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Maine’s Outdoor Equity Fund Announces its 2024 Grantee Cohort.

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led and -serving organizations in Maine receive $300,000 to expand access to the outdoors.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: oef@maineinitiatives.org

July 1, 2024

Maine Initiatives and the Nature Based Education Consortium are thrilled to announce the 2024 Outdoor Equity Fund Cohort, 10 community-based organizations dedicated to improving equitable access to nature-based learning opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in Maine. The grantee cohort was selected by the 2024 Outdoor Equity Fund Grantmaking Advisory Committee, a decision-making body with aligned lived experience and investment in the communities served. By design, BIPOC community members are involved in all aspects of the Outdoor Equity Fund’s process, including all staff, advisory, and decision-making roles. 

Each organization listed below will receive a $30,000 unrestricted grant paid out over three years, $10,000 per year, and are invited to participate together in a series of peer learning, capacity-building, and community outreach activities over the course of their grant period. This is the second of three cohorts supported by the Outdoor Equity Fund, which was co-developed by Maine Initiatives and the Nature Based Education Consortium and launched in 2023. 

These ten organizations have powerful and transformative missions, reflecting the vital work flourishing at the intersection of outdoor access and racial justice in our communities: 

Khmer Maine
Fostering a deeper sense of belonging in the outdoors for Maine’s Cambodian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities, working in solidarity with Black and Indigenous communities across the state;

Kivulini Afro Yoga Project
Creating inclusive healing practices that are affirming and accessible for marginalized communities;

Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition
Cultivating reconnection to the natural world and a healing reentry process for previously incarcerated individuals through outdoor activities;

Maine Soccer Development
Supporting soccer players across Cumberland County with resources and opportunities to gain discipline, performance skills, strength, and professional opportunities in the sport;

Mawita’nej Epijij: Welcome to the Gathering Place
Reclaiming Wabanaki cultural lifeways and reconnection to language, culture, food, and each other;

Nibezun
Strengthening programs of ceremony, peacemaking, sustainable lifeways, Wabanaki arts, Wabanaki languages, and wellness for Wabanaki peoples; 

Niweskok: From the Stars to Seeds
Restoring the Penobscot Bay region as a Wabanaki food hub through rematriation and reclamation of traditional foods and healing;

Presente! Maine
Empowering displaced Indigenous and Afro-Latinx peoples of Maine through survival programs, community power building, cultural celebration, and transformative healing practice;

Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship
Expanding Wabanaki people’s access, management, and ownership of land in the state of Maine and bringing Wabanaki expertise and perspective into the conservation movement;

Wabanaki REACH
Promoting self-determination of Wabanaki people through right relationship to the land, education, truth-telling, restorative justice, and restorative practices in Wabanaki and Maine communities. 

“The organizations selected through this participatory process for the Outdoor Equity Fund cohort reflect the necessary and critical efforts to address barriers faced by communities for full access to the natural environment throughout the state,” shared Maine Initiatives Senior Director Julian Rowand.

Maine Initiatives Program Associate Stacey Tran added, “We are excited to welcome the incoming OEF cohort as they join a roster of amazing organizations leading efforts across the state in beautiful and critical ways, including landback, land sovereignty and land stewardship, rematriation, food systems and food sovereignty, radical nourishment, liberation centering Afro-Indigenous communities, improvement of health outcomes, solidarity in movement spaces, and supporting immigrant and refugee communities safe access to outdoor activities.”

For more information, please contact oef@maineinitiatives.org.


Maine Initiatives is a community-based foundation supporting social, economic, and environmental justice in Maine through informed, intentional, and collective philanthropy. Our core programs are Grants for Change, the Immigrant Led Organizations Fund, the Outdoor Equity Fund, The Giving Project, and MaineShare.

The Nature Based Education Consortium (NBEC) is a diverse, multi-sector network of organizations and individuals focused on building support for equitable access to outdoor spaces and learning opportunities for all Maine youth. NBEC believes that all Maine youth deserve the opportunity to learn in ways that connect them to their community and the natural world. 

Photo credit: Wabanaki REACH, 2024 Outdoor Equity Fund Grantee