PORTLAND — The Maine Women's Fund, the only Maine foundation focused exclusively on advancing women's and girl's economic security, has awarded grants totaling $98,000 to organizations working to build the economic security of Maine women and girls.
The 2015 grantees will be recognized at the Fund's annual Leadership Luncheon on May 19 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. This includes grants from donor-advised funds, resources established by individuals who make recommendations as to how the funds are spent.
"The funded organizations serve a broad range of ages and geographic locales and apply innovative solutions to central problems faced by women and girls throughout Maine" noted Candace Walworth, MD, of Lewiston, Grants Committee chair, secretary to the board and member of the Fund's Executive Committee.
This grant cycle included $30,000 in funds from the Karen Moran Leadership Fund for Women and Girls, created in 2014 to honor the memory of Yarmouth resident Karen Moran, who died in 2013. Friends and family established the endowed fund dedicated to reflecting Moran's commitment to strengthening leadership capacity, which will help to ensure that women and girls of all backgrounds have access to opportunities to reach their full potential.
Last year, the first grant was awarded to Waterville based nonprofit, Hardy Girls Healthy Women, to focus on leadership opportunities for girls in Maine.
Grant and Executive committee and board member Marilyn Bronzi of Yarmouth, a long-time friend of Moran's, said in a news release: "Whether it's girls learning to be financially savvy, girls and boys working together to prevent violence, teen mothers graduating high school, or incarcerated women being readied for work, the goal of the Maine Women's Fund is simple: provide every chance to reach full potential. Karen would be smiling at the scope of these grants."
The full list of Maine Women's Fund 2014-15 Economic Security Initiative grant recipients is as follows:
Wayfinder Schools - Passages Program for Teen Parents. To advance the economic security of women and girls in Maine through support of Wayfinder Schools' Passages Program for teen parents. Passages is a home-based high school diploma program focused on academics, parenting and life skills and helping to reduce dropout in Maine.
Elder Abuse Institute of Maine - Transitional Housing for Elder Victims of Abuse to provide transitional housing and support services to older victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation, including domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. These services are critical to helping older victims - typically an underserved population - escape abusive relationships and find avenues to live free of violence.
Girl Scouts of Maine - Sharing the Wealth: Financial Literacy for Girls where volunteers will be trained by GSME to deliver a series of financial literacy programs to girls 5-17. 200 volunteers could potentially participate affecting the lives of over 1,000 girls. Groups will meet at various locations. The program will be piloted with up to four events in late 2015 with 25 volunteers per session.
Mabel Wadsworth Women's Health Center - Supporting Mabel's Clinical Care. This project will help the Center continue seeing uninsured and clients with MaineCare through these tough economic times. These clients often delay preventative care, such as cancer screenings and birth control. The support will ensure that the Health Center can see these clients and meet their mission of providing care regardless of economic resources.
Maine Boys to Men - Reducing Sexism and Violence Program. This program supports delivery and enhancement of their evidence-based Reducing Sexism and Violence Program. RSVP empowers diverse groups of female and male student leaders to play a central role in recognizing and stopping behaviors that can lead to abuse, harassment, and interpersonal violence.
Maine Women's Policy Center - Advancing Women's Economic Security. Operating support for the ongoing effort to improve the economic well being of Maine women and girls. In 2015 they plan to host the second Maine Women's Summit on Economic Security; to recruit and support Regional Leaders and local groups; to distribute Building a Prosperous Maine.
Next Step - Innovations in Youth Education. Will gather information from the students about gender-based attitudes and behaviors in the school and use that information to develop and implement curriculum on domestic, sexual, and dating violence.
ROiL dba Maine Inside Out - Transitional employment program at Long Creek Youth Development Center. The program will help support Maine Inside Out's theater-based reintegration and transitional employment program for young women incarcerated at Long Creek Development Center.
SeniorsPlus - Money Matters for Women. SeniorsPlus will expand Money Minders, a financial education/support program that helps older women (low-moderate income) maintain financial independence by assisting them to create a monthly budget. The program ensures bills are paid, connects eligible consumers to benefits, and reduces the chance of foreclosure, bankruptcy and exploitation.
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services - Bridging the Gap. During the school year, they will provide individual advocacy and support to students affected by sexual abuse and sexual assault. When the school year ends, students do not have the same kind of access to services. The organization will be establishing outreach sites in the summer in their communities to ensure that students have access to ongoing support.
Women Unlimited - WorkReady, Set, Go! Maine Department of Education certified Women Unlimited as a WorkReadyME training facility to offer standards based training and employment support. They plan to offer the 60 hour course to incarcerated women with the intent of preparing them for employment. Women will emerge with a portfolio, employment referrals, and other tools for success.
"The slate of grantees in 2015 represents the Fund's 25th year of grants of almost $2,000,000 to roughly 200 organizations improving economic security for women and girls in Maine. We know that when women and girls thrive, communities prosper, and that is our goal for Maine." said Maine Women's Fund CEO Sarah Ruef-Lindquist, in the release.