CONTACT: Megan Hannan, Executive Director 207.831.9893
FALMOUTH – The Maine Women’s Fund is excited to share its grant making designations for 2017. The Fund will give $80,000 to nine Maine organizations which serve a broad array of women and girls throughout the state.
The applicant pool of 65 different organizations included proposals reaching all of Maine’s 16 Counties individually, as well as 21 statewide proposals. The programs will reach women of varying ages, and about two-thirds will reach girls. Successful grants include funding in all the Fund’s priority areas: Education, Financial Skills and Literacy, Healthcare, Leadership, Personal Safety, and Policy.
“This has been a very exciting process this year” said Natalie Solotoff, Fund President. “The breadth of geographic, racial, and ethnic diversity is right in line with our values and wishes for the future direction of the Fund,” she continued, “Our work is centered on ensuring women and girls have access to the tools and opportunities they need to reach their potential, and our grantees this year are all an example of that.”
In the 12 months following the grant awards in June, the Maine Women’s Fund will reach over 2,000 people, in ten counties (Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc and Washington) in addition to several serving women and/or girls statewide. Six organizations have been MWF grantees in the past and three organizations are new to the Fund. Among new applications, a significant number are centered in the Lewiston/Auburn and Greater Portland areas, and many of them from the New Mainer community.
The funded organizations and their grant areas are:
$3,700 for Empowering Girls through the Arts
A Company of Girls will use the arts, an indispensable part of a complete education, to yield increased academic performance, reduced absenteeism and better skill building, helping girls in challenging circumstances to thrive and succeed. By offering programs free of charge, and providing transportation, they are able to reach youth most in need, developing imaginative capacity and nurturing future leaders with a spirit of inclusiveness and a desire to excel.
$10,000 for Financial Skills for Families & Community Health
Four Directions, a Native American nonprofit community development financial institution that provides responsible loan products and free financial services specifically designed for Native Americans in Maine, will offer financial capabilities outreach and education workshops including: tax preparation services, information on affordable loan options, budget and credit coaching to Native American women statewide. Four Directions responds to the particular needs of tribal members who often face systemic barriers to asset building.
$10,000 for Braiding Sweetgrass
Gedakina is a multi-generational indigenous-led endeavor, to strengthen and revitalize the cultural knowledge and identity of Native American youth, women and families. Braiding Sweetgrass is a multigenerational leadership development program by and for Wabanaki women and girls, who identified what type of community based leadership initiative would benefit them most. The program employs traditional indigenous epistemology that fosters women mentoring women through monthly women’s and girls’ gatherings.
$10,000 for Expanding Health Care for Uninsured LGBTQ People
Mabel Wadsworth Center’s Gaining Access Project (GAP) provides low income patients greater accessibility to Mabel’s preventative health services. This program is tailored to fit the needs of their transgender patients. The Mabel Wadsworth Center is the only feminist health center in Maine (and one of a few left in the country) serving Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Washington counties.
$10,000 for Expanding Justice through Public Policy
Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault will continue their ground-breaking work promoting public policies that ensure women and girls are safer from violence and have more access to economic and criminal justice, which increases evidence-based accountability for sexual violence offenders. They will expand survivor’s access to justice and ensure that existing rights are not infringed and that the critical needs of Maine women and girls will not go unheard.
$10,000 for Transitional Employment and Mentoring for Girls
Maine Inside Out’s transitional employment program supports 20-25 young women leaving Long Creek as they transition to independence after incarceration. They build on the positive relationships they create with young women in their Long Creek program to engage them with weekly group meetings, paid work opportunities, and strong female mentors right after release. This program supports young women on the path to stability.
$10,000 for a Rural Human Trafficking Educational Initiative
Safe Voices is working to raise awareness about human trafficking with youth likely to be targeted by traffickers and within systems with which victims are likely to interact (including schools and law enforcement) in Oxford and Franklin Counties. The 2015 Maine Human Trafficking Needs Assessment states the average victim of trafficking is white, between the ages of 14 and 30, with a history of sexual abuse or domestic violence, and equally likely to live in an urban or rural area.
$10,000 for Operating Support for the Oasis Free Clinics
Oasis Free Clinics provide free physical, mental, and restorative and preventative dental healthcare for uninsured women in Southern Midcoast Maine five days a week. Services include acute care, chronic disease management, mental health services and specialty care, as well as assistance access medications with their Community Assistance Prescription Program.
$6,300 for Girl’s Leadership Circle
Tree Street’s Girls Leadership Circle allows low income, at risk youth to meet monthly and explore topics of leadership and self-development. The program is designed to help girls think more critically about the ways their environment and circumstances shape their ability to affect change in their personal lives, the community and beyond.
About the Maine Women’s Fund
Since 1989, the Maine Women's Fund has been creating social change by investing in the power of women and the dreams of girls. The mission of the Maine Women’s Fund is to transform the lives of Maine women and girls through strategic grantmaking, community engagement and support to nonprofit organizations dedicated to social change. The Fund’s vision is a just and caring society in which Maine women and girls thrive so communities prosper. The Fund is the only Maine foundation focused exclusively on advancing women’s and girls’ economic security.
The Fund provides critical funding and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations in Maine within six strategic areas: Education; Financial Skills and Literacy; Healthcare; Leadership; Personal Safety and Public Policy.