Sixteen nonprofit organizations dedicated to transforming the lives of women and girls have been awarded annual grant funding totaling $183,975 by the Maine Women’s Fund. In the past 30-plus years the fund has made more than 490 bold investments totaling more than $2.6 million to 230 organizations investing in the power of women and girls across the state, according to a news release from Kimberly Crichton, executive director.

“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,” said Dr. Candace Walworth, board member and chairwoman of the Grants Committee.

According to the release, the Grants Committee received letters of interest from 68 nonprofit organizations of various sizes and from all areas of the state. Each member of the committee reviewed all requests and participated in a group discussion; from there, 27 of those organizations were invited to submit a more detailed proposal. After further assessment and due diligence by the committee, 16 organizations were selected for funding based on: strengths of the program and organization; the clearly identified need for the program; the diversity of geographic area and populations reached through the program; and opportunities to make the greatest impact and further the mission across the Maine Women’s Fund six funding areas: education, financial skills and literacy, healthcare, leadership, personal safety, and policy.

2020 Grant Awards listed in alphabetical order:
• A Company of Girls builds self-confidence and resiliency, cultivates leadership skills, and creates a community of tolerance and acceptance where uniqueness is celebrated and creativity thrives through experiences in theater, visual and culinary arts.
• ArtVan serves children ages 3-18 in 390 family apartment units in Bath, Brunswick, and Auburn through regularly scheduled visits. Its art therapy approach lets poverty-related stressors be pro-actively and externally expressed through art.
• The Elder Abuse Institute of Maine will pilot a warm line aimed at helping Maine’s 16,000 home health workers to identify elder abuse and to report cases more effectively and frequently. Only one in 24 cases of elder abuse is currently reported.
• The Hope and Justice Project Inc. will implement wellness recovery action plan workshops in three areas of Aroostook County to provide survivors of domestic violence with a working plan for achieving their wellness goals.
• The League of Women Voters of Maine Education Fund will enhance the ability of women from underrepresented communities to impact the decisions that affect their lives, and support the role that women continue to play in securing democratic rights for all.
• Mabel Wadsworth Center is Maine’s only independent, nonprofit, community-based feminist health center. Funding will support a feminist model of care focused on sexual and reproductive health through education, advocacy, and clinical services.
• Maine Children’s Alliance advocates for policies to support the 12,000 female-headed households and 14,000 children living in poverty in Maine, such as expanding access to education, job training, and improved work-family policies and food security.
• MaineTransNet will address the increasingly hostile social and political attacks that leave trans people hurt (often physically) and isolated; this grant will support its goal of ensuring one support program monthly in all 16 of Maine’s counties.
• New England Arab American Organization will provide a unique opportunity for New Mainer women to earn Child Development Associate certification. Participants will advance their skills and earn income while reflecting cultural diversity.
• One Less Worry provides personal care products, including pads and tampons, which cannot be paid for with SNAP or WIC benefits, to those in need in Knox County while destigmatizing and normalizing periods through their Period Friendly project.
• Restorative Justice Institute of Maine will partner with the residents of the Women’s Correction Center to address harm and injustice through practices that build connection, equity, accountability, and healing.
• Family Futures Downeast addresses multi-generational poverty by combining post-secondary, workforce and career pathways for parents while their children receive high-quality early education. The grant will help raise parent voices.
• Tree Street Youth supports youth of Lewiston-Auburn through programs rooted in academics, the arts, and athletics in a safe space. Additional, intentional supports will be built to reduce barriers to leadership experienced by young mothers.
• Wabanaki Public Health’s mission is to provide community-driven public health services to all Wabanaki communities while honoring their cultural knowledge, cultivating innovation, and collaboration. They are overseen by Tribal leadership.
• Wayfinder Schools serves at-risk youth and teen parents, providing students the experience necessary to discover their strengths and skills, connect with their families, practice personal responsibility, contribute to community, and earn a high school diploma.
• YWCA Central Maine, who advocates for racial and gender equity, will offer a custom Parent and Child Together learning experience to introduce New Mainer mothers and children to the structure of a US early learning classroom.

“Once again, our annual grants provide many supportive programs for all ages, with several different programs around the state specifically serving the ends of the age spectrum, and others specifically serving the middle of the age spectrum,” said Crichton, in the release. “Funding stretches from Aroostook to York County and reaches all five federally recognized tribal communities.”