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Our Grants

Grants For Change

Grants for Change

Grants for Change

“I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up,
and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.”

– Rosa Parks

Purpose

The Grants for Change (G4C) program at Maine Initiatives is a participatory grantmaking program that funds and strengthens Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community-based, nonprofit organizations in Maine, unceded land of the Wabanaki. The Program seeks to organize people and resources in support of efforts across the state that intervene on legacies of white supremacy, settler colonialism, and racialized capitalism by creating or reclaiming liberatory possibilities for today and future generations.

For a three-year period, beginning in 2022, the Grants for Change Program has committed to providing over $1.5 million in multi-year, unrestricted, general operating support to BIPOC-led and -serving organizations that: 

  • seek to dismantle racial injustice in its institutional, structural, and systemic forms;
  • further the racial justice movement through community building, grassroots organizing & advocacy, and policy change;
  • strengthen communities through traditional and/or indigenous wisdoms and liberatory cultural practices, including (but not limited to) healing, earth protection, embodied practices, and the arts; and
  • are led by, serve, and/or organize in solidarity with Black and Wabanaki communities.

Grant Amount & Funding Levels

  • The organizations selected for the 2023 Grants for Change cohort will receive general operating grants of $45,000 over three years, or $15,000 per year.
  • Funded organizations will be invited to participate in a series of peer learning, training, capacity-building, and community outreach activities over the course of the grant period.
  • Award decisions will be communicated in December.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the 2023 Grants for Change Program, applicant organizations must:

  • Be working exclusively or primarily in Maine. 
  • Be a Black-, Brown-, Indigenous-, Latinx-, Asian-, or People of Color-led organization/group/coalition. All BIPOC-led and serving organizations may apply. We are prioritizing Black and Wabanaki organizations for 2023.
  • Be implementing programs that advance racial justice in local communities or statewide.
  • Be a Maine-based organization or group or a coalition/alliance of groups (we do not fund individuals).
  • Have an organizational operating budget under $1,500,000. (Not required for groups applying with sponsorship from a Wabanaki Tribal entity or for organizations with fiscal sponsors.)

To establish BIPOC-led status, organizations need to meet at least two out of three of the following criteria for the past two years:

  • BIPOC staff leaders of the organization – 50% or more in leadership roles
  • BIPOC members on Board of Directors – 50% or more in governing decision-making roles
  • BIPOC organizers – 50% or more of on-the-ground, community interfacing staff/volunteers

How to Apply

  • The Requests for Proposals (RFP) for the 2024 Grants for Change Program, with full application instructions, will be available in summer 2024. For questions, please contact the Grants for Change staff at grants4change@maineintiatives.org.

Principles of the 2023 Participatory Process

Maine Initiatives is committed to participatory, community-led grantmaking. We rely on volunteer community members to engage in a collective decision-making process for selecting our grant recipients. In doing so, we invite the community to join this 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 the state.

Our Three-Year, $1.5 Million Commitment

Last year, Maine Initiatives made a long-term commitment to support and strengthen the ecosystem of racial justice organizing and activism in Maine. We are now in the second year of a three-year, $1.5 million grantmaking commitment to support Black, Wabanaki, and People of Color-led and -serving organizations advancing racial justice work and strengthening community building efforts statewide through our Grants for Change Program.

Updated Funding Priorities

The 2023 Grants for Change Funding Priorities Framework is an evolution of previous frameworks. In consultation with the community partners and leaders, we have identified the need to support the work of community building and organizing by organizations playing distinct but complementary roles building and strengthening the racial justice movement and ecosystem in Maine. The Grants for Change Program seeks to support community building and organizing that is intersectional, geographically diverse, and includes priority pathways to accomplish community work as Hub and Emergent organizations. To learn more about our funding priorities, read the full RFP.

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