“This is by far the largest amount we have awarded in our 10-year history of grant making,” said Jane Cabot, president of the nonprofit. Since 2012 the group of 75 women has awarded more than $350,000 in grants to 30 community organizations.
“In a giving circle, members pool their dollars and together decide how to distribute those dollars, resulting in a greater impact in our communities than we could as individual donors,” said MWGT Grants Committee Chair Freda Bernotavicz.
MWGT, formerly affiliated with the Maine Community Foundation, earlier this year received its own tax exempt status from the IRS as an independent, stand-alone grant-making public charity.
At a virtual awards ceremony on April 28, grants were awarded to:
ArtVan, a mobile art therapy program for neighborhoods with little or no access to after-school or summer programs, particularly during the Covid pandemic. Its $5,500 grant will help sustain programs for youngsters at Perryman Village and for asylum-seeking families at the Landing.
The Bath Area BackPack Program will receive $4,000 to purchase weekend food for children ages 5-18 in RSU1 schools, the Midcoast Youth Center, and Bath YMCA. The program generates funds to provide nutritious, easy to prepare food for food insecure children during school-year weekends and vacations.
The Elder Abuse Institute of Maine will use its $7,000 grant to expand client support services at its soon-to-be opened Martha’s Cottage in Brunswick, which will provide a home for older women as they transition to long-term safe housing. The funds will provide support for clients with counseling, coordinating services, and advocating for older victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in Cumberland County.
The Gathering Place, the only daytime shelter in the Brunswick area, will use its $4,000 grant to expand a Winter Readiness Program to include an overnight shelter.
Harpswell Aging at Home’s grant of $5,000 will support its Food Program, which was redesigned due to COVID, by providing meals delivered at home rather than in person.
The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust addresses food insecurity and inequity in Sagadahoc County, Brunswick, and Harpswell. Through the Merrymeeting Gleaners and the Good Food for Bath coalition, KELT helps redirect surplus and “ugly” produce from farms to soup kitchens, food pantries, and other programs serving food-insecure people. KELT will use its $2,200 to run Good Food for Bath, provide leadership in local food security efforts and for emergency needs.
The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, the largest food security agency in the region, will use its $13,800 grant for its School Pantry Program (formerly the Backpack Program), which serves students in Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell. This school-based program provides fresh and nonperishable foods on Fridays to students who receive free or reduced-price lunch during the week and are in need of food over the weekend.
Serving over 500 youth in Sagadahoc County, Brunswick, and Harpswell, the Mid Coast Youth Center offers support to homeless youth, mental health and wellness outreach, academic and life skills programs, physical activities, and a safe place for after-school hours. MYC is adding a music and art component to its Compass After-school Program. Its $7,500 grant will be used to hire instructors and purchase instruments, materials and supplies for the new music and art component.
Oasis Free Clinic provides primary health care, dental, and mental health services, as well
as prescription assistance, for uninsured, low-income residents of Midcoast Maine. With a growing number of
non-native English-speaking patients, OFC will use its $6,000 grant to support telephonic interpretation services and purchases of headsets and print health education materials in various languages, as well as occasional assistance with costs for patients in need of transportation to the clinic.
Tedford Housing provides emergency shelter for homeless individuals and families, as well as prevention and outreach services for those at risk of becoming homeless. Tedford plans to use its $5,000 grant for continued support of its Breaking Down Barriers Fund, which provides clients with small amounts of money to help them attain independence. Funds can be used for clothing for job interviews, for example, or day care assistance, birth certificates, car repairs, and gas cards.