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June 19, 2024

Maine Community Foundation awards $430K to organizations helping people of color

The Maine Community Foundation said this week it awarded $430,000 to organizations addressing a broad range of needs among people of color.

The foundation’s BIPOC Fund awarded 39 grants totaling $350,000. Donors with advised funds awarded an additional 13 grants totaling $80,000. (See sidebar for full list of grantees.)

The grantees included Generational Noor, a Lewiston organization that works to educate immigrants about substance use disorder and mental health.

Another recipient is Khmer Maine, a nonprofit that works to improve the social and economic well-being of Cambodians in the state through cultural exchange, community-building and civic engagement. The group also partners to support members of Maine’s southeast Asian and Pacific Islander populations.

Khmer Maine has a proposal in the works to create Maine's first community center, in Westbrook, focused on serving Asian-American and Pacific Islander peoples.

This year, the foundation committed to funding BIPOC Fund grantees for two years. Grantees will receive a second disbursement in 2025.

The application for the next grant cycle will open on Feb. 15, 2026.

The grant program aims to help Mainers of color achieve greater equity, and operates by investing in nonprofits, working to change policy and trying to alleviate the impact of race-based discrimination and disparities.  

The fund was established in 2007. Leaders from various racial and ethnic communities around the state comprise its advisory committee. 

This year the program was boosted by funding from the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Maine Health Access Foundation and the Abbagadassett Family Fund.

The Maine Community Foundation is headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft, Mars Hill, Rockland and Rockport.

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