Be a Grantmaker!

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.

Get Involved: Participate in Our Grantmaking Process

We invite our community to join us as active participants in our grantmaking process in one of two ways:

  • Become a Proposal Reader: 5 to 10 hours at home commitment (July-September 2019)
  • Join the Grantmaking Advisory Committee5 to 10 hours at home commitment (July-September 2019) and multi-day in person commitment (October 17-19, 2019) plus one additional day in November 2019 (date TBD)

Applications are now available. Complete the application HERE.

Readers- Help Us Evaluate Proposals:

We invite our stakeholders, grantees, donors, and members of the broader community to volunteer to serve as proposal readers during the initial phase of our process. These evaluations may be done online (at home, at work, or on the beach!), permitting participation by a wide-range of people.

  • Who can be a proposal reader?
    • Anyone! No experience necessary.
    • All proposal readers will receive training about the process and the topic of racial justice and an easy-to-use evaluation form to help assess proposals.
  • What level of time commitment is required?
    • 5 to 10 hours at home commitment between July and September 2019
    • Readers will be required to review two hour-long webinars prior to reading proposals.
    • Readers will review approximately three proposals, which will require approximately one to two hours each to read, assess, and score.
  • What if I am a board member, staff member, or otherwise affiliated with an applicant organization?
    • That’s okay! We have designed our process to identify and mitigate potential conflicts of interest in this process.
  • How will reader evaluations be used? 
    • Reader evaluations will inform subsequent activity by staff and Board, and decision- making by the Grantmaking Advisory Committee members.

Grantmaking Advisory Committee Members- Help Choose Our Grantee Cohort:

The second phase of the grantmaking process will be led by a community-based Grantmaking Advisory Committee that brings together perspectives representing the full range of our stakeholders: grantees, board members and advisors, donors, and other voices from the broader community in Maine.

How will the Grantmaking Advisory Committee operate? 

  • All Grantmaking Advisory Committee members must first participate in this process as proposal readers.
  • The full Grantmaking Advisory Committee will convene for a workshop retreat in October 2019 that combines opportunities for shared learning about issues of racial justice and racial equity. Following the retreat, the Advisory Committee will convene in November 2019 for a participatory deliberative and decision-making process about our grants.

The workshops/retreat will be structured around four distinct objectives:

  • Community building and networking.
  • Training and capacity-building around issues of racial justice and racial equity.
  • Co-creation of knowledge and collective learning about racial justice and racial equity in Maine.
  • Discussion, deliberation, and decision-making about our Racial Justice grants.

At the conclusion of the October retreat and the November workshop, the Advisory Committee will make formal funding recommendations to Maine Initiatives’ Board of Directors regarding the proposals. The Board of Directors, as the fiduciary authority, will make the final funding decisions based on the committee recommendations.

Additional Questions about the Grantmaking Advisory Committee

  • Who is eligible to serve on the Grantmaking Advisory Committee?
    • All committee members will be drawn from the pool of individuals who participate as proposal readers in the first round.
    • It is mandatory for Grantmaking Advisory Committee members to attend the Grantmaking Retreat at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor on October 18 and 19.  Unfortunately, those with date conflicts will be unable to join the committee.
  • How many people will serve on the committee?
    • The committee will comprise between 40-50 individuals, including grantees, board members, donors and advisors, and community members.
  • What sort of diversity will the advisory committee reflect?
    • We will make every effort to ensure that the committee reflects both the geographic and demographic diversity of the state as well as other forms of diversity, including cross-class and cross-cultural diversity.
  • How will the Grantmaking Advisory Committee be selected?
    • Maine Initiatives will request volunteers and nominations to serve on this committee.
    • Board and staff will collaborate to make the final determination about committee membership.
  • What costs are associated with serving on the Grantmaking Advisory Committee?
    • Participation in this program is free of cost. The costs associated with individual participation in the Grantmaking Advisory Committee retreat, including mileage/travel costs, overnight accommodation, event space, food, and materials will all be covered by Maine Initiatives.
    • Any participant or community member interested in offsetting budgetary costs are encouraged to contact Phil Walsh ( or 207-607-4070) to make a much appreciated donation.
  • How can I apply?
    • Complete the Proposal Reader application and indicate your interest in joining the Grantmaking Advisory Committee as directed in the application. Appications for the Proposal Reader process are due July 26, 2019.

Participatory Grantmaking Timeline 

June 17: Proposal Reader Request for Applications Open

July 26: Proposal Reader Applications Due

August 2: Proposal Readers and Grantmaking Advisory Committee acceptance notifications

Early August: Readers: Training Webinars (will also be available as a recording)

August 19: Readers: Proposal Evaluations Begin

September 19: Readers: Proposal Evaluations Due

October 18-19 (and evening of October 17): Grantmaking Advisory Committee Retreat at the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, Winter Harbor, ME

November (date TBD): Grantmaking Advisory Committee Decision-Making gathering in Portland, ME (location TBD)

Want to go into more detail about the participatory grantmaking process? Full details HERE.

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