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Dear Friends,


As we approach the Fund's 25th autumn of grantmaking, we have been reflecting on the many passionate, determined women who came together to transform the lives of Maine women and girls by initiating the Maine Women's Fund's first grant.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with one of these inspiring women. Heidi Fitz is one of the Fund's most dedicated volunteers, donors and a board alumna. We talked about what drew her to the Fund almost 20 years ago, and why it means so much for her to stay involved in philanthropy for women and girls in Maine:


Sarah: Heidi, you have been a wonderful part of the Fund's life for many years now. What initially drew you to the Fund?

Heidi: Simply the fact that it's philanthropy for women and girls. When I was young, my family moved about every two years, until I got into junior high school, and then I went to an all-girls school. It really helped to build my confidence and comfort level - I finally felt comfortable speaking up in class. I discovered I had a strong aptitude for math and I don't think I would have discovered that in co-education where boys are typically recognized as high achievers in math. Eventually, I discovered athletics and excelled in ways I am not sure I could have in a co-ed environment. As an adult, I have been able to use those sports skills to coach and

encourage kids, including girls, to grow and succeed.  

Heidi Fitz


Sarah: What keeps you engaged with the Fund's work to build economic security for women and girls?


Heidi: That the Fund supports programs that give women and girls opportunities they might not otherwise have is so empowering to them, and so compelling for me. And the ability for Maine organizations to do so much with the support that the Fund gives them helps me know that there are many being reached across Maine that I would not know how to reach on my own.


Under the leadership of dedicated volunteers and supporters like Heidi, the Maine Women's Fund has been supporting economic security for Maine women and girls for 25 years. With her help, the help of over a hundred other board members as well as the many volunteers and loyal supporters of the Fund, we are planning for the next 25 years and beyond, to make Maine a just and caring society where women and girls thrive, so communities prosper.


Sarah Ruef-Lindquist 





by Sarah Ruef-Lindquist 


At the Maine State Bar Association Annual Summer Meeting in Rockport in June, there was an unusual program for members of the bar. The program title "Sex Trafficking? We're in Maine!" stood out starkly from other continuing legal education program covering topics such as "Business Valuation" and "Civility Between Lawyers."


District Court Judge Joyce Wheeler, DA Megan Elam and criminal defense attorney Kevin Moynihan spent an hour reviewing the terrifying statistics and examples of cases in Maine. Human trafficking is probably the fastest growing area of organized crime in the world. According to UNICEF, two children are sold into slavery every minute. There are more people enslaved on the planet than any other time in history. Maine had 44 reported cases of human trafficking in 2012, and geographically they spanned the state. 


In 2014, as part of its ongoing Economic Security Initiative, the Fund made grants to two organizations addressing human trafficking, and a third on violence prevention more generally: the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA), the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) and Family Crisis Services.


MECASA is building resources statewide to tackle sex trafficking, both in terms of support for survivors, raising awareness and supporting the legal and policy infrastructure to identify and prosecute this crime


"We will be expanding the availability of statewide anti-trafficking resources such as a Trafficking Victims Support Fund, a statewide anti-trafficking volunteer bank, and enhanced awareness-building tools and trainings for both providers and members of the Maine media about the issue," says Destie Hohman Sprague, program director at the MECASA. "This year's grant from the Fund will also allow us to continue to staff the statewide Attorney General's Human Trafficking Work Group, the state's only central body for anti-trafficking efforts in Maine."   


ILAP is helping immigrants across Maine obtain legal status, which increases their chances of avoiding or surviving domestic violence and human trafficking. Immigrant women are particularly vulnerable to those who would enslave them while their legal status is in question, and they fear deportation or harm to their families. 


ILAP helps immigrant victims of labor and sex trafficking obtain special "T" visas that allow them to remain in the United States safely and legally. Executive Director Sue Roche shared a story about one of ILAP's clients: "Halima" was brought into the United States by a family that had been using her as an indentured slave since the age of ten in Djibouti. Here in the US, they kept her confined in their home and did not give her food or a bed to sleep on. "She had to sleep on the floor in a closet and scavenged the kitchen for food after the family went to bed. After she was able to flee from the home, she found members of the community who helped her," says Sue. "They brought her to ILAP and we represented her in applying for a 'T' visa, which was granted. She is now on a path to citizenship and is safe for the first time. She is rebuilding her life in Maine and has a family of her own." 


Finally, Family Crisis Services in Portland will facilitate discussion groups with students at Deering, Portland and South Portland High Schools on preventing and ending violence against women and girls. These students include many English Language Learners and first-generation Americans who are very concerned about violence prevention. "The young women in our Global Girls Groups are raising awareness about dating abuse, sexual assault and sex trafficking through activism. They are educating their peers and the adults in their community about these important issues that put women at risk," says Karen Wentworth, Director of Prevention Services.       


The disregard for the value of human life that underlies this crime is very concerning, as is its frequency. Philanthropy in general and the Fund in particular can and should play a role in addressing this dark societal ill, to support all effective means of raising awareness, addressing the needs of survivors and investing in the infrastructure necessary to prosecute and prevent the trafficking of women and girls. 


For more information on how you can help combat sex trafficking in Maine, please contact ILAP, MECASA and FCS.



The Maine Women's Fund's board of directors elected six new members and selected officers at its June meeting. Beginning at the September meeting of the board, the six new members will begin three-year terms as part of the volunteer leadership for the Fund. We appreciate their willingness and dedication to serve women and girls in Maine through the Fund's board of directors. Click here to meet other current members of the Board.

The newly elected members are:

Amelia Kurtz
serves as Chief Fiduciary Officer for Bangor Savings Bank's Wealth Management Group. Amelia graduated as a member of the last all women class from Wheaton College and is also a graduate of the Cannon Financial Institute Trust School, earning the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor designation. More recently, she completed the year-long Institute for Civic Leadership's Tau Leadership Intensive program. Born and raised in Maine, Amelia is committed to serving the people of her home state and participates actively in her community. She has served on many boards including Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southern Maine and the Scarborough Economic Development Board. She has also been an active volunteer for the United Way. In addition to her passion for supporting the empowerment and growth of women and girls, she is committed to supporting efforts for the humane treatment of animals.


Representative Mary Pennell Nelson
has served 3 terms in the Maine House of Representatives, representing District 112, most of Falmouth. She serves on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. Her major areas of focus are education, particularly higher education and early childhood education, tax reform, business and job development, and the protection of Maine's unique environment. She is a graduate of Smith College and has a Master's Degree in public policy and management from the Muskie School at USM. Rep. Nelson has been a leader in many educational and community organizations including the University of Southern Maine, Southern Maine Community College, Maine College of Art, Smith College, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Maine Historical Society, the Osher Map Library at USM, and Maine Medical Center. She is a Corporator of Gorham Savings Bank. Rep. Nelson and Kenneth, her husband of 47 years, have 3 grown sons, 4 granddaughters, and 2 grandsons. 


Donna McNeil
holds a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University, an MLA in Art History from Harvard University, a certificate from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in State and Local Leadership and an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the Maine College of Art. She is Co-Director of Artists in Context and is the former Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission. She has served as a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts, Baker Artist Awards, St. Botolph Awards, MacArthur Foundation, the Piscataquis Artist Advancement grant and worked extensively with Creative Capital Foundation. She is currently mounting a retrospective of the work of Thomas Moser opening in August of 2015 at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art.











Noreen Alvarado Patient is a shareholder at the law firm of Eaton Peabody and her practice focuses on real estate litigation and general commercial litigation.  A New York native, she earned her B.A. from Haverford College and her J.D. from University of Pennsylvania Law School.   Noreen previously served on the Boards of the Maine Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Maine Home to Home.  She lives in Durham with her husband Greg and their two young daughters.











Candace Walworth, M.D. is a retired nephrologist. She served as President of the Maine Nephrology Society, Chairperson of the Network of New England, and is a former board member of the Renal Physicians Association, the national organization serving for all renal practitioners in the pursuit and delivery of quality renal healthcare. She is secretary of the board of The Public Theatre in Lewiston and serves on the Bates College Institutional Review Board. She received her AB summa cum laude from Smith College and her medical degree from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.    













Paula Watson, Esq. serves as Counsel to Foreside Financial Grou p, LLC in Portland, Maine. Paula received her undergraduate degree from Knox College, a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College, and a juris doctorate from Vermont Law School. She is a decorated and retired United States Army Colonel and a volunteer member of the Camp O-AT-KA Corporation.    



Maine Women's Fund Summer Intern 

Chelsea Smith dedicated her summer to helping out at the Fund's Portland office. She has accepted a job in Denver working with children, and will be leaving for Colorado this week. We asked her a few questions about her experience at the Fund.    


Why did you choose to intern at Maine Women's Fund?

I was first introduced to the organization as a teenager when my mom took me to a Maine Women's Fund Leadership Luncheon when I was in high school. I don't think I realized it at the time but it made quite the impression on me! I was drawn to work at the Fund to learn more about non-profit work in my home state. Working for Maine Women's Fund has enabled me to get to back in touch with all of the awesome organizations here in Maine.  


What were you most looking forward to learning about during your tenure at the Fund? 

I've enjoyed getting to know the stories of the grantees. I love going on site visits and getting to see firsthand where Maine Women's Fund is making an impact. I'm a hands-on person so it's nice to go to the physical spaces and see the tangible effects the Fund has on the community.


What are your career goals, and how will your internship help you achieve them?

My passion at the moment is teaching yoga. I taught yoga to kindergarteners and second graders this past spring in Colorado and I am currently teaching a donation based class at Urban Farm Fermentory on Tuesdays. My goal is to bring community together through movement. My work at the Maine Women's Fund is helping me develop skills around social media, grant writing, and running successful events -- all essential tools for getting any idea off the ground. I also feel lucky to be connected to a large network of awesome women who are making a difference around the state.


Describe a female mentor in your life and how she has influenced you.

I am lucky to have lots of female role models in my life. I am extremely close to both my mom, Audrey, and my grandmother, Pam. We have had many proud "multigenerational moments," as my grandmother likes to call them. A big moment was when we all went to the caucus in Portland to put in our votes. This sort of thing has influenced me greatly because Pam will adamantly remind me how lucky it is that I can vote and to never take this for granted. My grandmother is also the big philanthropist in my family, insisting that we pick charities in her honor for nearly every holiday. I have to say my interest in philanthropy is something that I ultimately attribute to my grandmother and her huge heart.


Best of luck to Chelsea! We thank her for all her help this summer. If you know a young person who would be interested in an internship at the Fund, please contact Katie at 207-774-5513 or email 



In June of 1988, a visionary group of women gathered to create what eventually became the Maine Women's Fund. Inspired by a talk given by Helen Lakelly Hunt, a member of the board of the National Network of Women's Funds, these Founders were convinced that they could make a significant difference in the lives of Maine women and girls through philanthropy.


Program participant, 1992, Women Unlimited. 


Since its inception the Fund has invested nearly $1.8 million in 180 organizations with programs creating systemic change and improving the quality of life in our communities.


Under its current leadership and strategic plan, the Fund is positioning itself to be a permanent source of philanthropy in Maine for women and girls. We invite you to join us this year as we look back and commemorate the Fund's 25 Years of Grantmaking.  


The Maine Women's Fund Founders are:

Nancy Anderson, Tracy Booth, Minette Cummings, Beth Edmonds, Nancy Herter, Mary Hillas, Deborah Johnston, Lucinda Lang, Jacquelin Libby, Gloria Milliken, Margot Milliken, Destry Oldham-Sibley, Marjorie Phyfe, Carol Ward, Ellen Wells, Phoebe M. Whipple and Anne Zill.






From the archives: 25 Years of Grantmaking


Participants of grantee Camp Kieve, circa 1992.
Barbara Leonard, Fund board chair, circa 1998.


Grantee Maine Equal Justice Partners, circa 1998.
Lael Jepson, Jess Esch and board alumna Joan Fortin at the 2010 Leadership Luncheon.
Founder Nancy Herter and current board member  
Robin Lin Hodgskin, 2014.


Girls on the Run begins Fall Registration on Wednesday Aug. 6 at 12PM. Over a period of 12 weeks, girls in the 3rd through 5th grade participate in an after-school program like no other. The season begins the week of September 8 and ends with a Celebratory 5k on Sunday, November 16 at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, ME. You do not have to attend the school or be a YMCA member to participate on a local team. GOTR strives to offer financial assistance to those families that cannot pay the full registration fee of $130. Scholarship applications are now being accepted.  

GOTR Maine is also looking for Solemates! "Your personal goals, like running a 5k, a half or full marathon, or completing a triathlon, can help thousands of young girls live their own dreams."

The Girls on the Run SoleMates program provides adults an opportunity to raise funds for Girls on the Run - Maine (GOTR-ME) while training for the athletic event of their choice. Training for any endurance event is often challenging and being a SoleMate is a great way to keep it fun, stay motivated and maintain your commitment. Our SoleMates raise critically needed funds that ensure that our council is able to serve more girls in Maine. For more info:

2nd Annual Great Falls Yoga Festival

September 13, 2014 

There will be a wide range of offerings that will be hosted at various locations on Lisbon Street, Lewiston.  With thanks to the enthusiastic support of the local business and yoga community, this promises to be a successful fundraising event for the YWCA of Central Maine.    


Save the Date!  Thursday, October 9th, 6:00PM in Portland

Wayfinder Schools' 2014 Farm to Sea Auction

Farm to Sea Auction, 2013

Monday, August 11 at 12PM on MBPN radio. 


Fund CEO Sarah Ruef-Lindquist will be a panelist on the popular MPBN show, Maine Calling, on an episode called "The Coming Wealth Transfer." Maine Calling is an interactive radio program hosted by MPBN News Director Keith Shortall and Public Affairs Host Jennifer Rooks and produced by Jonathan Smith.

An estimated $59 trillion will transfer from 2007 to 2061, the greatest in U.S. History. The landmark study from Havens & Schervish of Boston College updates the original figures from their study in 1999. The study reveals a 12% increase in lifetime giving from the 1999 study, which represents "nearly $27 trillion given to charity."


This latest study was commissioned to "inspire greater philanthropy and to elevate the importance of planning to help families and individuals direct more of their wealth to causes about which they are most passionate."


The guests for this show will discuss this study, the realities of wealth transfer in terms of what it means for women and the nonprofits that will benefit.  


Also appearing on the panel with Sarah: 

Dana Baldwin, Program and Communications Director, Maine Philanthropy Center

Karen Milliken, CFA, Vice President and Portfolio Manager, R. M. Davis


You can listen live next Monday and afterwards anytime online.  





September 27, 2014 at the Wells Conference Center 

Elect Her - Campus Women Win is the only program in the country that encourages and trains college women to run for student government and future political office. A collaboration between AAUW and Running Start, Elect Her addresses the need to expand the pipeline to women running for office and to diminish the longstanding political leadership gender gap.   >>Read more 




Save the Date!  Friday, November 7, 2014

The Unfinished Agenda: New England Women's Policy Conference 

10:00 AM -5:00 PM  





 "21st Century Barriers to Women's Entrepreneurship" report conducted by the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.   

Read the full report here.  

The Chronicle on Philanthropy provides a host of webinars covering topics such as Fundraising, Social Media, Grant Seeking and Technology.
Find the full schedule here.

2014 Kids Count report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation:
"More than one-third of Maine children live in households where parents lack full-time, year-round employment, while 21 percent of Maine children - or 54,000 - live in poverty."
Read the full report here and the Maine report here.


Gender Transformative Giving: The Next Phase in Feminist Philanthropy 

A new report released by Women's Funding Network, True Child, and Public Interest Projects offers "context, research, and action steps to those who wish to implement a gender lens in their work." Download the report here




John T. Gorman Foundation Establishes Leadership Development Program in Maine

The John T. Gorman Fellowship is for nonprofit and public sector professionals working in fields related to the Foundation's four priorities. The Fellowship aims to help participants become more results-focused and enable them to build the vision, confidence and competence required to advance change and improve the lives of vulnerable people in Maine. The four priority areas are: improving educational achievement for young children, promoting successful adult transition for vulnerable older youth, helping struggling parents to support their families and enabling more low-income seniors to age in place. 

Deadline for application: September 19

>>Read more      


The MetLife Foundation 

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

For 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




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

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