People of Color Fund

Total applications received in the last cycle: 43 for a total of $310,089
Grant dollars awarded last cycle: $152,349
Number of grants awarded: 21
Average award: $7,255
Percentage of applications that received grants: 49%
Maximum grant size: $7,500
Application deadline: March 15

Recent Grants from the People of Color Fund

Read how grants to help achieve racial equity in Maine are making a difference across the state, including Tree Street Youth in Lewiston, right.


In 2007, the River Rock Foundation gave a $1 million gift to the Maine Community Foundation to establish the first fund in Maine dedicated to addressing the needs of people of color. The objective of the fund is to help communities of color achieve greater racial equity in Maine. The People of Color Fund assists these efforts by supporting these communities as they seek to develop their leadership, knowledge, tools, and skills.

The targeted beneficiaries of this fund will be self-identified people of color. Specific populations include but are not limited to people of Native American, Latin, Central American, African, Arab, Asian, and Caribbean descent.


The goal of the People of Color Fund grant program is to help people of color in Maine to achieve greater equity by:

  • investing in the development of existing, new, and emerging leadership
  • supporting organizations that serve communities of color
  • assisting communities and individuals of color to affect systemic change

The People of Color Fund advisory committee has identified four areas of interest where it will concentrate its grantmaking. While applications for other projects will be accepted and reviewed, the committee will give priority to the areas of interest listed below when awarding grants.

  • Health: Thanks to support from the Maine Health Access Foundation to address health disparities in Maine, the People of Color Fund will award funding (maximum grant of $7,500) to support projects that:
  1. increase access to and understanding of health care in Maine for people of color;
  2. build the capacity of organizations that help people of color understand and gain access to health care in Maine.
  • Leadership Development: Projects or organizations that provide skill building, training, and mentorship for leaders of color
  • Civic Engagement: Projects or organizations that increase understanding of and involvement in public institutions and civic processes; this includes legislative processes, voting, and citizenship classes
  • Youth: Projects or organizations that do any one of the following:
  1. provide skill building, training, mentoring, apprenticeships, or internships;
  2. promote cultural awareness and preservation;
  3. address the particular challenges faced in their communities.

The People of Color Fund will award two types of grants:

  • Project Grants for initiatives that advance racial equity. Projects are generally defined as activities with clear start and end, with goals or objectives that are related to but not the same as the organization’s mission.
  • Organizational Development Grants to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of organizations that serve communities of color. This includes projects to:
    • strengthen governance and leadership
    • improve staff skills
    • create and implement strategic and organizational business plans
    • improve services and programs
    • improve financial management
    • expand financial and human resources such as staff and volunteers.

The People of Color Fund will not fund requests for general operating support. This includes requests for money to help pay rent, utility bills, staff salaries, or other expenses related to the daily operation of an organization.

Eligibility Requirements

The People of Color Fund supports organizations that give voice to people of color and that engage people of color in developing solutions and services in their home communities.

The fund will only support projects in which a majority of the participants or intended recipients are people of color.

All applicants must meet the Maine Community Foundation’s general grant eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for support, applying organizations must also:

  • provide services or support to an identifiable community of color in Maine
  • have people of color in leadership positions with significant responsibilities (such as an officer of the Board of Directors or a management level staff position)

People of Color Fund grants will not be made for:

  • Lobbying or religious activities
  • program expenses that have already been incurred
  • annual appeals or endowment fund campaigns

The People of Color Fund advisors use the following World Health Organization definition of health and wellness when reviewing grant applications: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

How to Apply

Complete the online grant application by clicking the link in the Grant Application box at the top right hand corner of this page. Online applications must be completed by March 15 at 11:59 p.m.

Applicants will be notified of the final decisions in early June.

Project Progress Report

All grant recipients will be required to submit a Project Progress Report approximately 10 months after receiving payment of the grant. Organizations that fail to file a progress report will not be eligible for future funding from Maine Community Foundation competitive grant programs for one year or until the missing report is filed.


If you have any further questions about the People of Color Fund, please contact Lelia DeAndrade by e-mail or by phone at (207) 412-0843.

People of Color Fund Advisors

The work of the fund is guided by an advisory committee composed of leaders from various racial-ethnic communities around the state. The committee members represent, professionally and/or personally, the Native American, Latino, African, African-American, and Asian communities of Maine. Current committee members are:

Barbara Ginley, Portland, Maine Migrant Health
Catherine Besteman, Portland, Colby College
Edgar Anderson, Portland, retired UPS
Edwige Charlot, Portland, artist
Fatuma Hussein, Lewiston, United Somali Women
Gloria Aponte Clark, Portland, Health Info Net
Jenna Vendill, Portland, Portland School Board
Lisa Sockabasin, Augusta, Maine Office of Health Equity
Pious Ali, Portland, Muskie School
Stefan Jackson, Bridgton, consultant