The Maine Women’s Fund recently announced grants totaling $155,000 for 16 nonprofits that are working to address the most pressing needs of women and girls across the state. From York to Aroostook County, these organizations and leaders are helping shape the post-pandemic future in key areas where the pandemic has further exacerbated existing gender inequalities.
Among the distribution is $7,500 for ArtVan’s Art Therapy of Knox, Sagadahoc Androscoggin, Cumberland and York counties.
“We’re honored to make bold investments in innovative programs that will help address the disproportionate burden of care work, as well as unprecedented increases in violence, substance use, unemployment and financial insecurity,” said Kimberly Crichton, executive director of the Maine Women’s Fund, in a news release. “We’re also proud to invest over one third of funding in the powerful vision and leadership of Black, brown and Indigenous women-led organizations, which receive just 0.5% of all charitable giving in the United States but experience the greatest disparities.”
One recent grantee, Mano en Mano, supports Latinx and farmworker communities in Maine and received $10,000 to support its Rayitos de Sol Bilingual Childcare in Washington County.
Grant support from the Maine Women’s Fund comes at a critical time, as one in four (more than 2 million) women left the workforce during the pandemic, with Latinas experiencing the greatest job losses of any population. Rayitos de Sol Childcare was started in January 2021, during a surge in the virus and a distressing report of job loss for Latinas and Black women.
“Women are disproportionately impacted by the lack of affordable and quality childcare, which often limits their access to career opportunities, professional growth, and ability to gain financial autonomy,” said Juana Rodriguez, Migrant Education and Rayitos de Sol Childcare Director of Mano en Mano. “Rayitos de Sol supports women that previously could not access childcare services due to barriers, including cost and language, in order to pursue personal, professional, and other goals. Thanks to support from the Maine Women's Fund, we can continue to provide bilingual childcare that builds bridges of community, so that language and culture are valued and appreciated by all.”
Each organization supported by Maine Women’s Fund this year has a similar story to tell. Helping shape the post-pandemic future in Maine, the most recent grants include:
$10,000 for Elder Abuse Institute of Maine’s Statewide Developing Support Services for Elder Victims of Abuse within the Criminal Justice System
$7,050 for Four Directions Development Corporation’s Strengthening Wabanaki Community Assets in Aroostook, Penobscot, and Washington County
$10,000 for Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project’s Supporting Immigrant Survivors of Violence Statewide
$10,000 for In Her Presence’s Capacity Building Initiative 2021 in Cumberland County
$10,000 for Mabel Wadsworth Center’s Connecting Women and LGBTQ+ People to Health Care in Penobscot, Aroostook, and Washington County
$10,000 for Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse’s Statewide Racial Equity Roadmap
$10,000 for Maine Transgender Network’s Statewide Support For Trans Survivors of Violence
$10,000 for Maine Women's Lobby Education Fund’s Statewide Education and Engagement for Gender Equity
$10,000 for Mano en Mano’s Rayitos de Sol Bilingual Childcare in Washington County
$10,000 for New Ventures Maine’s Statewide Expanding Wabanaki Savings through Collaborative Partnership Development, Marketing and Outreach
$10,000 for Restorative Justice Institute of Maine’s Statewide Leadership Development and Healing with Women Impacted by Incarceration
$10,000 for Somali Bantu Community Association’s Hiring More Women as Staff Members in Androscoggin County
$10,000 for Survivor Speak USA’s Making the Last Girl FIRST in Androscoggin, Cumberland and York Counties
$10,000 for Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness’ Statewide Supporting Wabanaki Women in Recovery
$10,000 for YWCA Central Maine’s Single Gender Women’s Swim in Androscoggin County
The Maine Women’s Fund provides general operating or project support to organizations that meet needs in the areas of: Education, Financial Skills & Literacy, Healthcare, Leadership, Personal Safety, and Policy. Dani Scherer, Chair of the Maine Women’s Fund Grants Committee stated, "At this moment of recovery and reckoning, it matters who leads us forward, and how. The organizations and initiatives supported through our recent round of grant funding show us what an equitable, caring and inclusive future can look like."
About the Maine Women’s Fund
Since 1989, the Maine Women's Fund has been incubating and investing in nonprofit organizations run by and for Maine women and girls, and it is the only Maine foundation focused exclusively on advancing gender equity. Through its $3.2 million endowment, it makes annual financial investments in new and established organizations working towards its mission to transform the lives of Maine women and girls through innovative programs and advocacy efforts. The Maine Women’s Fund also provides technical assistance to grantees for capacity building, achieving sustainability, and creating space for new generations of women leaders. In the past 30+ years the Maine Women’s Fund has granted over 500 awards totaling more than $2.8 million to 230 organizations investing in the power of women and girls across the state and Wabanaki communities. Learn more at www.mainewomensfund.org.