Community Building Grant Program

2018 Community Building Grant Statistics

  • Total applications received in last grant cycle: 445 applications for a total of $3,453,366 in requests
  • Grant dollars awarded: $1,102,142
  • Number of grants awarded: 176
  • Average award: $6,262
  • Percentage of applications that received grants: 40
  • Grants by county and region

Changes to the 2019 Community Building Application

What we did:
  • Simplified and clarified the questions
  • Added more detailed information about the questions and examples, instead of links to our website
  • Eliminated repetitive questions and added questions specifically about Community Building criteria
  • Changed word limits to make applications shorter and easier to complete.

About the Program

The Community Building Grant Program invests in local projects and organizations that work to build strong communities. It is a grassroots grant program focused on efforts to use, improve and/or increase access to community assets. These community assets include natural and built resources, as well as community members, their views and voices, local leaders, and the relationships or connections among people and organizations across the community.

The Community Building Grant Program is one of the only grant programs in Maine that supports a broad range of projects and organizations across the entire state, from the arts to youth development. It is also MaineCF’s largest grant program and receives more than 400 applications annually.


The maximum grant awarded through the Community Building Grant program is $10,000.

Deadline for Applications

The deadline for grant applications to this program is February 15.


The Community Building Grant Program will only support projects and organizations that meet all the following criteria. Projects or organizations must…

1. Invest in people by strengthening skills, knowledge, abilities, and/or well-being of community members
2. Maximize assets by improving access to or the use of community-based resources, including people, organizations, and built and natural environments
3. Engage community by involving those who will benefit in the design, delivery, or evaluation of project activities and goals.

Types of Support

The Community Building Grant Program awards two types of grants: project grants and capacity-building grants.

Project grants: Project grants are only for new or expanding projects that meet all three criteria listed above.
  • New projects are those that are being implemented for the first time.
  • Expanding projects have already been successfully implemented and will be serving a new or different population, geographic area, or include new services or content other than what was previously implemented.
Projects must have clear start and end dates and have defined goals or outcomes. Projects running for more than two years are not considered new projects and are not eligible for grants unless they are expanding.

Capacity-building grants: Capacity-building grants support community based-organizations that are actively engaged in work to strengthen their community. These grants will be awarded to support activities that will make an organization stronger, more successful, or more efficient. Capacity-building activities may include but are not limited to:
  • training for board, staff, or volunteers
  • improving financial management or information systems
  • acquiring technology to improve or expand services
  • developing new sources of earned income
  • strategic planning focused on achieving a specific goal.
Capacity-building requests must include an explanation of how the activities will improve the organization.


To be considered for project grants, the application must describe how the proposed project meets all three criteria. To be considered for capacity-building support, the application must describe how the applicant organization meets all three criteria.

Community Building Grants will be awarded to support organizations and projects that meet all three criteria and that have the greatest potential to positively impact the community.

For more information, please see our grant guidelines page.

Eligible expenses
Project and capacity-building requests may include staff time, technology, materials, and equipment that are necessary  to achieve the planned goals or outcomes.

Applicants for Community Building are encouraged to request support for “indirect” or administrative costs. Indirect costs must be no more than 20% of the total amount requested from MaineCF. To request support for indirect costs, include a line on the project budget labeled “Indirect” and calculate 20% of the total amount requested from MaineCF. The total requested may not exceed $10,000, the maximum award amount. Note: Do not use any other terms to indicate indirect costs and do not provide an itemized list of costs.

Community Building Grants can only be used to support projects or activities that occur after the grant has been awarded, usually by June 1. This means that requests for support for any activities or expenses that occur before June 1 will be declined.

Ineligible expenses
The Community Building Grant Program cannot be used to support the following activities, programs, or expenses:

1. Ongoing activities: This includes activities that are part of the organization’s mission, with no clear start or end date, or those that have been implemented for more than two years and are continuing without expansion.
2. General operating expenses: This includes any expenses related to the daily operation or running of the organization. For example, rent, utilities, office equipment and supplies, insurance and general salaries for administrative staff or the executive director. While operating expenses may be included as “indirect costs,” they are not eligible as full requests.
3. Major capital expenses: This includes purchasing assets such as buildings, land, or vehicles.
4. Camperships: This includes funding for admission, enrollment, tuition or other costs related to short-term programs that are primarily recreational or social.
5. Endowments, capital campaigns or annual appeals

If you would like a preview of the questions in the application
, please click here to download a Word document. Note that this is for reference only; applications are only accepted through the online system.