Bowdoin College’s Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good is opening its 2021–22 Common Good Grant application process. This year, community organizations may apply for a grant of up to $2,500 or for a $5,000 grant that may increase their impact on their constituents.

This year’s Common Good Grant student committee commits to funding at least one qualified grant in each of the five following areas: justice, equity and anti-racism; arts, history, and culture; health and basic needs; adult and youth education and development; environment, agriculture and sustainability.

The committee will likely fund more than one grant from some of these categories, according to the college, but this commitment is based on the committee recognizing the importance of a diverse group of nonprofits that do many different types of important work.

The committee has also committed to funding at least one Black-led and one indigenous-led nonprofit. Black, indigenous, or people of color-led organizations working anywhere in Maine may apply for a Common Good Grant in 2021–22. They can, but do not have to, fit into any of the above five areas of emphasis.

All 501(c)3 organizations that are based in or serve communities in Bath, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Brunswick, Freeport, Georgetown, Harpswell, Lisbon, Lisbon Falls, Phippsburg, Topsham, Woolwich or Yarmouth are eligible to apply.

Started in 2001, the Common Good Grant supports local nonprofit groups by offering funding to maintain existing programs and to start new initiatives while educating Bowdoin students on the importance of local nonprofits and the foundations that support them.

Since its inception, the Common Good Grant Program has awarded more than $300,000 to fund 173 projects in the greater Brunswick area; in recent years, the total amount awarded has exceeded $20,000 annually.

The McKeen Center is requesting a brief letter of intent in November, from which it will invite organizations to complete a full application in the new year. More information about the Common Good Grant, including the letter of intent, can be found on the Common Good Grant website, via

All one-page letters of intent must be emailed to Tom Ancona ( by noon on Monday, Nov. 8. Organizations will be notified in December about their status, and full grant applications would be due in January, with site visits for finalists taking place in March. The program will conclude with an awards ceremony in late spring. Please contact Tom Ancona with any questions about the program.

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