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: $10,000
Application deadline: February 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 People of Color Fund supports organizations led by and serving people of Native American, Latino, African, Arab, and Asian descent.


The maximum grant awarded through the People of Color Fund grant program is $10,000.


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
  • changing policies and practices that negatively impact people of color because of their race.

The People of Color Fund has three focus areas. 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 $10,000) 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.
  • Youth: Projects or organizations that provide education, mentoring, training, and cultural preservation and awareness.
  • Economic opportunity: Projects or organizations that improve economic well-being, such as increasing access to employment, adult education, and professional development, supporting innovation, and promoting business development.

Types of Support

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

Project grants for new or expanding projects.

  • New projects are those being implemented for the first time.
  • Expanding projects have already been successfully implemented and will serve 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 that run for more than two years are not considered new projects and are not eligible for grants unless they are expanding.

Capacity-building grants to increase the efficiency and effectiveness or organizations that serve communities of color. Capacity-building requests must include an explanation of how the activities will improve the organization. This includes:

  • Board, staff, and/or volunteer training
  • Creating and implementing business plans
  • Improving services and programs
  • Improving financial management.

Capacity-building requests must include an explanation of how the activities will improve the organization.

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.

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.

For more information, see our grant guidelines page.

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. This means:

  • Only organizations that have people of color in positions of leadership on staff or board will be considered for funding.
  • The fund will only support projects in which a majority of the participants or intended recipients are people of color.

Applicants for People of Color Fund grants 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.

People of Color Fund grants can only be used to support projects or activities that occur after the grant has been awarded, usually by June 15. This means that requests for support for any activities or expenses that occur before June 15 will be declined.

Ineligible expenses
The People of Color Fund grant program cannot be used to support the following activities, programs, or expenses:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Major capital expenses: This includes purchasing building, land, or vehicles.
  • Camperships: This includes funding for admission, enrollment, tuition or other costs related to short-term programs that are primarily recreational or social.
  • Endowments, capital campaigns, or annual appeals.

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 February 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
Jenna Vendill, Portland, Portland School Board
Lisa Sockabasin, Augusta, Maine Office of Health Equity
Pious Ali, Portland, Muskie School
Stefan Jackson, Bridgton, consultant