PORTLAND & ELLSWORTH – Grant funding through the Maine Community Foundation’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Fund has increased by 34 percent since 2019. This year, MaineCF awarded a total $202,000 to 25 Maine organizations, municipalities and tribes, compared with $151,000 in 2019. 

“The increase in contributions to MaineCF’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Fund over the past two years shows us that our donors are uniting to dismantle policies and systems that perpetuate racism,” said Laura Young, MaineCF vice president of philanthropy. 

Grants awarded in 2021 through the BIPOC fund include initiatives such as health, economic opportunity, employment, COVID-19-related issues and others. MaineCF offers mentorship and development training for BIPOC leaders who are building racial equity through their BIPOC-led nonprofit organizations. 

“We know that grant dollars are needed to address racial equity in Maine and that the work of BIPOC-led organizations benefits everyone in the state,” said MaineCF Senior Program Officer Gloria Aponte C. “This fund is unique because only organizations with BIPOC leadership are eligible to apply for grants. Increased contributions to the BIPOC fund are addressing the strengths and needs of communities by the communities.”

2021 grantees included:

  • Coded by Young Women of Color, to pilot a virtual, statewide program to teach young women technology skills
  • Eastern Woodlands Rematriation, for programs supporting the reclamation of Wabanaki food and healing practices
  • Lewiston Auburn Youth Network, to create an advocacy training program for 250 youth to strengthen activism and engagement for inclusive community development
  • Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, to strengthen organizations that address COVID-19 needs with a focus on community referrals for culturally appropriate food and social support services for families.

The complete list of grants is available at www.mainecf.org/apply-for-a-grant/recent-grants/.

Established in 2007 with a gift from the River Rock Foundation, the BIPOC Fund is designed to help people of color in Maine achieve greater equity. Grants to nonprofit programs or organizations focus on three areas: addressing health disparities, supporting youth and improving economic opportunities. 

The 2022 BIPOC Fund grant application opens at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, and closes Monday, Feb. 15, 2022. A virtual information session will be held noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 15. Pre-registration is required.

For more information on the BIPOC Fund, please contact Gloria Aponte C. at gaponteclarke@mainecf.org

Headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft, Rockport, and Mars Hill, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to provide strong investments, personalized service, local expertise, and strategic giving to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.mainecf.org.