June has been an incredibly eventful month for us at Maine Initiatives – and we continue to stay busy. We will be sending out a series of communications in the coming weeks as we ramp up our Grants for Change 2018 program, so expect to hear from us…a lot!
But for now, we are eager to share with you a recap of our inaugural Racial Justice Working Symposium and the 2nd Annual Changemakers Celebration, as well as some updates and announcements regarding our Immigrant-Led Organizations Fund and Grants for Change.
Racial Justice Working Symposium and Changemakers Celebration Recap
On June 13 we held our inaugural Racial Justice Working Symposium with 150 of Maine’s racial justice activists. The Symposium was a day filled with building power and partnership through collaborative exploration of the barriers to and opportunities for racial justice and equity in Maine.
Shay Stewart-Bouley of the Black Girl in Maine blog delivered a powerful keynote address and set the tone when she asked participants: “Why did you show up today?”
Participants spent the morning dissecting their own personal journey and building a mosaic of Maine’s racial justice sector rooted in the work of our Grantees. The afternoon was centered around the exploration of big burning questions generated by our Grantee Cohorts asking of the group questions including “How might we end anti-Blackness in Maine?”, “How can we move the environmental sector to engage more actively in issues of racial justice? “, and “How can we maintain our energy and resiliency in the face of this challenging work?”
Symposium participants reflected on their experience during the day:
- “I have gained inspiration – got clearer on why I do this work. I will let this day provide motivation and direction.”
- “I have gained great connections and inspiration from different contexts, all toward a shared goal.”
- “I will bring back the things discussed today to my leadership group that relates very closely to the big question I tackled this afternoon.”
- “I will center racial justice in the many hats I wear (even more).”
- “I will LISTEN more. SPEAK up. PRACTICE what to say when I want to share about this work with others.”
- “This was a good reminder that there are many others who can partner in our work.”
- “I loved meeting the great people at the front lines of this battle.”
- “I gained a greater feeling that I can make a difference!”
The Racial Justice Working Symposium provided a vibrant and engaging space for participants to make new connections, creatively engage in pressing issues of justice and equity, and to re-energize through shared food, friendship, and self-reflection. We can’t wait for next year!
In the evening we kicked off our Changemakers Celebration where we took Shay’s message about self-care and joy to heart. In summary: what a party!
We want to thank everyone who made the night a success:
- Our Gala Planning Committee– Lizzie, Rene, Victoria, Jessica, and Ana. Thank you for everything!!!!
- The (what felt like) 50 volunteers who helped us make the whirlwind 2-hour transition from the Symposium to Changemakers. Thank you to everyone who broke down tables, moved chairs, swept, rearranged flowers, and everything else.
- Viva and the Reinforcements for providing the sound track to the evening with your music and joy. You made the party a PARTY!
- And to all of our amazing caterers whose delicious food fueled our night of celebration:Isuken Co-op, Roast House with Chef Robbins, Maiz Colombian Street Food, In Her Presence, Survivor Speak USA, and Babylon Restaurant.
And of course, a huge thank you to everyone who joined us at Changemakers. With your support we were able to raise $10,000 at the event! This fundraising enables us to provide an additional $500 grant to each of our 20 Grants for Change grantees.
If you still need to fulfill your pledge, or if you couldn’t join us but would like to support the cause, you can donate HERE.
Immigrant-Led Organizations Fund Announcement
This week we announced the recipients of our 2018 Immigrant-Led Organizations Fund. During this political climate, we all must 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 are proud to support these nine organizations and hope you will too. To learn about these organizations and the work that they do, please visit our website.
Grants for Change: Be A Grantmaker!
Do you want to get more deeply involved with your community? Learn more about the racial justice work happening in our state? Gain experience reading grant proposals?
If you said “yes” to any of these questions then we invite you to be a Grants for Change Proposal Reader. Our call for Proposal Readers for the 2018 Grants for Change process is open and applications are now being accepted at bit.ly/G4CREADERS
Applications to become a proposal reader are due July 25th. To learn more about becoming a reader please visit our website HERE.
Grants for Change: Apply for a Grant
Grants for Change is now accepting applications from organizations working to advance racial justice and equity in Maine. Learn more about the grant program HERE.
Applications are due at 5:00 pm on Friday, July 20, 2018.