Portland, ME – February 16, 2021) United Way of Greater Portland (UWGP) announced funding recipients from the newly established Racial Equity Fund totaling $239,173. 

Launched thanks to founding support from IDEXX, and supported by additional partners BerryDunn, Gorham Savings Bank, Hannaford, KeyBank, and WEX, the Racial Equity Fund supports the work of local nonprofits led by and serving people of color in our community, while advancing the work at the heart of the communitydeveloped Thrive2027 initiative.  

Recipients of the Fund include eight new programs and encompass a range of local organizations and partnerships within Greater Portland. Funding priorities focus on capacity-building, technical assistance, and strengthening organizations and programs overall, to help address inequities demonstrated by established organizations having stronger infrastructure, funding networks, data, and metrics. Selected programs serve at least 50% people of color (POC).  

Those with an * next to their names meet the priority of supporting Black/African American led and serving organizations. 

Organization Name  

Project Title  

Award Amount 

Hand In Hand/ Mano En Mano  

(as fiscal agent for Presente! Maine)  

Cuidado Colectivo  


Cross Cultural Community Services 

Parent Ambassador Training Program  


In Her Presence  

“Moving Onto the Stage”  


Gateway Community Services Maine 

Youth Mentoring Program  


Maine Association For New Americans  

Resilient New Americans (RNA) and MANA Mingles  


Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center 

The Immigrant Business Hub  


Intercultural Community Center 

Family CARES (Connection-Advocacy-Resources-Equity-Support)  


Al Badoo Community Association of Maine  

Project to ensure Al Badoo Community has the education, the employment opportunities and the resources to achieve financial stability.  


Regina Phillips, Co-Founder of Cross Cultural Community Services, and a professional consultant, shared the organization’s reaction to being selected as a funding recipient. “As a new organization co-founded by three black women from different countries, we are so excited to receive an investment from United Way of Greater Portland’s Racial Equity Fund for our Parent Ambassador Training Program,” shared Phillips. “Parents, who have traditionally been left out of conversations about policy and curriculum, will now feel more comfortable connecting with school staff and participating in school activities so their children will see a successful connection and relationship between home and school, which will, in turn, increase their chances to graduate.” 

To further reduce inequities in the nonprofit sector related to funding and network access, UWGP made outreach and raising awareness of The Fund a top priority. Additionally, UWGP provided preparation and technical assistance support and retained five independent grant writers who provided up to four hours of assistance to each potential applicant. 

“United Way of Greater Portland made a concerted effort to ensure local nonprofits led by and serving People of Color who may operate outside of the traditional, white-centered networks had opportunity, access, and additional resources to apply. That was a central theme of The Fund from conception through the award process.” said Liz Cotter Schlax, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Portland. “In order for our community to achieve the Thrive2027 goals, we need all members of our community to have a place at the table, so we can provide and implement solutions together that take into account the unique experiences of diverse populations, especially our Black and African American neighbors.”  

 The thoughtful review process included intentional steps to ensure representation, awareness, and equity, including a diverse cross-sector selection committee 

The Fund’s decision-making committee included: Tae Chong – City of Portland, Anne Dalton – Association of Junior Leagues International, Lelia DeAndrade – Maine Community Foundation, Jim Elkins – Career Planning Services, Warren Graver – BerryDunn, Kim Gustafson – Mitchell Institute, Rich Henry – Lincoln Financial Group, Dolly Hersom – House of Languages, Inc., Allegra Hirsh-Wright – Maine Behavioral Healthcare, Trevis Knapp – KeyBank, Lauress Lawrence – Sewall Foundation, Zach Nelson – IDEXX, Dan Santos – Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Laura Shen – WEX, Lisa Toner – Retired (Maine Public), Brian Townsend – Amistad, and Lesley Warn – Gorham Savings Bank

“The opportunity to evaluate proposals and observe the creative programs being developed (especially during this pandemic) by these passionate leaders was such an inspiration,” said volunteer reviewer Warren Graver, Senior Consultant with BerryDunn. “I am confident this incredible group of organizations and their programs are going to make a significant impact with these funds, and further strengthen the fabric of our community.” 

Since 2016, UWGP has convened individuals and organizations around Thrive2027, three 10-year goals to improve education, financial stability, and health for every person in Greater Portland. 

Although UWGP-funded programs currently serve an estimated 50% people of color, UWGP established the Racial Equity Fund as one step to more intentionally address disparities in education, financial stability, and health.  

“While equity is an embedded principle in our grantmaking, we recognized that well-established nonprofits with strong social networks, long-standing funding relationships, and many staff can be more successful in applying for and receiving funds from United Way,” said Bill Fletcher, Founding Partner of Fletcher, Selser & Devine LLC, and Chair of United Way of Greater Portland’s Board of Directors. “We recognize that equity is not only a moral and economic imperative for our community, but that it is central to our mission of uniting caring people to help us all thrive.”  



About United Way of Greater Portland: For over 90 years, United Way of Greater Portland (UWGP)’s mission has been to improve people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community.  Today, UWGP unites individuals and organizations around our community’s shared vision, Thrive2027, three 10-year goals to improve education, financial stability, and health for every person in Greater Portland. With community partners, UWGP builds on strategies that are known to achieve the best results, and rigorously evaluates progress toward those goals. UWGP actively seeks to engage donors, advocates, and volunteers to create measurable, long-lasting community change. Learn more at