Maine Justice Foundation Awards Grants to Six Maine Groups Working for Racial Justice and Equity

19 December 2023 , Posted in: Press Release

Augusta, ME – The Maine Justice Foundation has awarded grants from its Racial Justice Fund to six Maine groups for 2023. The goal of the Fund is to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color statewide to forge social, systemic, and economic solutions that will address racism and inequities in our culture, organizations, and systems.

“We are delighted to announce these Racial Justice Fund grants to six inspiring organizations. The grants result from thoughtful consideration and hard work by the Fund’s volunteer Advisory Committee, the Foundation’s Board and staff, and generous donations by many corporate and individual leaders,” said Michelle Draeger, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We believe these projects will meaningfully advance racial justice and equity for BIPOC Mainers.”

The Foundation is issuing six grants between $5,000 and $10,000 during this third year of grants, an increase in both organizations supported and funds distributed from the inaugural year. The grantees and the projects supported are:

  • $10,000 Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project: Racial Justice Fellowship Program | A grant to provide a paid fellowship opportunity for law school students who identify as immigrants or have lived immigrant experience.
  • $10,000 Ladder to the Moon Network: Expanding Reach through Digital Media | A Grant to expand the reach of Amjambo Africa, a publication that provides vital information directed toward immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking community members, through digital channels including radio, podcast, and videos.
  • $10,000 Maine Inside Out: Mountain View Correctional Facility Theatre Production | A grant to engage BIPOC young men incarcerated at Mountain View Correctional Facility in weekly workshops with Maine Inside Out theatre facilitators to create and share two original plays.
  • $10,000 Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services (MCILS): Fighting Racial Justice in the Courtroom | A grant to host a series of DEI trainings for attorneys who provide criminal indigent legal services in Maine.
  • $5,000 In Her Presence: Frances Warde Home | A grant to ensure the availability of culturally appropriate and nutritious food at the Frances Warde Home for sheltered asylum seekers in Portland, ME.
  • $5,000 Alpha Legal Foundation – Maine Justice Corps: Maine Justice Corps | A grant to support a Maine JusticeCorps pilot program in Androscoggin and Cumberland Counties that will place a minimum of (7) full-time BIPOC AmeriCorps members as legal navigators in courthouses.

“This is the third cycle of grant awards that the Racial Justice Advisory Committee has reviewed” says Evelyn Silver, Racial Justice Fund Advisory Committee Co-Chair. “Each year, we are gratified to receive many excellent proposals to further the work of racial equity across Maine. The grants announced today reflect the values and goals of the Maine Justice Foundation and the generous donors who have allowed us to further this important work.”

“I am honored to be part of history once again with respect to funding six outstanding local organizations committed to racial justice and equity in Maine,” says Reginald Parson, member of the Racial Justice Fund Advisory Committee. “I was impressed with the creative projects that were presented and I look forward to seeing how each project develops in the coming year. I have also been blessed to work with a group of dedicated professionals on the Racial Justice Fund Advisory Committee. Everyone is committed to making a difference and this gives me the inspiration to keep moving forward in a time of turmoil and uncertainty in America and the world.”

 Since the inaugural grant round, corporations, philanthropic leaders, and individual donors across Maine have given an additional $290,000 raising the fund to $815,000 to combat racial injustice and inequity through the Foundation’s Racial Justice Fund. This growth has allowed the Foundation to issue an additional $50,00 in grants in 2023. The founders of the Fund are:

AARP Maine, Androscoggin Bank, AT&T, Baker Newman Noyes, Bangor Savings Bank, Bernstein Shur, Central Maine Power, Cross Insurance, BirchBrook, Drummond Woodsum, Eaton Peabody, F.L. Putnam Investment Management Company, Gorham Savings Bank, HM Payson, Hancock Lumber, Hannaford Supermarkets, Harvard Pilgrim, Northern Light Health, Pierce Atwood, Preti Flaherty, RM Davis, Verrill, and the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.

The Fund’s Advisory Committee issued a request for proposals and reviewed applications. The current members are co-chairs Dr. Evelyn Silver and Prof. Marcelle Medford, Mary Herman, Reginald Parson, Francys Perkins, Shelly Okere, Bill Harwood, and Janis Cohen.

The Maine Justice Foundation, founded in 1983 as the Maine Bar Foundation, is the state’s leading funder of civil legal aid and is committed to ensuring access to justice for all Mainers. Find us online and support the Racial Justice Fund at

FMI: Contact Michelle G. Draeger, Executive Director: (207) 620-1351,