People of Color Fund

Total applications received in the last cycle: 43 for a total of $310,089
Grant dollars awarded last cycle: $152,349
Number of grants awarded: 21
Average award: $7,255
Percentage of applications that received grants: 49%
Maximum grant size: $10,000
Application deadline: February 15

Recent Grants from the People of Color Fund

Read how grants to help achieve racial equity in Maine are making a difference across the state, including Tree Street Youth in Lewiston, right.

Changes to the 2019 People of Color Fund application:

What we did:
  • Added more detailed information about the questions and examples, instead of links to our website
  • Eliminated repetitive questions and added questions specifically about People of Color Fund criteria.


The People of Color Fund was established in 2007 with a gift from the River Rock Foundation. The People of Color Fund supports organizations that are led by and serving people of Native American, Latino, African, Arab, and Asian descent.

The goal of the People of Color Fund grant program is to help people of color in Maine achieve greater equity by:
  • investing in existing, new, and emerging leadership and nonprofit organizations
  • changing policies and practices that negatively impact people of color, because of their race
  • supporting efforts to alleviate the impact of race-based discrimination and disparities.


The maximum grant awarded through the People of Color Fund grant program is $10,000.


The People of Color Fund has three focus areas. While applications for other projects will be accepted and reviewed, the committee will give priority to the areas of interest listed below when awarding grants.

  • Health: Thanks to support from the Maine Health Access Foundation to address health disparities in Maine, the People of Color Fund will award funding 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.
  • Leadership development: Projects or organizations that provide skill building, training, and mentorship for people of color.
  • Economic opportunity: Projects or organizations that improve economic well-being, such as increasing access to employment opportunities, access to education and professional development, and supporting business development.

Types of Support

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

Project grants for new or expanding projects.

  • New projects are those being implemented for the first time.
  • Expanding projects are existing projects that will serve a new or different population, geographic area, or include new services or content other than what was previously implemented.
    • Projects must have clear start and end dates and have defined goals or outcomes.
    • Projects that run for more than two years are not considered new projects and are not eligible for grants unless they are expanding.

Capacity-building grants to increase the scope (number of people, types of communities or services) efficiency and success of organizations that serve communities of color. Capacity-building requests must include an explanation of how the activities will improve the organization. This includes projects to:

  • improve the skills of board, staff, or volunteers
  • improve financial management
  • expand financial and human resources such as staff and volunteers.

Project and capacity-building grants will not support rent, utility bills, staff salaries, or other expenses related to the daily operation of an organization.

Grantmaking Criteria

To be considered for funding all applications to the People of Color fund must meet all three of the following criteria:

1. Involve people of color - people of color are:

  • in leadership positions on board and staff of the organization
  • involved in the design, delivery, and evaluation of the programs and services
  • most of the participants or intended recipients.
2. Increase racial equity - the project and organization improves:
  • access to resources
  • the knowledge/skills or resilience of people of color
  • ability to overcome race-based barriers and disparities.
3. Use local resources - the project and organization involves community organizations, services, buildings, land, the expertise of community members and/or natural resources (ex. land, water, etc).

People of Color Fund grants will be awarded to support organizations and projects that meet all three criteria and that have the greatest potential to positively impact the community.

People of Color Fund grants can only be used to support projects or activities that occur after the grant has been awarded, usually by June 1. This means that requests for support for any activities or expenses that occur before June 1 will be declined.

Ineligible expenses
The People of Color Fund grant program cannot be used to support the following activities, programs, or expenses:

  • Ongoing activities: This includes activities that are part of the organization's mission, with no clear start or end date, or those that have been implemented for more than two years and are continuing without expansion.
  • General operating expenses: This includes any expenses related to the daily operation or running of the organization. For example, rent, utilities, office equipment and supplies, insurance and general salaries for administrative staff or the executive director.
  • Major capital expenses: This includes purchasing building, land, or vehicles.
  • Camperships: This includes funding for admission, enrollment, tuition or other costs related to short-term programs that are primarily recreational or social.
  • Endowments, capital campaigns, or annual appeals.

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 

February 15 at 11:59 p.m.

Applicants will be notified of the final decisions in early June.

If you would like a preview of the questions in the application, please click here to download a Word document. Note that this is for reference only; applications are only accepted through the online system.

Project Progress Report

All grant recipients will be required to submit a Project Progress Report 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 (207) 412-0843.

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:

Edgar Anderson, Portland, retired UPS
Jerome Bennett, Portland, Maine Humanities Council
Catherine Besteman, Portland, Colby College
Abusana "Micki" Bondo, Portland, Muskie School
Hajmil Hajmil Carr, Portland, Trueline Publishing
Rosie DiBella, Portland, SARSME
Barbara Ginley, Portland, Maine Health
Mony Hang, Portland, Realtor
Fatuma Hussein, Lewiston, United Somali Women
Stefan Jackson, Bridgton, mediator, consultant
Lisa Sockabasin, Freeport, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation
Jenna Vendil, Portland, Portland School Board