HALLOWELL — The Maine Justice Foundation is pleased to announce the inaugural grant cycle for its Racial Justice Fund. The Foundation will accept applications for grants of up to $10,000 until the deadline on Wednesday, March 10.

“Grants from the Racial Justice Fund will support efforts to advance racial justice across organizations the state that actively involve and impact Mainers who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color,” said Michelle Giard Draeger, executive director of the Maine Justice Foundation. “We look forward to hearing from those Mainers who are working to eliminate racial disparity at every level of Maine society. This is vital work for the future of Maine and for our collective striving toward justice for our neighbors, no matter their race. At the Maine Justice Foundation, we believe that fairness matters. We cannot espouse such an ideal without taking a stand on racial justice and supporting those best positioned to make a difference in the most critical cause of our time.”

The Request for Proposals, guidelines, and application form can be found online at https://www.justicemaine.org/rfp-guidelines-racial-justice-fund/.

The Racial Justice Fund supports education and advocacy aimed at achieving racial justice and eliminating racism. The Fund will support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color by forging social, systemic, and economic solutions to combat racism in Maine.

Grants from the Fund will be made to qualified organizations for programs to advance racial justice throughout Maine, at every level of society, including but not limited to the legal system, healthcare, education, the workplace, food insecurity, the courts and housing. Applicants must be Maine-based and must demonstrate the involvement and participation of Maine residents who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color.

Corporations and philanthropic leaders across Maine joined forces in 2020 to raise an initial $270,000 to combat racial injustice and inequity throughout the state through the Racial Justice Fund of the Foundation. These corporate FOUNDERS and civic leaders are as follows:

AARP Maine, Androscoggin Bank, AT&T, Baker Newman Noyes, Bangor Savings Bank, Bernstein Shur, Central Maine Power, Cross Insurance, Deighan Wealth Advisors, Drummond Woodsum, Eaton Peabody, F.L.Putnam Investment Management Company, Gorham Savings Bank, HM Payson, Hancock Lumber, Hannaford Supermarkets, Harvard Pilgrim, Northern Light Health, Pierce Atwood, Preti Flaherty, RM Davis, and Verrill and the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation

Since launching the Fund in September of last year, we have been actively engaged in fundraising to increase it. The Fund now stands at $351,000, and the Foundation continues to seek donations.

The Fund’s Advisory Committee has formulated the specific goals for grantmaking, issued the Request for Proposals and will recommend grants. The current members are: co-chairs Prof. Marcelle Medford and Dr. Evelyn Silver, Tim Dentry, Michael-Corey Hinton, Mary Herman, Angela Okafor, Reginald Parson, Francys Perkins, Spencer Thibodeau, Bill Harwood and Janis Cohen.

For a full description of the Racial Justice Fund and the Advisory Committee, please visit https://www.justicemaine.org/grants-and-programs/racial-justice-fund/.

The Maine Justice Foundation, founded in 1983 as the Maine Bar Foundation, is the state’s leading funder of civil legal aid for poor and vulnerable Mainers. Find us online and support the Racial Justice Fund at www.justicemaine.org.