine

225 volunteers

sharing time and expertise every year

14,500 hours

of free services delivered to the community


Help us reach more people and have greater impact.