Share this project


Share this project

Building Sustainable Chess Programs in Portland project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with

We're making children smarter, introducing them to wider social circles and building lasting values... all through chess!

We're making children smarter, introducing them to wider social circles and building lasting values... all through chess! Read More
pledged of $6,000 goal
seconds to go

Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on November 28, 2013.

Share This Project
Ben Monaghan
Project by

Ben Monaghan

First created  |  0 backed

Full bio Contact

About this project

Study after study proves that few things are better for a child than chess. It raises IQ's; it improves grades; it improves decision making; it improves social skills; it improves self confidence. 

And they love it.

And yet when we went to the school systems, they showed little interest in incorporating chess into their curriculum. That was three years ago. During that time we have strung together volunteers, rallied parents and caught the attention of some forward thinking educators to prove that chess programs are one of the most effective tools at improving cognitive, social and community related skills. 

How did we do it? Two years ago we got East End Elementary to allow us one morning a week to train children in chess. Class was no more than an hour. We kept it lively and fun. We found volunteers who could come in and sit with the children and play along side them, while mentoring and teaching the children the values associated with chess as well as life. Each semester the program became more and more popular until we were regularly teaching up to 30 kids per session.  At the time, East End was a failing school dealing with a wide mix of children coming from diverse backgrounds that too often created obstacles to learning. After two years of training over one hundred different children in chess, we put together a team that went on to beat chess teams from Portland and Falmouth and next year will compete at State.

But with funding so minimal, and with so many schools and children, we just can't get to everybody. Which is why we created the Maine Chess Academy.

The Maine Chess Academy represents a new entrepreneurial spirit. We believe we can work as a non-profit, raise money based on the results we achieve, while partnering with the school system, city and community to create sustainable chess  programs from elementary school to high school. 

But we need help. We need to urgently build a web site, pay application fees for 501 (c) 3 status, as well as buy boards, seek volunteers, promote chess throughout the system, offer more training, more competition and continue to build our program so all kids can benefit by it. This is only the beginning. We have even bigger, more ambitious plans to make Portland a Chess-friendly city.

Risks and challenges

Our number one obstacle is getting the initial investment so we can do the things we need to do to attract corporate and private donations as well as grant money. But we can't do these things until we have a website, marketing material and IRS classification as a non-profit. We believe that we are less than four months from achieving those objectives. In the mean time, we have not been idle. We have partnered with the Portland Education Foundation to provide administrative support and have expanded our programs to reach over 80 elementary students a week throughout the city. But with not enough funding to buy boards, co-ordinate volunteers, travel and (eventually) pay a single staff member, we are struggling to make ends meet. We need help!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    Want to play like a grand master? Command the table at your local cafe or just impress your child, spouse or friend? We'll teach you the tricks and quick strikes that will make you an indefensible player! For your generous donation we'll offer five lessons at an hour a piece. And why not? It's all for kids!

    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000 USD

    .. and I will give you my Hanley Ramirez signed 2005 Portland Sea Dog program featuring arguably the best AA MLB team ever fielded. Alumnus include Dustin Pedroia, John Lester, Jon Papelbon, Brandon Moss, Daivid Murphy, Anabel Sanchez, Cla Meredith.... and Hanley...

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (20 days)