Be a Grantmaker!

We invite our community to join us as active participants in our grantmaking process. Our 2019 cycle will kick off in late spring 2019.

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 Reader: 5 to 10 hours at home commitment (Summer 2019)
  • Join the Grantmaking Committee: 5 to 10 hours at home commitment (Summer 2019) and 3 day in person commitment (Fall 2019)


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 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 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 decision- making by the Grantmaking Committee members.

Committee Members- Help Choose our Grantee Cohort:

The second phase of the grantmaking process will be led by a community-based Grantmaking 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 Committee operate? 

  • All grantmaking committee members must first participate in this process as proposal readers.
  • The full grantmaking committee will convene over the course of three-days for a workshop retreat in Fall 2019 that combines opportunities for shared learning about issues of racial justice and racial equity as well as a participatory deliberative and decision-making process about our grants.

The workshop 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 and Racial Equity grants.

At the conclusion of the retreat, the 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 Committee

  • Who is eligible to serve on the grantmaking 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 Committee members to attend the Grantmaking Retreat at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor.  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 past grantees, board members, donors and advisors, and community members.
  • What sort of diversity will the 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 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 committee?
    • Participation in this program is free of cost. The costs associated with individual participation in the grantmaking committee workshop, 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 Committee as directed in the application. Reader applications for the 2019 cycle will be available in late Spring 2019.

Sample Participatory Grantmaking Timeline (from 2018)

June 13: Proposal Reader/Grantmaking Committee Request for Applications Open

July 25: Proposal Reader/Grantmaking Committee Applications Due

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

August 15: Readers: Proposal Evaluations Begin

September 15: Readers: Proposal Evaluations Due

October 18-20: Grantmaking Committee Retreat

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

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