Racial Equity

Our Goal

All people of color in Maine have access to opportunities and life outcomes that are not limited in any way by race or ethnicity.

Why this issue is important: The 85,000 people in Maine who identify themselves as other than white live in all 16 counties. People of color, who are of Native American, Asian, African, Arabic, and Latino descent, are not new to Maine. Some have lived here for generations; others for tens of thousands of years. Maine people of color encounter significant barriers that negatively impact their health and economic well-being. They earn less, have shorter life spans, and face countless obstacles to full engagement in our civic and economic life. In other words, Maine – like the rest of the U.S. – lacks racial equity. Considering the state’s declining population and shrinking labor pool, it is imperative that people of color be able to fully engage in, and maximize their contributions to, Maine’s civic and economic future.

What we learned: Many organizations across Maine are working to address racial equity. They are largely led by people of color with a broad range of skills and deep commitment, yet their effectiveness is hampered by working in communities and organizations that are under-resourced with limited capacity and access to other opportunities. At the same time, racial equity receives little attention outside communities of color. Few mainstream, white-led organizations focus on racial equity, and there is sporadic support and understanding at the community level.

Our vision: Maine people are aware and understand the experiences and contributions of people of color and the barriers they face. Institutional and organizational leaders understand the dynamics of racial disparities and work to achieve racial equity. Organizations led and served by communities of color have broad networks and adequate resources that are more sustainable with greater impact. People of color have access to opportunities and life outcomes not limited by race or ethnicity. Racial disparities in Maine communities decline and ultimately end.

Our strategies

MaineCF will broaden awareness of racial equity among its partner organizations and institutional leaders across Maine to expand work on racial equity beyond communities of color. We will invest in leaders of color to strengthen their skills and build organizational capacity in the field of racial equity. We will increase funding opportunities and support peer-to-peer learning, coaching, and other forms of technical assistance to community and organizational leaders of color. We will increase public understanding of racial equity by partnering with organizations to support new and existing community-based education programs. We will promote and support current and future research on racial equity and the economic impact of people of color in Maine.

How you can help

Give to the Racial Equity Fund at MaineCF to advance activities, including:
  • Maine Equity Catalyst Fellowship – peer-learning community for white leaders of Maine organizations and institutions, focused on the dynamics of racial disparities and race-based privilege in Maine
  • Impact Academy for Leaders of Color – capacity-building program for leaders of color working on issues of racial equity.
  • Consultant capacity-building program – training program for organizational development consultants to improve their ability to support racial equity work, especially for organizations that serve communities of color
  • Community dialogues – conversations on racial equity in local communities to advance understanding and community action
  • Research – analyzing the economic and community impact of people of color in Maine.

Download a PDF of this page.

If you would like more background information about MaineCF’s goal for racial equity, please contact Senior Director of Grantmaking Services Lelia DeAndrade at ldeandrade@mainecf.org or (207) 412-0843.

Donate online to the Racial Equity Fund