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Discover Participatory Grantmaking

Discover Participatory Grantmaking

Discover Participatory Grantmaking

“Bless the poets, the workers for justice,
the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache,
the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh
meaning—We will all make it through,
despite the politics and wars, despite failures
and misunderstandings. There is only love.”

— Joy Harjo

What is Participatory Grantmaking?

“Participatory grantmaking encompasses a range of models, methods, challenges, and insights. At its core, this approach to funding cedes decision-making power about grants to the very communities impacted by funding decisions.” – Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking by Cynthia Gibson

Participatory Grantmaking at Maine Initiatives

Since 2016, Maine Initiatives has used a participatory, community-based process for making grant decisions in our Grants for Change program. We recognize that racial justice is not going to be achieved through our grantmaking. Advancing racial justice in our communities and in our state requires a deep examination of how we think about ourselves, our history, and how power and resources move within our community. Through our participatory grantmaking process, we create individual and collective opportunities for this type of reflection.

Participatory Grantmaking in 2023

We invite the community to join our community-based program and process to:

  • Learn about racial justice issues, organizing, and activism from those leading this work in Maine;
  • Engage and connect with others committed to advancing racial justice; and
  • Take meaningful action to support ongoing racial justice work in Maine.

The 2023 Grants for Change Request for Proposals (RFP) is now live.

Principles of Our 2023 Participatory Grantmaking Process

Our participatory grantmaking process is grounded in the following principles and commitments:

  • We will strengthen Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community-based, nonprofit organizations in Wabanaki Territory (Maine) through funding and relationship building opportunities. 
  • We will create opportunities for people to learn about and be inspired by the work currently being done across Maine to advance racial justice and equity. 
  • We will mobilize and leverage new financial, social, and human resources to advance racial equity in our communities.
  • We will center BIPOC visions, voices, and leadership.
  • We will prioritize a low-barrier grant process, provide unrestricted, multi-year funding, and limit the burdens of grant reporting.
  • We will engage and connect people and help them become more active agents of greater racial justice in Maine.

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