Table of Contents
Message from the Executive Director
Spotlight on Impact
A Message from the Executive Director

I came to make my career in non-profits and philanthropy somewhat by accident, but a very happy accident it has been. In college I truly began to understand feminism, even though my whole life had been the embodiment of it.  
I learned about the power of organizing for social change during my 15 years at the American Cancer Society, and took that and honed it to women's issues at Planned Parenthood. At Frannie Peabody Center, I learned that by building alliances and collaborating with unlikely partners, we could talk about a longterm issue in a way that people would still feel is relevant.
When the opportunity to join the Maine Women's Fund opened up, I thought "I've wanted that job since I met Karin Anderson (former Executive Director) in 1993. If I was at the Fund, I could do everything I have dreamed of doing." This is where my career has been heading, subliminally, all along, and I am so grateful to be a part of this organization.  

And today, it is such a pleasure to share our 2017 grantees with you! We started this round of grantmaking on a very high note: more letters of interest than we have ever received, more first time applications, and more from organizations serving communities we have not traditionally reached. This breadth of interested organizations is what we want to see every year in the future, knowing this is how we can make our strongest impact.
Next month, I'll talk more about our concrete plans to be more impactful, to reach our collective goals, and to be a leading voice in the community of women and girls. For today, though, the spotlight is on our new grantees, so with no further ado, read on!
Thank you, always, for what you do and for promoting women's and girls' leadership.

  Megan Hannan
  Executive Director

Spotlight on Impact

Announcing  Our 2017 Grants! 
$3,700 for Empowering Girls through the Arts                                                             
A Company of Girls uses the arts, an indispensable part of a complete education, to yield increased academic performance, reduced absenteeism and better skill building, helping girls in challenging circumstances to thrive and succeed. By offering programs free of charge, and providing transportation, they are able to reach youth most in need, developing imaginative capacity and nurturing future leaders with a spirit of inclusiveness and a desire to excel. 

$10,000 for Financial Skills for Families & Community Health                                 
Four Directions, a Native American nonprofit community development financial institution that provides responsible loan products and free financial services specifically designed for Native Americans in Maine, will offer financial capabilities outreach and education workshops including: tax preparation services, information on affordable loan options, budget and credit coaching to Native American women statewide. Four Directions responds to the particular needs of tribal members who often face systemic barriers to asset building.   

$10,000 for Braiding Sweetgrass                                                                                                    
Gedakina is a multi-generational indigenous-led endeavor, to strengthen and revitalize the cultural knowledge and identity of Native American youth, women and families. Braiding Sweetgrass is a multigenerational leadership development program by and for Wabanaki women and girls, who identified what type of community based leadership initiative, would benefit them most. The program employs traditional indigenous epistemology that fosters women mentoring women through monthly women's and girls' gatherings.  

$10,000 for Expanding Health Care for Uninsured LGBTQ People                                   
Mabel Wadsworth Center is the only independent feminist health center in Maine (and one of a few left in the country) and serves Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Washington counties. Mabel's Gaining Access Project (GAP) provides low income, uninsured patients greater accessibility to the Center's comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. This year they are adapting the program so it better fits the needs of their transgender patients, especially those with limited resources. 

$10,000 for Expanding Justice through Public Policy                                                              
MECASA works to end sexual violence and support high quality sexual violence prevention and response statewide. They will continue their ground-breaking work promoting public policies that ensure that women and girls are safer from violence, have more access to economic and criminal justice, and increase evidence-based accountability for offenders of sexual violence.  They will expand survivor's access to justice and ensure that existing rights are not infringed and that the critical needs of Maine women and girls will not go unheard. 

$10,000 for Transitional Employment and Mentoring for Girls                                           
Maine Inside Out, a Portland-based arts and social justice organization, collaborates with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people to create and share original theater. Their statewide transitional employment supports 20-25 young women leaving Long Creek Youth Development Center as they transition to independence. MIO builds on the positive relationships forged with young women when incarcerated to engage them right after release, with weekly group meetings, paid work opportunities, and strong female mentors. 

$10,000 for a Rural Human Trafficking Educational Initiative                                    
Safe Voices, the domestic violence resource center serving Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin Counties, will raise awareness about human trafficking in Oxford and Franklin Counties with youth likely to be targeted by traffickers and within systems that victims are likely to interact with (schools and law enforcement). Rural youth are particularly vulnerable, and through this grant Safe Voices will provide education and advocacy to meet their needs and foster a coordinated community response. 

$10,000 for Operating Support                                                                                             
Oasis Free Clinics provides free health (physical and mental) and dental care (restorative and preventative) five days a week for uninsured women in Southern Midcoast Maine. Services include acute care, chronic disease management, mental health services and specialty care, as well as assistance accessing medications with their Community Assistance Prescription Program. Oasis Free Clinics serves patients from Cumberland and Sagadahoc Counties. 

$6,300 for Girl's Leadership Circle                                                                                           
Tree Street Youth is designed to be a place to integrate new and existing programs and services for children of all backgrounds in economically challenged downtown Lewiston neighborhoods. Girl's Leadership Circle allows low income, at-risk girls, to meet monthly to explore topics of leadership and self-development. The program is designed to help girls think more critically about the ways their environment and circumstances shape their ability to affect change in their personal lives, the community and beyond.

Congratulations to our 2017 grantees. At a time in this Country where the voices of women and girls are missing at so many tables, the work of these stellar organizations is especially important.  Each of these grants helps us achieve our mission to transform the lives of Maine women and girls through strategic grantmaking, community engagement and support to nonprofit organizations dedicated to social change.

This year, our applicant pool of 65 different organizations included proposals reaching all of Maine's 16 Counties individually, as well as 21 statewide proposals. Proposals planned to reach women of varying ages, and about two-thirds planned to reach girls. Applicants applied for funding in all the Fund's priority areas: Education, Financial Skills and Literacy, Healthcare, Leadership, Personal Safety, and Policy. Education and Leadership were the most common priority areas identified by applicants. About a third of applicants requested general operations funding, and the remaining two thirds requested funding for specific projects. This year over half the applicants had never before applied to Fund. Among our new applications, a significant number are centered in the Lewiston/Auburn and Greater Portland areas, many of them from the New Mainer community.

We are very proud of the phenomenal list of organizations that we'll be funding this year.  Together, they'll allow the Maine Women's Fund to reach over 2,000 people, in ten specific counties (Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc and Washington) in addition to several serving women and/or girls statewide. Six of organizations have been MWF grantees in the past and three organizations are new to the Fund. We're thrilled that these grants will help us reach people of different ages, geographic areas, races and ethnicities.  We are proud to have been purposeful about funding in each of our priority areas as well.  With $80,000 in grants, we're proud to be supporting organizations which take a small amount of funding and make a big difference for women and girls!

Ever wonder makes a successful proposal? Here are a few quotes from the reviewers about the proposals that rose to the top:
  • Power in investing in women as a critical step for social change. 
  • Organizational commitment to Girl Power. 
  • Proven track record.
  • Community-based approach.
  • Defined and measurable goals.
  • Collaborative approach.
  • Diverse board which means they walk their talk.
  • Respected organization.
  • Strong outcomes for a marginalized population.
  • Seeking systemic change.
  • Significant impact in an underserved area.
  • Empowers.
These are some of the things that make a strategic proposal stand out among all the others. This year, these grants are complimented by the ongoing Swift Social Justice Grants awards, which are strategic for the Fund because they are developed by and for women in communities most impacted by the current cultural and political landscape.

Since 1989, the Maine Women's Fund has been creating social change by investing in the power of women and girls. The Fund is the only Maine Foundation focused exclusively on advancing women and girls. In
25+ years of grantmaking for and by women and girls, we've given away more than
$2.1 M in grants supporting 
over 200 different organizations

On behalf of the staff and board of the Maine Women's Fund, thank you for reading and for all you do to support Maine women and girls.

Office location:
74 Lunt Road, Suite 100, Falmouth, ME 04105 

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