Maine Initiatives is introducing several major innovations in the 2017 Grants for Change program.
- A Participatory Grantmaking Process: Learn more about our participatory grantmaking process HERE.
- Thematic Grantmaking Advancing Racial Justice and Racial Equity: Read more about our 2017 grantmaking theme HERE.
- Grantee Cohort Approach: Continue reading below.
The Cohort Approach
In 2017, Maine Initiatives will identify, fund, and strengthen our second racial justice cohort: ten (10) organizations whose work reflects the diversity of racial justice and racial equity work being undertaken in Maine. We will make three-year funding commitments to the full cohort and also offer each organization a variety of additional in-kind and capacity building support. Our commitment to a cohort approach in our funding is an integral part of the impact we seek through both our participatory grantmaking process and our efforts to fund and strengthen our grantee partners.
In our participatory grantmaking process, we start from the premise that racial injustice and inequity are complex and multidimensional realities. Racial justice and equity, in turn, are aspirations that have many possible and necessary expressions. Our commitment to funding a cohort of ten different grantee organizations seeks to acknowledge, honor, and reflect the broad diversity of racial justice work that is necessary and is happening in our communities.
In order to select a racial justice cohort, our community must engage in a collective conversation about racial justice and equity: what it means, looks like, and requires in the community. The diversity embodied by the grantee cohort represents our collective answer to those questions. We recognize that each cohort will be imperfect and incomplete. But through both the process of coming to a decision about the make-up of cohort and the reflection on what is missing from each cohort after the process is completed, we are able to continually refine and deepen our collective understanding of racial justice in our community. In this way, we view each cohort as an iterative step in our process of seeking to understand and advance racial justice in our community.
In funding a grantee cohort, we are explicitly seeking to support and strengthen a racial justice sector in Maine. This means, as we fund and strengthen each individual organization in the cohort, we are also seeking to strengthen the relationships between and among the members of the cohort. We pursue these dual objectives through a variety of activities, including:
Going Beyond Grant Money
As a grantmaking foundation, we recognize the importance of general operating support for our grantees and commit to fund organizations in this manner. However, we also acknowledge that effectively pursuing and achieving our mission requires more than just well-placed grants. For this reason, we are committed to providing a diverse range of (optional) support and assistance to each member of our grantee cohort:
Peer Learning Through Networking and Convenings: We will convene representatives (board and staff) from members of the grantee cohort on a periodic basis throughout the three-year grant period to offer training and capacity-building support as well as to permit the organizational representatives to share with and learn from each other about their racial justice and racial equity work.
Capacity Building: Maine Initiatives will design and implement capacity building opportunities specifically for the members of the grantee cohort based on member needs and requests. These activities will occur throughout the three-year grant period and are voluntary.
Community Engagement and Awareness: Members of the Maine Initiatives community support social, economic, and environmental justice through informed, intentional, and collective philanthropy. We seek to engage and inspire our community by presenting our grantees and their work on center stage. We will use our convening power to offer a platform for members of the grantee cohort to speak directly to our stakeholders and look for innovative ways to encourage our donors and the broader community to make direct donations to grantee organizations. Examples of these opportunities may include: speaking at the annual Changemakers Celebration, grantee happy hour events, house parties, and more.
While all of these activities are voluntary, we seek applicants that view these non-financial opportunities as valuable opportunities for their organizations.
Grantee travel expenses will be covered by Maine Initiatives for participation in any capacity building program.