Now, more than ever, we commit to support immigrants, refugees, and asylee communities in our state and the organizations working to ensure their well-being and success in Maine. We reject attempts to divide, isolate, or segregate our communities. We affirm that immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers enrich our community socially, economically, culturally, and politically.
To this end, Maine Initiatives, with the support of the Broad Reach Fund, recently established a new Immigrant-Led Organizations Fund to support immigrant-led organizations doing critical work in our state.
We are pleased to announce the 2018-2019 Immigrant-Led Organizations Fund Cohort:
Capital Area New Mainers Project: The Capital Area New Mainers Project was founded in 2017 as a cross-cultural organization that is welcoming immigrants to the greater Augusta region and works to create a thriving, integrated, multicultural community in central Maine. CANMP will launch the Economic Opportunity Program (EOP), which will increase access to employment and support entrepreneurship among immigrants in central Maine.
Ladder to the Moon: Ladder to the Moon was founded in 2014. Its mission is to increase awareness and inform the Maine public about conditions people face in Africa that motivate them to migrate to the United States and the challenges African immigrants face as they start to resettle here in Maine. Ladder to the Moon will publish Amjambo Africa!, a free monthly newspaper that highlights and celebrates the immigrant communities here in Maine and informs the broader public about these communities, their countries of origin and the many ways they are contributing to our community here in Maine.
Maine Community Integration: Maine Community Integration’s (MCI) mission is to sustain the social vitality and cultural vibrancy of the New-Mainers heritage by strengthening family life, uplifting human services, binding together the historical traditions by supporting families, providing and assisting clients with needed social services, and organizing meaningful traditional and cultural events. MCI’s Youth Impact Initiative program provides cultural mentorship and to Muslim immigrant youth who are incarcerated at Long Creek Youth Development Center, and serves as advocates for New Mainer youth who are incarcerated or are facing incarceration. It provides cultural competency training to Long Creek staff and the District Attorney, judges, and other court and law enforcement staff.
New England Arab American Organization: New England Arab American Organization’s mission is to help ease the integration of Arab Immigrants into American society and bridge the gap between the cultures. The Not Alone Program serves to support women, in Portland and Westbrook, come together to share their stories, learn how to sow, cook, and be in community with one another.
New Roots Cooperative Farm: New Roots Cooperative Farm’s mission is to build economic security for New Americans by providing delicious vegetables for its community. New Roots plans to open a new farm stand in Lewiston and hire a Somali Bantu youth to support the co-op in the following ways, marketing, farm management, event organizing, bookkeeping, provide basic interpretation for the farmers, and help to engage volunteers on the farm.
Somali Community Center of Maine: Somali Community Association of Maine supports Maine’s Somali immigrants and their families through advocacy, mentorship, youth activities, and literacy. The SCCM seeks to help community members overcome linguistic and cultural barriers, and achieve educational and economic opportunity in Maine.
South Sudanese Community Association: The mission of the South Sudanese Community Association of Maine is to promote growth, development, and integration of South Sudanese families and individuals into the American society by building community identity, promoting opportunities for economic advancement and developing leadership capacity for advocacy and civic engagement. In the summer of 2017, South Sudanese Community Association piloted a summer soccer program, Community Champions League, to engage youths from many different immigrant communities, this grant will fund the continuation of the League in 2018.
Sustainable Livelihood Relief Services: Founded in Lewiston, Maine, the mission of Sustainable Livelihoods Relief Organization is to develop the capacity of the people to become productive members of society and integrate successfully into the labor market, both as employees and business owners, to raise the standard of living, strengthen the people’s resilience to adversity, and create a supportive environment for improved community well-being. This summer, the organization will launch a new program, Isuken Co-op, a farm-to-truck restaurant serving Somali Bantu food. Isuken will be the Nation’s first Somali Bantu farm-to-table food truck.
United Youth Empowerment Services (UNITED YES): United YES empowers immigrant youth, in central Maine, through original and compelling film and video productions intended to excite, educate, inspire, reveal the human condition and spirit, and create positive social change. United YES will launch a video training program for young people in Central Maine.