Racial Justice Fund - 2021 Grant Cycle

2021 Request for Proposals and Grant Award Guidelines for the Racial Justice Fund

The Maine Justice Foundation's March 10, 2021 deadline for applications to the Racial Justice Fund is now past. 


The Racial Justice Fund of the Maine Justice Foundation was formed by 23 founding donors in the summer of 2020. The first grants will be awarded in early 2021. The Fund supports education and advocacy aimed at achieving racial justice and eliminating 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 this fund will be made to qualified organizations for programs to advance racial justice throughout Maine. Specifically, grants will be made to:

  1. Implement programs, processes, education, and systems at every level of Maine society, including, but not limited to, the legal system, health care, education, the workplace, food insecurity, the courts and housing that address racism.
  2. Identify interpersonal and systemic racism in organizations and systems and create solutions; and
  3. Assist in the creation of policies and organizational cultures devoid of racism.

Grant Amount

In 2021, Grants from the Racial Justice Fund will be up to $10,000.


Applicants must be Maine-based and must demonstrate the involvement and participation of Maine residents who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color.

Applicants must be engaged in, and grant funds may only be expended for, charitable or educational work in Maine. Grants will not be made to annual fundraising appeals, political entities, capital campaigns or endowments, or for program expenses that have already been incurred.

Grant recipients will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, age, handicap or national origin against (a) any person applying for employment or employed by the applicant with respect to any personnel action proposed or taken concerning the applicant or employee; or (b) any person seeking participation in, or the benefits or proceeds of, the work supported in whole or part by this grant.


Grant recipients will be expected to submit a brief six-month status report that includes a summary of work accomplished and an itemization of expenses incurred, grant funds spent and an accounting of unspent grant funds. An annual report is required at the conclusion of the grant (normally one year after award).

The Racial Justice Foundation will designate a Fund point of contact for each grant recipient. This individual will conduct one or more site visits and/or interviews with project staff during the period of the grant.

Funding Decisions

The Advisory Committee of the Racial Justice Fund considers many factors in the decision making, including, but not limited to: 1) the strength of the applications; 2) diversity of applications funded(including geographic and demographic distribution); and 3) opportunities to make the greatest impact. The Advisory Committee makes final recommendations to the Board of the Maine Justice Foundation, which votes upon the grant recommendations in accordance with the Charter for the Racial Justice Fund.

Return of Unspent Grant Funds

Grant funds may only be used for the project outlined in the grant proposal/application. Grant recipients will return any grant funds unexpended or uncommitted at the end of the grant period to the Maine Justice Foundation Racial Justice Fund.


  • February 24: Request for proposals announced. Application packet goes live on website.
  • March 10, 5pm: Deadline for Applications.  Online applications due by 5pm. If applicants have technical barriers and must submit a paper application, please email Matthew Scease at mscease@justicemaine.org to request an application form. Applications must be typed and must be postmarked by March 10 and addressed to:  Michelle Draeger, Executive Director, Maine Justice Foundation, 40 Water Street, Hallowell, ME  04347.
  • March 15-19:  Supplemental information requests sent to Applicants if needed.
  • March 11-24:  Review of Applications by RJF Grants Committee, and interviews/presentations to Grants Subcommittee.
  • March 31:  Grant Awards announced by Maine Justice Foundation via website, press release and letter to successful grant applicants.
  • April 5:  Grantees must execute Applicant Assurances.
  • April 30:  Grant Disbursements made by MJF.
  • October 1:  Six-month status reports due from Grantees that includes a summary of work accomplished and an itemization of expenses incurred, grant funds spent and an accounting of unspent grant funds.
  • Apr. 29, 2022:  Annual Report due including summary of work, complete itemization of expenses incurrent, grant funds spent and accounting of unspent grant funds.
  • May 6, 2022:    Unspent grant funds to be returned to Maine Justice Foundation for the benefit of the Racial Justice Fund.

Link to Application Form

To apply, please click here for the application form. Applications are due by 5pm, Wednesday, March 10, 2021.