masthead no tag line



March 18, 7:00 PM. Maine School of Law's Third Annual Justice for Women Lecture Series with renowned human rights and women's rights advocate from Afghanistan, Dr. Sima Simar. USM's Abromson Community Education Center, Portland. Register here
March 24, 7:00 PM. Research in Indonesia: A tale of travels and troubleshooting in East Java and North Sumatra, presented by Laura Babbitt. What stands in the way of humane work for women in Indonesia-and how do we find out? Rockport Opera House. More info here.
March 27, 8:00 AM-3:00 PM.
Volunteer Administrators of Midcoast Maine Conference (VAMM). Creating & Developing a Positive Vision & Culture for Volunteer Engagement. Maine Maritime Museum, Bath. Register here
April 3, 8:00 AM-11:00 AM. Women to Watch Leadership Breakfast and Forum, hosted by Mainebiz. Hilton Garden Inn, Freeport. Tickets $25. Contact rroy[at] or click here for more info. 
April 4, 9:30 AM-3:00 PM. ALL for Women Aroostook Leadership & Learning Conference. Leadership panel focus: "Passport to Possibility - Leadership at All Levels." At UMPI Campus Center, Presque Isle. Register here
Maine EPSCoR & the Maine Girls Collaborative Project  offer mini-grants to support advanced collaborative projects to broaden the participation of women and girls in areas related to sustainability issues. More info: contact Jenn Dunham at 207-581-2285. Deadline: March 21. 

The Mary Kay Foundation

offers grants to applicants operating an emergency shelter (i.e., immediate overnight housing) for survivors of domestic violence. More info here.  Deadline: April 30.


Joyce Foundation Announces $1.6 Million for Adult Learners
to support the creation and promotion of education technologies. Click here to learn how to apply. LOI: July 11. 


launched a new global campaign to bring financial inclusion to low-income communities. 
Deadline: Open
American Honda Foundation Invites applications for STEM programs. Deadline: Open
Pollination Project Seed Grants for Social Entrepreneurs
Individuals working to make their community and the world a better place in the areas of arts and culture, community health and wellness, the environment, and justice. Deadline: Open

Kellogg Foundation
Invites applications for programs that engage youth and communities in learning opportunities. Deadline: Open
May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust seeks proposals for youth development programs.  
Deadline: Open

Healthy Generations is a multi-generational health initiative with a goal to improve the health of communities. Deadline: Open  
Maine Women's Fund Resource Development Training for past and current grantees. March 21; May 2Click here for more info. 
Maine Media Women's Scholarship$1000 awarded to a high school senior planning to attend college and pursue a career in communication media.  Applications must be postmarked no later than March 31

Guided Grant Research Tutorial 

Learn how to use two powerful tools for effective and efficient grant research: MPC's updated Directory of Maine Grantmakers Online with helpful search features, and The Foundation Directory Online. March 20, April 1 & April 17. Register here.


Do you need help filing your taxes? Free tax preparation by IRS-certified volunteers available to low and middle income persons (individual or combined income under $51,000), including those over age 60. Call United Way of Aroostook at (207) 764-5197 or email United Way for information.

We invite you to visit the
resources section of our website.
  Find us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn 


Dear Friends,   

Photo credit: 
 Jamie Bloomquist


March is National Women's History Month. Our own state of Maine boasts a great number of women who have made history, including women who, through their philanthropy, built thriving communities across Maine. 


Three women come immediately to mind: Elizabeth Noyce, Elmina Brewster Sewall and Roxanne Quimby. Each woman's story demonstrates the power of thoughtful philanthropy.


Elizabeth Noyce's obituary in the New York Times recounts her marriage that took her from New England to California, and back to Maine again:


Mrs. Noyce did not so much move to Maine as adopt the state. In a whirlwind of philanthropy that began almost as soon as she settled into her house on Muscongus Bay and continued the rest of her life, she systematically gave away some $75 million, primarily to Maine charities.


The article also describes her "catalytic philanthropy," in which she took a strategic approach to addressing pressing needs in many of Maine's struggling industries by carefully deploying her hundreds of millions of dollars in Intel stock. Click here for the full piece.


Soon after Mrs. Noyce's death in 1996, when funds were distributed from her estate, Maine ranked first in the nation in charitable giving through bequests. It is typically closer to 48th.


Maine native Elmina B. Sewall's interest in philanthropy began early:


As a child, Elmina Brewster Sewall was given two piggy banks. Her weekly allowance was divided equally: half in a piggy bank designated for her own spending and half in a piggy bank marked "Charity". Thus began "Sis" Sewall's lifelong commitment to helping those in need.


Since Mrs. Sewall's death in 2005, the Foundation's Board of Directors has sought to continue her philanthropic legacy. The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation makes grants in Maine in the following three areas of interest: Animal Welfare, Environment, and Human Well-Being.


Her estate funded the Foundation with over $300 million to support Maine communities.


Meanwhile, Roxanne Quimby took a more unconventional path to philanthropy. According to the Quimby Family Foundation:


In 1989, Roxanne and her partner Burt, a beekeeper and refugee from New York, started Burt's Bees, a cottage industry which quickly evolved into an internationally renowned personal care company with a core commitment to pure ingredients, naturally efficacious formulas and earth-friendly packaging. In 2003, Roxanne sold the multimillion dollar company.


With the proceeds of the sale, Roxanne funded two foundations. The first awards grants to nonprofit organizations in support of the environment and the arts, and the second, an operating foundation which owns and maintains 120,000 acres of wilderness in the North Woods of Maine.


Roxanne's sizeable commitment to Maine's communities is now a permanent part of Maine's history.


Maine owes a debt of gratitude to these women, each of whom voluntarily shared their wealth to help the people and places they loved. I honor them, and all the generous, thoughtful women and men who support philanthropy that builds thriving Maine communities. We hope you will join us in remembering and celebrating their philanthropy for Maine, past, present and future.


Sarah Ruef-Lindquist 



Development Coordinator Kathleen Pinard will be leaving the Fund this month to pursue a terrific entrepreneurial opportunity as the part-owner of a bar/café in Biddeford. Please join us in wishing her the best of luck!


The Fund now seeks an energetic and driven team member to assist with fundraising activities. Based in Portland, the Development Coordinator is a 16-20 hour/week, salaried position. This is a great opportunity to join a dynamic and fun team working together to realize the Fund's vision of a just and caring society in which Maine women and girls thrive so communities prosper. Application review begins March 14.


--> Full job description and application instructions here.

The Fund seeks applicants for a spring/summer internship. This is a volunteer opportunity, with no specific experience necessary; however, we seek candidates who are passionate about working for social change and developing professional skills related to fundraising and philanthropy. Applicants must have strong verbal and written communication skills and an eye for detail. Computer skills are a must. Time commitment is 8 to 20 hours per week, and hours are flexible. Accepting applications through April 15. 
--> Full job description for internship can be found here
No phone calls, please.  





11:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Holiday Inn By the Bay | 88 Spring Street, Portland


Celebrate four Maine leaders who create and encourage social change for women and girls. Be inspired by success stories from Fund grantees.  


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Networking Reception
2014 Economic Security Initiative Grantees


12:00 PM - 2:00 PM 
Lunch and Program | Suzanne Nance, Emcee


Tickets $65 | Tables available

For information about sponsorship or advertising opportunities, please click here or call 207.774.5513. 

Thanks to our generous sponsors:

Lead Sponsor

Cornerstone Sponsors
Rep. Chellie Pingree and S. Donald Sussman


iBec Creative  



Benefactor Sponsors

Eliot and Melanie Cutler

Volunteer Underwriter
Supporter Sponsors
Friends/Nonprofit Friends 
Email Lauren Dietlin, COO, for sponsorship and advertising opportunities.




Natalie Solotoff


CEO Sarah Ruef-Lindquist spoke with board member Natalie Solotoff.


Why do you support the Fund? 

I support the Maine Women's Fund because I believe in its mission and the missions of the organizations it supports. And because I believe strategic grantmaking and partnering with organizations dedicated to social change is an effective way of achieving our goal of transforming the lives of Maine women and girls.


What do you enjoy about board service?

I enjoy the camaraderie, being part of a group of people who have come together to work toward a shared goal, in our case, helping women and girls. I have already met many wonderful and inspiring people through my work with the Maine Women's Fund that I may not have otherwise had a chance to know.  

What do you know about the Fund that you think most people don't, and should? 

Some of the wonderful and inspiring people I met were grantees. As a Board member, I had the opportunity to tag along with some of our amazing staff who conducted site visits with grantees. The overall purpose of these site visits is to follow up with each of our previous year's grantees to see how the process went and to learn more about what issues they are working on and how that work is going. More specifically, we asked grantees to discuss how they are working toward social change and what day-to-day strategies they are using to do so. The Maine Women's Fund is making a concerted effort to emphasize the importance of social change, especially with our grantees.

What is your vision for the Fund? 

I want the Fund to be the organization that first comes to mind when any person, anywhere in Maine brings up the needs of women and girls and how those needs are being served well. 




Natalie Solotoff, CPA, JD, has been with Baker Newman Noyes since 2008. She is a Manager in the firm's Tax Division specializing in tax planning and compliance services to individuals, partnerships and corporations. She is the Fund's Treasurer and serves on the Executive Committee.



Each month leading up to the Leadership Luncheon we will shine the spotlight on one of our awardees.


The Sarah Orne Jewett Award is given to a Maine woman who exhibits the attributes of the women in Jewett's works of fiction: true grit, independence, courage, humor and discipline. The 2014 recipient is Fatuma Hussein, founder and director of Lewiston's United Somali Women of Maine. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Hussein came to the U.S. at age 12 after living in a Kenyan refugee camp during the Somali civil war. After relocating to Maine in 2001, she set out to help fellow Somali refugees adapt to their new home by helping provide translation, transportation and healthcare assistance. 


In 2002, the United Somali Women of Maine began operations, with a mission to promote culturally and linguistically appropriate services, self-sufficiency, advocacy, empowerment, increase access to information, prevent all types of violence and promote a non-sexist, multi-cultural environment that buoys the strengths of refugee women and girls. 


In addition to being a bridge between cultures in Lewiston/Auburn, USWM provides resettlement services, educational services, in-home individual and family community outreach, school programs, skill training, as well as domestic and sexual violence services. According to Hussein, "Empowering people leads to healthy families, education, and citizens achieving their dreams." She credits the success of United Somali Women of Maine to the strength of its broad network of allied organizations and the programs and services it offers to empower the African immigrant community and help its members to become self-sufficient.


One client of USWM noted, "United Somali Women is a great support to Somalis, especially women. They work with us and make possible everything for us to succeed. It is very important to have someone in the community who can facilitate things for our community." 

here to see Fatuma's inspiring TEDxDirigo talk.


Click here to learn more about the work of United Somali Women of Maine.   


Congratulations to Fatuma! Join us to see her receive the Sarah Orne Jewett Award at the annual Leadership Luncheon on May 21. See the full list of awardees here.  



Wayfinder Schools' Passages Program shared a heartwarming story about the organization's musical collaboration with the Carnegie Hall's Lullaby Project in December 2013:

The Lullaby Project pairs professional musicians with young mothers to write personal lullabies for their babies. One Passages participant called the Lullaby Project "a chance to create something for my son that not everyone else would have the chance to do....Now I have something for [my son] to listen to that I wrote personally. There is no other song like this out there. I am so thankful for everyone who helped put this project together for the moms at Passages." Click here to read more about the project, and click here to listen  to the lullabies at Soundcloud.

Passages students working with musicians through the Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project.

Passage's Annual Dessert Auction is March 14 at 6:00 PM at the Clipper Lounge at University of Maine Machais. There will be plenty of laughter and amazing homemade desserts! Come support Washington County's fantastic, alternative high school program. For more info, call Cora Townsend or Fern Hilyard: 207-255-1468


Maine NEW Leadership shared this success story from a graduate of that institution:

Amy Sylvester never anticipated a political life when she signed up for Maine NEW Leadership in 2011, but her participation in the program was a catalyst for her to begin to exercise her voice. While still a student at Thomas College, she interned on the campaign of a candidate for the United States Senate and following her graduation, became a full fledged staffer. Following that candidate's primary defeat, Amy jumped in and ran for her own seat in the Maine House of Representatives in her hometown district. Although she did not ultimately win, she gave the incumbent a great race and offered a real choice to the voters of her district. She remains active in her community and is considering another run. Amy credits Maine NEW Leadership with giving her the confidence, skills, and political connections that empowered her to run and become more engaged in her community's leadership. Keep an eye out for this rising political star on the Maine political scene. 


Maine NEW Leadership is now accepting applications for its 2014 Summer InstituteDates: May 30 to June 4, 2014See a video outlining the program here, and access the application here. Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered by March 21, 2014.   
Coastal Studies for Girls is Hosting an Open House  on Sunday, April 13 from 2:00-4:00 PM. Stop by the farmhouse to take a tour and see presentations from the CSG Admissions team. Tours will run every 20 minutes.   


Hardy Girls Healthy Women is looking for volunteers to help with its Girls Rock! Weekend festivities. Specifically, the organization needs: 
  • General support at their office leading up to the event (April 1-4 during office hours, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM);
  • Help during the Girls Unlimited Conference at Colby College on Friday, April 4 (7:30 AM - 1:30 PM); 
  • Staffing at the Girls Rock! awards on Friday, April 4 in Augusta. 
  • Help with the Girls Unlimited Conference in Portland on Saturday, April 5th.




Clinton, Gates Foundations to Measure Progress by Women, Girls 

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations are joining forces to collect and analyze data about the participation of women and girls in economic, social, political, and cultural life around the world. As part of the Clinton Foundation's No Ceilings: Full Participation Project, the foundations will work with leading technology partners to collect data that illuminate the progress women have made - and the gaps that remain - since the United Nations issued the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at its Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. >>Read more


Bill Nemitz: A fair wage can pay off lots of ways 

A Maine business turns tax burdens into taxpayers by forgoing some profits so it can pay well above minimum wage. 

Margo Walsh has news for those who complain about the cost of welfare on the one hand and, on the other, dig in their heels against a growing movement to raise the minimum wage. "You can't separate those two things." >>Read more


How One State Plans To Wipe Out Sexism At Work In A Single Bill

Minnesota state lawmakers unveiled the "Women's Economic Security Act of 2014," a legislative package "designed to break down barriers to economic progress facing women - and all Minnesotans," according to the release. Among the pieces of the package are paid sick leave, a raise in the minimum wage to $9.50, and expanding access to high-quality, affordable childcare. "The Women's Economic Security Act aims to break down barriers to economic progress so that women - and all Minnesotans - have a fair opportunity to succeed," said Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen (D). >>Read more

According to a new study from the Guttmacher Institute, the U.S. abortion rate has hit the lowest level since 1973 (falling by 13 percent between 2008 to 2011), continuing a fairly consistent long-term downward trend.  Click here to use the interactive map to find key abortion data in Maine. And some interesting context from the New York Times: "What's Behind the Declining Abortion Rate?"

March 8: International Women's Day | 2014 Theme: INSPIRING CHANGE
Women's equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal. International Women's Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action. The vast array of communication channels, supportive spokespeople, equality research, campaigns and corporate responsibility initiatives means everyone can be an advocate inspiring change for women's advancement. For more information and ideas on how to celebrate International Women's Day, click here.


In case you missed it: view the Maine Women's Fund 2012-2013 Report to the Community. If you'd like to receive a copy by mail, please email or call 207-774-5513.  
Did you know? The Fund is on Twitter and LinkedIn
Follow and connect with a community dedicated to investing in the power of women and the dreams of girls.  



The Maine Women's Fund thanks MaineShare for its ongoing support. MaineShare makes it easy to donate to more than 30 statewide organizations working every day to make Maine a better place to live. For more information, please visit the website.

On behalf of the staff and board of the Maine Women's Fund, thank you for reading and for all you do to support Maine women and girls.

Office locations:

565A Congress Street, Suite 306, Portland, ME 04101 | 41 Mechanic Street, Suite 328, Camden, ME 04843