Grants for Change

The application window for the 2019 Grants for Change program is closed. The 2020 program process is under review based on new restrictions from COVID-19 and implications on the participatory model of the program. We will share more news later this summer.

Maine Initiatives is not currently accepting proposals for the Grants for Change program. 

The Grants for Change Program seeks to fund and strengthen community-based nonprofit organizations whose work is advancing racial justice in Maine.

You can explore a list of the 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Grants for Change grantees HERE.


Overview: The 2019 Grants for Change Program

Maine Initiatives’ 2019 Grants for Change program will provide three years of general operating support to a cohort of up to ten (10) community-based organizations advancing racial justice in Maine.

The 2019 Grants for Change program is designed as a broadly participatory grantmaking process. The process offers our stakeholders – grantees, donors, stakeholders and the broader community – opportunities to participate in the proposal review, evaluation and decision-making process. We view this process as an opportunity for individual and collective learning about the work that is and needs to be done in our state to advance racial justice.

Members of the 2019 Grants for Change cohort will be selected based on the community’s collective determination that their work is advancing racial justice in our state, with specific priority given to organizations whose work reflect the three funding priorities described below.

The organizations selected for the 2019 Grants for Change cohort will receive a general operating grant of $25,000 paid out over three years. In addition, they will be invited to participate in a series of peer learning, training, capacity-building, and community outreach activities over the course of the grant period.

For quick access:


2019 Funding Priorities

The following updates to the 2019 Grants for Change Program reflect a deepening in our understanding of issues of racial justice, racial equity and our role in this work. In summary, the 2019 Grants for Change grantmaking program will prioritize:

  • Work led by and in service to Native American/Wabanaki and Black/African-American communities in Maine;
  • Work being done on institutional, structural and systemic expressions of racial injustice and racial inequity; and
  • Work being done to strengthen community building, community organizing, grassroots advocacy and policy change as central strategies for advancing racial justice and equity.

Please note that it is not necessary that organizations meet all three of these funding priorities to be eligible for funding. Successful applications will demonstrate that they are effectively addressing at least one of these priority areas in a substantial way.

All 2019 Grants for Change grant recipients will receive a $25,000 general operating grant spread out over three years: $10,000 in 2019; $10,000 in 2020; and $5,000 in 2021. Additionally, grant recipients will be invited to participate in capacity-building opportunities over the three-year grant period.

The Participatory Grantmaking Process

Through our participatory grantmaking process, we seek to have a broadly democratic process for selecting our grant recipients led by community members. To accommodate this multi-phase process our grantmaking cycle extends from June through December.

The initial phase of the grantmaking process invites volunteer from the community to serve as Proposal Readers, who read and review proposals during the month of August. The second phase of the grantmaking process will be led by a community-based Grantmaking Advisory Committee that brings together individuals representing the broad diversity of identities and perspectives in our community for a multi-day retreat in October. Members of the Grantmaking Advisory Committee participate in an intensive participatory process of learning and engagement related to our theme, and guide the selection of our 2019 Grants for Change. Final decisions about the Grants for Change grantee recipients will be announced in December of 2019.

More details about our participatory grantmaking program, including the application to be a Proposal Reader, can be found here:

Eligibility and Priorities / Who Can Apply?

To be eligible for the 2018 Grants for Change program, the applicant organization must:

  • Be a Maine-based organization or group or a coalition/alliance of groups (we do not fund individuals):
    • If your group is – or is sponsored by – a Wabanaki Tribal government or other official Tribal entity you may apply without additional IRS designation.
    • If your organization is a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS, you may apply.
    • If your organization is fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, you may apply.
    • If you do not currently have a fiscal sponsor or nonprofit 501(c)(3) status, you are still welcome to apply, but will need to obtain a fiscal sponsor before the Grantmaking Advisory Committee’s Retreat in October. Maine Initiatives cannot serve as your fiscal sponsor, but will help you identify a potential fiscal sponsor after you have submitted your application.
  • Be working exclusively or primarily in Maine communities.
  • Be implementing programs that increase racial justice in local communities or statewide.
  • Have an organizational operating budget under $1,000,000. (Not required for groups applying with sponsorship from a Wabanaki Tribal government or other tribal entity.)

How To Apply?

Applications are not currently being accepted for the Grants for Change program. 

  1. Check Your Eligibility: Please confirm that your organization meets the above criteria.
  2. Read the Application: Please read the full application instructions prior to starting your application.
  3. Schedule an Informational Call: Andrea Berry will be available throughout the application period to answer any questions you may have about the RFP, our participatory grantmaking process, and/or the new funding priorities. Sign up for a 30-minute phone call here
  4. Apply: Click HERE to access the full application. You can apply online via this FORM or submit your Proposal narratives and all attachments via email to

The deadline for applications is 5:00pm on Friday, July 19, 2019.

Due to the multi-phase nature of this process, the Grants for Change decisions will not be made public until early December of 2019. Groups that receive a grant can anticipate receiving the first installment of grant funds within a month of providing Maine Initiatives with documentation of fiscal sponsorship or 501(c)(3) status.

Grant Amount Information

All 2019 Grants for Change grant recipients will receive a $25,000 general operating grant spread out over three years. $10,000 in 2019, $10,000 in 2020, and $5,000 in 2021.


Sign up to stay in touch with Maine Initiatives