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Our Grants

Outdoor Equity Fund

Outdoor Equity Fund

Outdoor Equity Fund

Maine Initiatives and the Nature Based Education Consortium have partnered to co-host this Fund to make grants to BIPOC-led organizations to address the nature gap and improve outdoor equity.


The purpose of this Fund is to improve safe, equitable access to outdoor spaces and increased opportunities for nature-based learning for Wabanaki, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). BIPOC communities experience systemic and institutional targeting that prevent safe access to these spaces. The Fund will make grants to organizations focused on addressing and finding solutions to these issues, and will prioritize organizations led by members of the communities served.

Examples of work the Outdoor Equity Fund seeks to support:

  • Land-based cultural continuation & preservation
  • Land-back and land return projects
  • Leadership development and mentoring
  • Farming and gardening programs
  • Outdoor accessibility development
  • Outdoor expeditions, such as hunting and fishing trips
  • Outdoor learning or environmental education, including school-based experiences
  • Therapeutic and trauma-informed nature programs

The Community Advisory Committee

This fund will be led by a Community Advisory Committee that is responsible for advising and counseling the staff of Maine Initiatives and NBEC on all matters related to the success of the Outdoor Equity Fund. The CAC’s role is to:

  1. Be the primary source of decision-making regarding the design, implementation, and evaluation of the Fund.
  2. Ensure community voice and thought is central to all aspects of decision-making about the Fund.

Participatory Grantmaking and Selection Process

The Outdoor Equity Fund has been developed and is administered by the Nature Based Education Consortium and Maine Initiatives and has been steered by a leadership team of four (4) and informed, advised, and guided by a Community Advisory Committee of seven (7) leaders within the nature-based learning ecosystem in Maine, unceded Wabanaki Territory. 

The Community Advisory Committee and leadership team have developed evaluative criteria and selected 11-15 BIPOC representatives for the Grantmaking Advisory Committee, who will use these criteria to select the 2023 cohort. 

Grant Amounts and Funding Levels

The Fund will make general operating support grants to groups that represent, strengthen and expand access to outdoor spaces and nature-based learning for Wabanaki and Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, including those that serve LGBTQIA2+ people, people with disabilities, and poor and working class people and communities. 

  • The groups selected for the 2023 Outdoor Equity Fund cohort will each receive general operating grants of $30,000 over three (3) years, in increments of $10,000 per year.
  • In addition to funding, grantees will be invited to participate in a series of peer learning, training, capacity-building, and community outreach activities over the course of the three (3) year grant period.
  • Award decisions will be communicated in April of 2023.


To be eligible for the 2023 Outdoor Equity Fund, the applicant must:

  • Be working exclusively or primarily in Maine, unceded Wabanaki Territory. 
  • Be a Black-, Brown-, Indigenous-, Latine-, Asian-, or People of Color-led organization/group/coalition. All BIPOC-led and serving groups may apply. We are prioritizing Black and Wabanaki organizations for 2023.
  • Be doing work that advances outdoor equity. Please see the OEF’s goals and funding priorities in the RFP for more specificity. 
  • Be a Maine-based organization, group or a coalition/alliance of groups (we do not fund individuals).
  • Have an organizational operating budget under $1,000,000. (Not required for groups applying with sponsorship from a Wabanaki Tribal Government or other tribal entity or for groups with fiscal sponsors).

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

  • BIPOC directors or specific program leaders (leadership roles): 50% or more 
  • BIPOC board members (or governing decision-making roles): 50% or more 
  • BIPOC activists (on-the-ground community change makers): 50% or more

How to Apply

  • The Request for Proposals for the 2024 grant cycle will be available in in February, 2024.

2023 Outdoor Equity Fund Grantees

Bomazeen Land Trust
Bomazeen Land Trust enables the Abenaki/ Wabanaki people to renew caretaking and stewardship roles in lands and waters that have spiritual, cultural, or historical significance to the Abenaki/ Wabanaki people. 

ECO-BIPOC/Third Place
The Third Place organizes community and cross-sector networks to build social and professional connections for Black Mainers. 

Intercultural Community Center
The Intercultural Community Center (ICC) supports and improves the lives of immigrants and refugees by providing educational, health, social opportunities and resources. 

Journey ONEderland
Journey ONEderland works to liberate Afro-Indigenous people in Maine and beyond by strengthening relationships between people and the earth through healing retreats, art, science, and outdoor recreation. 

Juneteenth Downeast
Juneteenth Downeast exists to give people of the African diaspora a place to connect, and opportunities to replenish that which was taken away, whether through connection to the land, the water, to resources, or to each other. 

Maine Association of New Americans (MANA)

MANA is an immigrant-led organization that promotes social and personal empowerment of immigrants through: Raising awareness of individual and collective trauma and how they affect our lives; Expanding people’s resilience building strategies by exploring various resources; Providing trauma-aware, multilingual transportation services to address social determinants of health; Connecting people with their peers across cultures. 

More Women+ Surf
More  Women+ Surf is a women-led surf organization in Maine breaking down socio-economical, physical, and emotional barriers to create surf and water access for underserved individuals. 

Somali Bantu Community Association
Somali Bantu Community Association’s mission is to provide vital transitional services, advocacy, and food production that empowers members of the refugee community to uphold cultural identity and economic well-being to thrive in their new life here in Maine. 

Tender Table
Tender Table celebrates Black and Brown community in Maine by connecting and honoring identities, traditions, joy, resilience, and fight for collective liberation through storytelling and food. 

Wabanaki Youth in Science
Wabanaki Youth in Science’s mission is to inspire and support persistence in the sciences for Native youth by providing long-term education opportunities that integrate Indigenous ecological knowledge with western science. 

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