GrantsAvailable Grants & DeadlinesPeople of Color Fund


People of Color Fund

Total grant dollars requested last cycle: $177,918
Total grant dollars awarded last cycle: $46,625
Percentage of proposals that received full funding: 5%
Percentage of proposals that received partial funding: 27%
Maximum grant size: $7,500
Average grant size last cycle: $6,661
Application deadline: March 15


In 2007, the River Rock Foundation gave the Maine Community Foundation a $1 million gift 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 communities as they 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.

Purpose and Strategies

The People of Color Fund grant program will:

  •  Invest in leaders (current, new, and emerging);
  •  Support organizations that serve communities of color;
  • Help people of color change systems that create barriers to their success.

The People of Color Fund will focus its grantmaking in three key areas. While applications for other projects will be accepted, the committee will give priority to projects or organizations that support:

  • Leadership Development: providing skill building, training, and/or mentorships for leaders of color
  • Civic Engagement: increasing understanding of and involvement in public institutions and civic processes; this includes legislative processes, voting, and citizenship classes
  • Youth: training, skill building, promoting cultural awareness and appreciation, helping youth overcome challenges
New in 2014

This year the People of Color Fund is pleased to announce two new special areas of grantmaking for 2014:


Thanks to a $50,000 grant 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.


This year, an additional $35,000 of funding will support programs that provide leadership development opportunities for youth of color (maximum grant $7,500). Priority will be given to programs that:

  •  include clear skill training
  •  include youth trainers or mentors
  •  promote cultural awareness, preservation and pride
  •  focus on youth of color who are at risk or vulnerable, especially youth:
    •  living in or near poverty
    •  facing barriers to education and health
    •  14 years old and younger
Types of Support

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

  •  Project Grants for activities that promote racial equity. Projects are activities with a clear start and end, with goals and objectives 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 board and leadership
    • improve staff skills
    • create and implement strategic and 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.
To be eligible for support, applying organizations also must:

  • 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).

In addition, all applicants must meet the Maine Community Foundation’s general grant eligibility requirements. 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
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 (PDF | RTF | Word Document) 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 (877) 700-6800.


  Grant Application Form
  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:

Catherine Besteman, Waterville

Ben Chin, Lewiston

Barbara Ginley, Portland

Fatuma Hussein, Lewiston

Stefan Jackson, Bridgton

Lisa Sockabasin, Augusta

Dominic Suru, Portland

Jenna Vendil, Portland


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