Racial Justice Fund Seeks Applications for Third Round of Grants

19 October 2023 , Posted in: Press Release

Augusta, ME – The Maine Justice Foundation is pleased to announce the third round of grants from the Racial Justice Fund. The Foundation will accept applications for grants of up to $10,000 from October 23-November 6, 2023.

The Racial Justice Fund supports education and advocacy aimed at achieving racial justice and addressing systemic racism. The Fund supports 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, healthcare, education, the workplace, 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. The Fund to date has issued 13 grants to organizations including the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, Healthy Acadia – Downeast Diversity, League of Women Voters of Maine Education Fund, Maine Inside Out, Sunlight Media Collective,  The Third Place, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, In Her Presence, Indigo Arts Alliance, Ladder to the Moon Network, and Mindbridge. Since launching the Fund in 2020, the Foundation has been actively engaged in fundraising and the Fund now stands at over $791,000. 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 worked to ensure access to justice for all Mainers for over 40 years,” said Michelle Draeger, Executive Director. “The Racial Justice Fund demonstrates our conscious commitment to this ideal for 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. All of our grantees to date have successfully launched programs that support diversity and address racial inequities across Maine. This critically important work supports BIPOC communities and 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 requests for proposals and will recommend grants. The current members are co-chairs Prof. Marcelle Medford and Dr. Evelyn Silver, 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, please 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.


Download Grant Guidelines

For questions or assistance submitting an application please contact Linsey MacDougall, Development & Programs Manager lmacdougall@justicemaine.org