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With everything constructive we learn and share, the path to progress unfolds that much further.

Effective progress towards greater racial justice requires that we are all moving along the Continuum of Ethical Engagement towards deeper Awareness, Understanding, Action, and Activism. We hope you find these resources as informative as we do! There is something for everyone here, including articles, videos, and compiled resource guides. If you’d like to use a resource below in a class or program, please reach out to us!

When All of the Answers Are Wrong

Image: 10.29.23 One Lewiston Vigil. Photo by Lauren Smith Kennedy. Those of you who know me will know that I am committed to bringing the language of love into our public discourse because I believe that this is part of advancing justice: wresting love out of the private domains of home and hearth and bringing […]

How can we be good citizens?

For the past couple years, I have facilitated a senior seminar at a local university. The seminar focuses on “Citizenship”, and encourages students to be involved in community service learning, to gain understanding of local politics through attendance at a city or town government meeting, and to practice civil discourse with classmates around social issues […]

Maine Initiatives Fall 2023 COVID-19 Protocols

All Maine Initiatives’ in-person events follow COVID-19 protocols aligned with current recommendations from the CDC.  Masking is currently optional. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available at all events, as a safety precaution for anyone who wants it. We strive to host events with outdoor seating options when possible, weather permitting.  Maine Initiatives asks that […]

The Invitation

September, sneakily, is a month of new beginnings. Back-to-school. Autumn. Football season. Pumpkin spice extravaganza.  [There is a lot going on. And the weather (finally!) decided to feel like summer all of a sudden.] In the midst of all of this excitement, I want to invite you to join our fall Grants for Change (G4C) […]

MaineShare Workplace Giving Employers

Does your employer provide you opportunities to support Maine-based organizations you believe in? If not, tell them about MaineShare. MaineShare leads an annual workplace giving campaign that allows employees to donate $10 a paycheck (or $3, or $5, or $25) to support a coalition of grassroots and justice-focused nonprofits in Maine. Employees have multiple options […]

Learn more. Stand up. Speak out. 

Summer in Maine, in vacationland. Finally! Time to gather outside with friends and to visit your favorite swimming spot.   Summertime in Maine…and I keep thinking about the Neo-Nazis setting up shop just north of where I live. Maybe you’ve read about it. It’s not new news, but it’s recently gained statewide and national attention.  Maine […]

Insights from Maine Organizations on Sharing Space

Many nonprofits have been evaluating needs and rethinking opportunities for their workspaces, given shifts in work schedules and arrangements, rental markets, and demand for services. In Spring 2023, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Maine Association of Nonprofits, Maine Initiatives, and Maine Philanthropy Center conducted a pilot survey of nonprofits and funders to better understand what organizations […]

This is grassroots philanthropy

Our work is rooted in a simple, yet transformative idea: that people can come together around shared values of justice and equity: to raise and pool money and get it to the people doing that work in our community.

Leaning into love and transformation

I am coming into this month of June, with a profound sense of hope and possibility. Over the past few weeks, I have been in a number of powerful in-person gatherings: the Maine Philanthropy Center Conference, the Resident Community Builder Program at Maine State Prison, a First Light gathering, the GEO Learning Conference, the Peter […]

Who we become as a community is up to us

I had the joy and privilege to attend the Bar Mitzvah of a dear family friend this weekend. It was a beautiful celebration and had me reflecting on the idea that: Who we are is, in some ways, not up to us. But, who we become most certainly is. This is true for my friend […]

“Is there another side of all of this, Phil?”

“Is there another side of all of this, Phil?” A friend recently asked me this question. By “all of this,” she was referring to the suffering, sorrow, inhumanity, cruelty, violence, loss, death. All of this.  And there has been a lot of it lately. Now I know my friend to be a person full of […]

Support Asylum Seekers in Maine

Maine Initiatives is raising $500,000 to provide general operating support grants next month to approximately forty (40) immigrant-led and immigrant-serving organizations.  Donate here to the Immigrant-Led Organizations Fund at Maine Initiatives.   Here in Maine, we can sometimes feel removed from the many crises we see on our daily news feeds. War. Pandemic. Climate catastrophe. Gun […]

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance and Events

Monday, January 17, 2022 is a day of remembrance when we come together to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is also a day for looking forward, and re-dedicating and re-committing ourselves to the future we seek to build together: a future of racial, economic, and social justice.  Although normally we would be coming […]

Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2021

Dear friends and relatives, Maine Initiatives invites you to join us in the observance and celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, today, Monday, October 11th. As we do so, we acknowledge and embrace the responsibility and opportunity we all have to honor Indigenous cultures, peoples, contributions, and accomplishments. It was only in 2019 that Maine officially […]

A deep breath today. But tomorrow…

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dear Friend: Democracy is messy, complicated, and imperfect. This election has made that clear. Yet despite all of its complexity, democracy remains central to our vision of justice. If, as Dr. King asserted, the arc of […]

Systemic racism in Maine is real.

Dear friends, I am flabbergasted. Sen. Collins took the debate stage last night and claimed that systemic racism is not a problem in Maine. Either Sen. Collins is ignorant of the rampant racial disparities in our state across many measures; or she thinks those disparities reflect fair and just outcomes of our systems, structures and […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Get Out The Vote!

 We are exactly one week away from Election Day. The stakes are high, and that’s why our grantees are in overdrive working to “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) across Maine. These organizations are targeting communities who have historically been disenfranchised: People of Color, Immigrants, Indigenous folks, Women, Incarcerated and Homeless citizens. Below you’ll find resources and opportunities to […]

Support Get Out The Vote Efforts

If you would like to support organizations working on get out the vote efforts, consider the following organizations: Democracy Maine Maine Citizens for Clean Elections and the League of Women Voters of Maine, together as Democracy Maine, use their collective power to work for racial equity in our democracy in a uniquely nonpartisan and sustainable joint […]

This is not a day off.

Dear Friends, Last year was the first time Maine recognized Indigenous People’s Day as an official state holiday in replacement of Columbus Day. This was an important shift, but not enough to ensure that Indigenous communities are recognized and respected as sovereign nations. It is our responsibility not to think of this as a day […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Education

Maine students have returned to school this fall and while classes range from virtual, to in-person, to some combination of the two, it’s clear that there’s no magic solution to the challenges that COVID-19 presents. Existing inequities within the education system will be exacerbated without the support that community-based organizations provide to ensure that students’ race, class, […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Immigrant Led Advocacy

SPOTLIGHT TAKEOVER: Amjambo Africa! Maine Initiatives grantee, Ladder to the Moon Network, runs a free newspaper publication called Amjambo Africa, an incredible source of news, information, and community for New Mainers and the broader community alike. This week, we are turning over the COVID-19 Issue Spotlight to Amjambo Africa’s Editor-in-Chief, Kit Harrison, who brings to us a sample of their […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Health Equity

In the midst of a global pandemic, we need an equitable healthcare system now more than ever. The reality is that thousands of Mainers are not able to access the health services that they need. Our grantees are working hard to fill in the gaps while calling for transformational change. While on some level all […]

Supporting Health Equity

If you would like to support organizations working on health equity, consider the following organizations: Maine Access Immigrant Network Maine Access Immigrant Network (MAIN) serves as a bridge and cultural broker between mainstream health care and social services and the refugee and immigrant communities living in Maine. Through case management for adults, resource and referral […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Food Justice

Food insecurity continues to be an urgent issue in Maine. Even before the pandemic, 13% of Maine households struggled with food insecurity — the 12th highest percentage in the country. But as unemployment rates remain high, that number is projected to grow to 18%. Our grantees are leveraging their resources and deep community relationships to address […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight- Movement for Black Lives

Movement for Black Lives Systemic racism is a public health crisis. Police brutality against Black folks is not new, but the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on Black communities is making all too clear the ways in which systemic racism is as pervasive and dangerous as the virus itself. Here in Maine, Black activists […]

Supporting the Movement for Black Lives in Maine

If you would like to support organizations working on the movement for Black lives, consider the following organizations: BLM Portland BLM Portland was established as an organization dedicated to and aligned with the demands and mission of the national Movement for Black Lives*. We are a collective of local organizers, activists, and community members who […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Workers’ Rights

Workers’ Rights The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally shifted how our economy functions. While some workers have been able to shift to a work-from-home set-up, tens of thousands have lost their jobs, and many of those who are still employed must choose between a paycheck and their own health and safety. This week’s COVID-19 issue spotlight takes a […]

Supporting Workers’ Rights

If you would like to support organizations working on workers’ rights in Maine, consider the following organizations: Cambodian Community Association of Maine The Cambodian Community Association of Maine (CCAM) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization working to improve the quality of life and the social and economic well-being of Cambodian people in Maine through cultural exchange, […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Supporting Maine’s Tribal Communities

Supporting Maine’s Tribal Communities Wabanaki leaders are continuing to provide critical support to Wabanaki peoples, responding to many challenges that this pandemic has caused and exacerbated. This week we’re highlighting a number of powerful organizations led by and serving the indigenous communities in Maine. Here’s an overview of what you’ll find in this issue: Wabanaki […]

Supporting Wabanaki Rights and Tribal Sovereignty

The Midcoast Indigenous Awareness Group (MIAG) has shared the following list of organizations and causes to support: And, if you would like to support Maine Initiatives grantees working on Wabanaki rights and tribal sovereignty, check out the following organizations: Abbe Museum The mission of the Abbe Museum, Maine’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate is to […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Decarceration & Prison Reform

Decarceration & Prison Reform Incarcerated folks are among the most vulnerable members of our community in this crisis. With over 3,000 individuals currently being held across Maine’s state prisons and jails, the prospect of a COVID-19 outbreak is extremely worrying. This week, we’re excited to share the ways our grantee partners are working to protect […]

Supporting Decarceration and Prison Reform

If you would like to support organizations working on decarceration and prison reform in Maine, consider the following organizations: Maine Inside Out Maine Inside Out initiates dialogue, develops leadership, and builds community across boundaries with collaborative original theater, inside and outside correctional facilities. We are committed to dismantling all forms of oppression and building a […]

COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Housing

We’re excited to launch a new email feature: COVID-19 Issue Spotlights, where we’ll highlight critical organizing and advocacy work happening in response to COVID-19. This week, we’re highlighting the housing crisis and how the pandemic is exacerbating housing inequities. Questions loom large: Where will May 1 rent come from? Will the government freeze my mortgage, […]

Mutual Aid: Supporting Housing Needs

A number of mutual aid funds have been opened in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities. These funds support food, medicine, housing and shelter needs that are often so hard to come by. We’re excited to highlight two funds facilitated by Maine Initiatives grantees: Estamos […]

Love in the Time of Crisis

Dear Friends: We are in uncharted territory. Our lives are being disrupted in ways many of us have never experienced and, perhaps, never even imagined. But, the truth is that this crisis brings into sharp focus the central question that is at the heart of our work at Maine Initiatives: Who are we together – individually and collectively […]

Centering community care in response to COVID-19

[IMPORTANT UPDATE: We have launched the COVID-19 Community Care Fund to support organizing and advocacy during the pandemic. Learn more here:]   Dear Friends, We are in uncharted territory. The Maine Initiatives staff are monitoring the ever changing situation with COVID-19, paying special attention to the response and needs of the grassroots and community-based organizations […]

What kind of community do we want?

Who are you? Who are we? What kind of community do we want? What are the values that our community, our state, our nation must embody and reflect? If you are like me, this is a confusing, even painful, time. Every day, it seems the values that, heretofore, seemed to unite and define us – […]

Moving Forward in Support of Justice and Equity in Maine

Our Statement: Moving Forward in Support of Justice and Equity in Maine Issued: November 22, 2016 Maine Initiatives is a community of people advancing social, economic, and environmental justice in Maine through informed, intentional, and collective action. As we process the results of the recent election and what it means for our work, we offer […]

There is much you can do. There is much we must do.

There is a fundamental paradox I confront in every election: that when I step behind that curtain into the solitude of the voting booth, I undertake a private, solemn act, but one that has an explicitly public intent. I think that is why for me — and for many people I spoke with yesterday — […]

What can we do?

“What can we do? What is the action item?” A friend posed these questions in response to Governor LePage’s recent racist statements. We, at Maine Initiatives, believe that we all have a responsibility to confront racism (in leaders, in language, in actions, in systems, in structures) if we reject the hostile environment it creates for people […]

“Justice is what love looks like in public”

In my public life, I find myself talking a lot about issues of justice and equity. But I have long reflected on the fact that at the end of the day, when I go home to my wife and three daughters, the language of “justice” and “equity” morphs into the language of love, compassion, and […]

More Than Money

We’re pleased to share this new video (produced by our wonderful friends over at Knack Factory) explaining our new “more than money” approach to community-philanthropy.  

Giving Tuesday

Sometimes an idea is just right. And it changes things. And everything is different as a result. Giving Tuesday is one of those ideas. Launched in New York City in 2012, Giving Tuesday brought people together through social media to collectively affirm that we are more than mere consumers and that social media can be […]

Who Are You in the Community?

In convening the Maine Insights conversations around the state, I ask this question a lot. In fact, I make it a point to start the Maine Insights conversations by asking all of the participants to introduce themselves and state one word that describes who they are in the community. The words we hear are amazing: […]

What is Our Capacity for Justice?

Throughout this autumn, we have been convening Maine Insights conversations around the state. Ten so far. To talk about justice and equity in Maine. And people come. It is incredible. Now, I am a glass-half-full person, no doubt. My default setting is to believe that everything is going to work out in the end. Perhaps […]

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