The Maine Women’s Fund has announced its 2019 annual grants totaling $132,550 to 14 nonprofit organizations dedicated to transforming the lives of women and girls. Since its founding more than 30 years ago, the fund has made 450 bold investments totaling more than $2.4 million to more than 200 nonprofit organizations, according to a news release from the organization.

“We are staying true to our founding mothers’ mission 30 years ago to ensure women and girls in our communities have opportunities and pathways to grow and reach their full potential,” said Candace Walworth, board member and chairwoman of the Grants Committee, according to the release. “Our generous donors and sponsors allow us to fund new and established organizations so that they have the resources to strengthen women’s rights, create new opportunities, and economic well-being.”

The Grants Committee received letters of interest from 59 organizations of various sizes and from all areas of the state. Each committee member reviewed the requests and participated in a group discussion, then the committee invited 25 of those organizations to submit detailed proposals. After further assessment and due diligence by the committee, 14 organizations were selected for funding based on: strengths of the program and organization; the clearly identify need for the programs; the diversity of geographic area and populations reached through the program; and opportunities to make the greatest impact across the Maine Women’s Fund six funding areas: education, financial skills and literacy, healthcare, leadership, personal safety and policy.
2019 Grant Awards:
• The YWCA of Central Maine, Lewiston, $10,000 to be a pilot site for the national STEM program, Curated Pathways to Innovation.
• Tree Street Youth, Lewiston, $10,000 to support a program to improve the conflict resolution skills of teenage girls.
• Spurwink, South Portland, $10,000 to develop protocols for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children for all of Maine’s Children’s Advocacy Centers.
• Speak About It, Portland, $10,000 to present free high school sexual assault prevention and consent education programs throughout the state.
• Shaw House, Bangor, $6,250 for the Women In Leadership Program, a mentor program designed to provide inspiration and encouragement.
• New Ventures Maine, Augusta, $10,000 to provide the Start Over Start Strong financial education and training to women who are incarcerated.
• Maine Community Integration, Lewiston, $10,000 to expand its cultural enrichment program designed to meet the needs of African immigrant girls, called Isku Filan (Strong Girls).
• Mabel Wadsworth Center, Bangor, $10,000 for a client advocate position to reduce the rate of uninsured women and LGBTQ people by providing on-site MaineCare enrollment assistance.
• League of Women Voters of Maine Education Fund, Augusta, $10,000 to engage underrepresented communities including students, rural women, and immigrants in civic engagement activities.
• In Her Presence, Portland, $10,000 to engage elder women participants in “The Seniors,” a pilot program to build resiliency and improve social connections to reduce isolation.
• Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Portland, $10,000 to provide legal services to immigrant survivors of domestic violence and trafficking who face significant barriers to safety.
• Four Directions Development Program, Orono, $10,000 to support the Circuit Rider program which provides individual and group financial education in the five tribal communities.
• Equality Maine, Portland, $10,000 to simplify the process for changing gender markers on critical identity documents and bring this meaningful change to people statewide.
• ArtVan, Bath, $6,300 for the mobile program that partners with neighborhood housing for low-income families in Bath, Brunswick, Lewiston, Auburn and Biddeford.

The Maine Women’s Fund is the only Maine foundation focused exclusively on advancing gender equity. In 2017, the Maine Women’s Fund created a rolling Swift Social Justice Grants Program to compliment the Annual Grants Program and stand with women and girls from communities disproportionately impacted by the current policy and social landscape as they address immediate threats or take advantage of opportune moments.

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