The Maine Justice Foundation will hand out a second round of grants from the Racial Justice Fund. The Foundation will accept applications for grants of up to $10,000 from June 1-15. The grant guidelines and application form can be found online at https://www.grantinterface.com/sl/qxIsfa — the link will go live at 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 1.

The Racial Justice Fund supports education and advocacy aimed at achieving racial justice and addressing systemic 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, health care, education, the work place, food insecurity, natural resources, 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.

In the wake of racially motivated murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor among others in early 2020, corporations and philanthropic leaders across Maine joined forces to raise an initial $270,000 to launch the Racial Justice Fund of the Maine Justice Foundation to combat racial injustice and inequity throughout the state. In early 2021, the Foundation issued six grants to: the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, Healthy Acadia – Downeast Diversity, League of Women Voters of Maine Education Fund, Maine Inside Out, Sunlight Media Collective and The Third Place. Since launching the Fund in 2020, the Foundation has been actively engaged in fundraising and the Fund now stands at $641,126, representing over $370,000 in growth. With racially motivated violence still topping the headlines almost daily, our work is far from done. The Foundation continues to seek donations to fund programs that address systemic racism and inequities throughout our communities.

“The Maine Justice Foundation has long supported the ideal of access to justice for all Mainers,” said Michelle Draeger, executive director. “The Racial Justice Fund demonstrates our conscious commitment to this ideal not only for white Mainers but also for our fellow Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community members who may be deprived of equitable treatment or suffer the effects of systemic racism because they are BIPOC. Our first round of grantees have successfully launched programs that support diversity and address racial inequities across Maine. This critically important work not only supports BIPOC communities but it also engenders understanding of systemic inequities so we can all participate in solutions.”

The Fund’s Advisory Committee has formulated the specific goals for grantmaking, issued the inaugural and current request for proposals and will recommend grants. The current members are co-chairs Prof. Marcelle Medford and Dr. Evelyn Silver, Michael-Corey Hinton, Mary Herman, Reginald Parson, Francys Perkins, Bill Harwood, Janis Cohen, and Shelly Anarado Okere.

For a full description of the Racial Justice Fund and the Advisory Committee, 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

FMI: Contact Michelle G. Draeger, executive director: 207-620-1351, [email protected] or Linsey MacDougall, Development and Programs manager: 207-620-1354, [email protected]