Annual Grants

Congratulations to our 2017 grantees. At a time in this Country where the voices of women and girls are missing at so many tables, the work of these stellar organizations is especially important!  Each of these grants helps us achieve our mission, to transform the lives of Maine women and girls through strategic grantmaking, community engagement and support to nonprofit organizations dedicated to social change.

This year, our applicant pool of 65 different organizations included proposals reaching 11 of Maine’s 16 Counties individually, as well as 21 statewide proposals. Proposals planned to reach women of varying ages, and about two-thirds planned to reach girls. Applicants applied for funding in all the Fund’s priority areas: Education, Financial Skills and Literacy, Healthcare, Leadership, Personal Safety, and Policy. Education and Leadership were the most common priority areas identified by applicants. About a third of applicants requested general operations funding with the remaining two thirds requesting funding for specific projects. This year over half the applicants had never before applied to Fund. Amongst our new applications, a significant number are centered in the Lewiston/Auburn and Greater Portland areas, many of them from the New Mainer community.

We are very proud of the phenomenal list of organizations that we’ll be funding this year (link).

Together, they’ll allow the Maine Women’s Fund to reach over 2,000 people, in ten specific counties (Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc and Washington) in addition to several serving women and/or girls statewide.  Six of organizations have been MWF grantees in the past and three organizations are new to the Fund and have never been funded before. We’re thrilled that these grants will help us reach people of different ages, geographic areas, races, ethnicities, and genders.  We are proud to have been purposeful about funding in each of our priority areas as well.  With $80,000 in grants, we’re proud to be supporting organizations who take a small amount of funding and make a big difference for women and girls!

Ever wonder makes a successful proposal? Here are a few quotes from the reviewers about the proposals that rose to the top:

  • Power in investing in women as a critical step for social change.
  • Organizational commitment to Girl Power.
  • Proven track record.
  • Community-based approach.
  • Defined and measurable goals.
  • Collaborative approach.
  • Diverse board which means they walk their talk.
  • Respected organization.
  • Strong outcomes for a marginalized population.
  • Seeking systemic change.
  • Significant impact in an underserved area.
  • Empowers.

These are some of the things that make a strategic proposal stand out among all the others.   

This year, these grants are complimented by the ongoing Swift Social Justice Grants (link) awards, which are strategic for the Fund because they are developed by and for women in communities most impacted by the current cultural and political landscape.

As part of the review process, Grants Committee members (made up of board and former board members, former grantees, and other philanthropists with expertise in our funding areas) are asked to summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the proposals. We share these notes with all interested organizations who apply, as we think that is vital to strengthening their future proposals to the Fund, as well as other Funders. This allows the Fund to support organizations committed to social change, even if we are unable to Fund an application in a given year.

Since 1989, the Maine Women’s Fund has been creating social change by investing in the power of women and girls. The Fund is the only Maine Foundation focused exclusively on advancing women and girls. In 27 years of grantmaking for and by women and girls, we’ve given away more than $2.1 M in grants supporting over 200 different organizations.