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New Beginnings

January is a time for new beginnings. Renewal. As we kick off the new year, I am very excited to announce that here at Maine Initiatives we are embarking on a new era in our organizational leadership. 

As of January 1, Shima Kabirigi and Julian Rowand step into new Senior Director roles here at Maine Initiatives and, in these roles, will be joining me to lead the new Maine Initiatives Management Team. 

Both of these changes reflect the fact that Shima and Julian are already established and respected leaders within the organization and our community. These changes also respond to the reality that Maine Initiatives has grown considerably in recent years; growth that requires us to evolve, adapt, and change our ways of being and being together. 

A north star for us as we grow is to seek both greater impact in our work and deeper rootedness in community. Shima and Julian are both making unique and indispensable contributions to these goals. These new roles – and this new model of shared leadership and collaborative decision-making – seeks to honor their contributions to our work and empower them to help guide and lead us toward this shared north star.

I couldn’t be more excited for this new era in our work together. I have great trust, faith, and confidence in both Shima and Julian as they step into these new leadership roles and I have deep gratitude and appreciation for both of them for believing in the work that we can do together. 

Please join me in celebrating this new beginning for Shima and Julian and for the whole Maine Initiatives community!

Peace and love,


Shima Kabirigi is a deeply relational community leader with an unparalleled track record supporting immigrant-led and immigrant-serving organizations here in Maine. She has been part of the Maine Initiatives team since 2017 and has been leading the Immigrant-Led Organizations Program since 2018. In this role, Shima serves as the Coordinator of the Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative and leads Maine Initiatives’ Immigrant-Led Organizations Fund. She was a founding member of the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, where she also served as the Board Chair and the Interim Executive Director. She currently serves on the board of the Genesis Community Loan Fund.

Julian Rowand is a community organizer at heart, bringing love and generosity of spirit to all aspects of his work. He joined Maine Initiatives in 2021 as Director of the Grants for Change Program and currently leads a portfolio of community organizing and grantmaking programs that include Grants for Change, the Outdoor Equity Fund and The Giving Project. He brings to our team a deep commitment to collaboration, a passion for creative and embodied practice, and a resolute belief in the need for deep solidarity with those most vulnerable among us. Julian currently serves on the board of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition and the Maine Philanthropy Center, and on the Political Leadership Team of the Southern Maine Workers’ Center.

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