JANUARY 2015 Table of Contents
Message from the CEO
The Fund Names New Operations Manager
2015 Honorees Announced
The Fund Convenes Second Social Change Workshop
Spotlight on Board of Directors: Mary Nelson
The Fund Honors Our Founders
Grantee Spotlight: Hardy Girls Healthy Women
Events, Resources & Opportunities
Read the 2013-14 Report to the Community

Dear Friends, 

The New Year is such an exciting time at the Fund: we're working on a grant selection process culminating in April; we are kicking off the 25th anniversary of our first grants; and we are gearing up for the 2015 Leadership Luncheon, just five months away on May 19. The awards at the Luncheon this year offer remarkable stories of courage, strength and determination to achieve social justice--just the kind of inspiration we find so energizing to continue to build economic security for Maine women and girls.


The second annual Visionary Partner award will be presented to Lamey Wellehan; read more below about what an exemplary employer this locally-owned shoe retailer is, and how President Obama took notice of the 100-year-old shoe company's family-friendly policies. (Jim Wellehan told me he's proud that their store managers are all women, save for one who is currently on maternity leave!) Our Tribute to Women in Industry (TWIN) honoree is the CEO of WEX, Melissa Smith, an inspiring leader in Maine's corporate world as well as in her community. As a young woman, she is one of the few female corporate leaders in Maine, and is making her mark both within and outside of WEX. The Sarah Orne Jewett award is going to the amazing Julia Kahrl, founder of Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights ("GRR"). The organization brings awareness and action to the landscape of reproductive healthcare access for all Mainers. Finally, Nicole Maines will receive the Samantha Smith award. Taking on a school system and the Maine Human Rights Commission to secure a decision favorable to transgendered Mainers in public accommodation, she is a model of tenacity, bravery and activism. She was recently recognized nationally in Glamour magazine and the Huffington Post. We look forward to sharing these honorees' stories with you on May 19.


Fund grantees also provide great inspiration at the Luncheon, and we look forward to sharing more about who those will be in the coming months. In the meantime, our site visits to them each month provide us with inspiration from their work with victims of domestic violence needing dental care, girls building healthy self-esteem and self-images, building self-advocacy for safe, affordable housing and securing legal status for immigrant women vulnerable to abuse and human trafficking. Read more below about some of those visits.


In December I was inspired to visit with six of the Fund's founding board members. Their continued commitment to the work of social justice for Maine women and girls and their economic security, 25 years later, is humbling. All these years later, they remain dedicated to helping the Fund create a Maine where women and girls thrive, so communities prosper. Their leadership--past, present and future--is a gift we treasure.


We welcomed Kelly Martin to the Fund in December as Operations Manager. Kelly, a native of Houlton, came to us after many years at the Maine Cancer Foundation. Read more about her background below. We are thrilled to have her join the team.


We look forward to celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Fund's grant making with you throughout the year, continuing to be inspired by all that you and our community is doing to make Maine a just and caring society for women and girls.


Sarah Ruef-Lindquist 




The Fund is pleased to announce that Kelly Fitzpatrick Martin has recently joined the staff as Operations Manager. A native of Houlton, Kelly attended Bates College where she obtained a BS in Biology. After several years in the medical field at Massachusetts General Hospital, she returned to Maine and in 2006 joined the staff of the Maine Cancer Foundation in an administrative support role, then as office manager and most recently as events manager, where she managed the "Tri for a Cure", an annual $1.4M fundraising event with 1,400 participants and 500 volunteers. Kelly has advanced skills in volunteer coordination, communications, data-base management and reporting, and a diverse array of non-profit operations. She lives in South Portland with her husband and has a son and two daughters. She works full-time out of the Fund's Falmouth office. 


Please join us in welcoming Kelly to the team! 




We are so pleased to announce the fifth annual Leadership Luncheon and awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. The Leadership Luncheon brings together more than 700 prominent professional and community-minded people to network, discuss women's leadership and invest in economic security for Maine's women and girls. The event will honor Maine leaders who promote and inspire social change for women and girls. The luncheon will also feature inspiring stories from Maine Women's Fund grantees. Stay tuned for ticket information! 


Announcing the 2015 Honorees


Tribute to Women in Industry Award (TWIN) recognizes a woman who is a leader in her field and has achieved significant accomplishments as a business owner, business executive or nonprofit organizational leader.

2015 Honoree: Melissa Smith, President and CEO of WEX, co-founder of sheJAMS. 

After progressively gaining greater responsibilities and participating in WEX's dramatic growth, Melissa Smith rose to her current position as CEO of the global corporate payments company, which maintains operations in five countries and more than 1,400 employees (many of whom are based in Maine). Melissa is passionate about growing WEX to create challenging and rewarding careers where employees are able to develop, contribute and advance within the company. She played a key part in helping take the South Portland-based company public. 


Melissa also co-founded sheJAMS in 2010, an all-women training club, which allows women to train together in a non-competitive spirit and to share each other's achievements. "Women individually accomplish wonderful things, but when you put them together, it can be magical," she says. Melissa also serves on the Center for Grieving Children's Board of Directors and participates in the Executive Women's Forum, which she co-founded to provide a support network for female executives in the local community.


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.


2015 Honoree: Judy Kahrl, Ph.D., founder of Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights 

As a daughter of the founder of Pathfinder International, Judy Kahrl grew up in a family where reproductive health and birth control was dinner table conversation. While visiting Pathfinder programs in the developing world, Judy saw how women's access to comprehensive reproductive health services changed their lives by improving their own health and that of their families, and by empowering women to participate in their communities. In recent years, Judy and other women of her generation have become increasingly outraged by the numerous laws passed to restricted access to family planning and abortion clinics in the US.


Judy channeled this frustration by establishing Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights in 2013, also known by its acronym, GRR. Collectively, the grandmothers advocate statewide for secure access for all women and men to the reproductive rights, justice and comprehensive health care for which the grandmothers' generation fought so hard. 


The Samantha Smith Award recognizes a young woman from Maine who works to promote social change in her school or community, inspires other girls to become active in supporting long lasting change in Maine, uses her voice boldly to influence others and make a difference in her community.


2015 Honoree: Nicole Maines, 17, transgender advocate

Nicole Maines, who is transgender, has always been an advocate for being who you are. In 2013, Nicole and her family won a long-standing lawsuit against her school after she'd been forced to use a staff bathroom instead of the girls' bathroom. Maine's Supreme Court ruled that Nicole Maine's rights had been violated under the state's Human Rights Act, marking a historic and landmark victory for transgender rights in the U.S. Nicole continues to play an active role in advocating for her rights: she has spoken on Maine Public Radio to shine a light on what it means to be transgender in Maine; she has appeared before the Maine Legislature speaking to legislators about transgender children; and she was a summer volunteer for Equality Maine. "When we won, it felt like this huge weight was lifted off," says Maines. "There's still work to be done and stories that need to be told.... I think [advocacy] will always be a part of my life."

The Visionary Partner Award is given to a person or entity who has helped to advance the Fund's vision of a just and caring society in which Maine women and girls thrive so communities prosper.

2015 Honoree: Lamey Wellehan, 100-year-old business

As WCSH6 put it, "Lamey Wellehan started in an era when many customers came on horseback. It has existed into an era when the President is tweeting its name." Indeed, this 100-year-old Maine shoe company caught the eye of President Obama recently not just because of its remarkable history, but on account of its inspiring commitment to paying employees a livable wage. Jim Wellehan, president and second generation of family leadership, has positioned his family's business as a leading example of a company helping to ensure economic security for women and their families. Wellehan is an outspoken supporter for increasing the minimum wage, and sales staff at Lamey Wellehan--most of whom are women--earn a base wage much higher than minimum wage, plus commissions. Additionally, Lamey Wellehan workers enjoy a health plan and 401k package that matches each 5 percent contribution with a 5.5 percent company match. 


"When I was a kid, America was definitely committed to fairness. And that concern for other people seems to be missing today in our corporate culture," says Wellehan. "And we've got to change that. We should pay people enough to live on comfortably, to educate their kids, to bring up their kids."




The Maine Women's Fund held its second Social Change Workshop for grantees on December 3, 2014. The workshops, led by the Maine Women's Policy Center, are structured to engage all current Fund grantees in topics related to social change by learning and sharing their own experiences with each other. December's workshop covered a number of diverse communication topics.


The group discussed traditional tools used in communications, including press releases and press conferences, as well as opinion pieces such as opeds and letters to the editor. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England led a fun and lively conversation on what to do when the media calls. The workshop also covered how to develop deeper relationships with those in the media; Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA) shared their significant successes educating the media (including 80 members of the Bangor Daily News staff) about best practices on how to discuss and report on sexual violence. All grantee participants had much to share around framing their issues and talking about their work in ways that best engaged the stakeholders they wanted to reach, making for a very rich discussion on that topic. The workshop wrapped up with a discussion about social media and how organizations are using these tools to advance their missions and the lives of the women and girls across the state.


The next quarterly workshop for the grantees will focus on power analyses and how grantees may be using that tool to create sustainable social change for women and girls in their local communities. 




Mary Nelson holds a BA from Smith College and MA from the University of Southern Maine in Public Policy and Management. She served (until 2014) as the Representative to the Maine Legislature for District 112, which includes Falmouth. She is past president of the board of Portland Symphony Orchestra, Choral Arts Society, Osher Library, Friends of the USM School of Music and Maine College of Art, and has served on the board of the Maine Municipal Association and is a corporator of Maine Medical Center. She joined the Maine Women's Fund Board of Directors in 2014.  

Why do you support the Maine Women's Fund? 

I believe in the mission of the Fund. I think that the Fund's support of Maine women and girls builds their self-confidence, and provides valuable support for Maine communities. I grew up with two older brothers, and my girl/women friends have always been important to me. My experience at Smith College taught me a lot about the power of women. I also think that women often bring a different perspective to problem-solving. In the Legislature, where I served in the House for six years, on the Town Council (where I also served for six years), as well as in my work with cultural, educational and community organizations, I think that active listening and finding ways to collaborate are often the strongest contributions of the women.


What do you enjoy about board service?  

From my perspective, board service is very rewarding. I like having the opportunity to shape the direction of an organization and to find ways to help the organization fulfill its mission. I like being part of a team and enjoy getting to know and working with other board members, often developing connections and friendships that long outlast one's board tenure. Board service provides a deeper understanding of the organization as well as provides a platform for members to promote and educate others about the work of and the contributions made by the organization.    


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

I think the Fund's support of many small, community-based organizations should be widely broadcast. It is a testament to the Fund and to each grantee that modest investments in these organizations can make a significant difference in their ability to provide a variety of services to Maine women and girls. 


What is your vision for Maine women and girls?  

My vision for Maine women and girls is that every woman and girl will live with economic security and that she will be able to reach her full potential and realize her dreams. Maine has a long history of strong women. Maine women led in the anti-slavery movement, have been political leaders, are increasingly developing and leading businesses, are actively engaged in the non-profit sector and are educational leaders at all levels. My vision for Maine women and girls is that they will have stability, mentoring and an open field without barriers enabling them to achieve great things.   



Six founding board members of the Maine Women's Fund gathered to reminisce and plan for the future of the Fund. Over tea on a brisk, sunny Sunday afternoon, founding board member Carol Ward hosted the group and CEO Sarah Ruef-Lindquist. They shared the vision that created the Fund, the impact the Fund has had since its first year of grantmaking 25 years ago, and how that vision is being carried forward for the next 25 years and beyond. Stories about how their mothers influenced them as people and philanthropists, and what they found--and still find--so compelling about Maine's only philanthropy focused solely on women and girls provided for great conversation and inspiration. Their dedication to the Fund remains a gift to Maine women and girls.

Seated, from left to right:

Nancy Herter, Anne Zill, Destry Oldham-Sibley, Nancy Anderson


Standing, from left to right:

Carol Ward, Margot Milliken


The Fund made its first grants in 1990 and remains the sole Maine philanthropy focused only on women and girls. Since its inception the Fund has invested nearly $2M in 180 organizations with programs creating systemic change and improving the quality of life in our communities.




We welcome the Fund community to share stories, pictures and memories of 25 Years of Grantmaking with us. Please contact us at thewomen@mainewomensfund.org or at 207-774-5513.  


Since its inception the Fund has invested nearly $2M in 180 organizations 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.   



On Tuesday, December 16, staff and board members of the Fund visited grantee Community Dental Center in Waterville, to learn more about how dental care can drastically transform the lives of women and girls when it comes to economic security. 


The Community Dental Center is a 14-year-old nonprofit public health facility that provides comprehensive oral health services to residents of Kennebec and Somerset counties, focusing on those who are MaineCare recipients and/or considered low-income. Community Dental believes that all aspects of health care, including dental, transforms the lives of women and girls since social change, economic security and community building necessitates being both educated about one's health and keeping physically healthy to the best of one's ability.   


Butterflies adorn one of the dental center's exam rooms.

The Maine Women's Fund grant supports some or all of the uncovered dental care costs for domestic violence survivors and MaineCare recipients; in fact, nearly half of the award is spent on women who are clients in the Somerset Family Violence program. These can be either residents at the safe-house facility or women involved in the resources the program offers but are living elsewhere. Community Dental Center will use the other half of the funding for dental care for women, over the age of 21, who are on MaineCare,(Maine Care recipients over the age of 21 do not receive coverage for preventive care - only "imminent tooth loss"). Ninety percent of Community Dental's patients are MaineCare patients. MaineCare members who are benefiting from the grant dollars are required to contribute $90 to their care.


The Center's clients tell stories about limited access to care and personal and professional relationships that are impacted by the applicant's desire to hide their dental health concerns and their smile or their face, because of concerns about decayed teeth. The result is that many of these women don't smile and don't get too close to others.   


According to one female patient of Community Dental: "I haven't had dental care in over 20 years except for needing a few teeth pulled. I hate to smile because of my teeth being really bad. It's important to me to be able to smile and eat and drink things without pain. My kids and husband always ask me why I don't smile and I tell them it's because my teeth are rotten. I always tell my sons to take care of their teeth so they don't end up being like mine." The patient will receive full dental care with a minimal but affordable co-pay, including exam, x-rays, cleanings, restorative care and education.


"I can only imagine how many people are denied work because of their dental health," said Kim Crichton, grants coordinator for the Fund. "In a world where so many issues of economic security are so much more complicated, this is a problem that can be solved." 


Photo, at right: Dentist Kristina Lake grew up in Maine, studied dental medicine in Connecticut and then came home to Maine to practice at Community Dental Center because she is interested in giving back, likes practicing public health dentistry and is encouraged to participate in the Maine Dental Health Association where she sits on the public policy committee.

Learn more about Community Dental Center: www.communitydental.org/  




The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. The organization announces that Maine Women's Day at the State House in Augusta will be on January 20, 2015. Be sure to join the fun starting at 9 a.m. in the Rotunda. 

More info here


Women in Harmony presents "Rooted in the Heart"
Friday, January 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Woodfords Congregational Church, 202 Woodford Street, Portland, ME

This program interweaves music about the concerns of the heart - including both romantic and parental love - with readings related to women's experiences with cardiac disease. We will perform several songs, serious and silly, about reproductive health, including My Body and The OBG Why Me Blues. Other highlights are I Ain't Afraid by Holly Near; Mother's Prayer by Connie Kaldor, Love is the Mother of Us All by The Righteous Mothers, and the premiere of So Many Doors by Women in Harmony's accompanist Deana Ingraham Gurney.


Sunday, January 25, 2015 | 9:30am - 5:00pm

Girl Scouts and Empowerment Through Sports Leadership Conference

Linda K. Paresky Conference Center, Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change, Boston 
Get empowered through sports at this conference! Girls in grades 6 - 12, along with adults who support girls to succeed as female athletes can participate in workshops on topics such as nutrition, teamwork, communication, leadership, college athletics options, goal setting, conditioning and training, and balancing sports and life. Keynote Speaker: Angela Hucles, a two-time Olympian and founder of Empowerment Through Sport. Master of Ceremonies: Diana Cutaia, the founder of Coaching Peace. Other professional female athletes and content experts will participate as workshop presenters.
Register here.  


Save the date! April 29, 2015: Grantee Planned Parenthood of Northern New England will hold an evening soiree at Holiday Inn in Portland to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Northern New England affiliates. Cecile Richards will be speaking. Stay tuned for more information! 



Co-founder of Mabel Wadsworth retiring in May, leaves behind legacy 

Ruth Lockhart, an original founder of Mabel Wadsworth Center, one of only 15 privately funded, feminist women's health centers in the US, is retiring in May. She leaves behind 30 years of change for women's health in Maine. 

>>Read more


The new all-volunteer nonprofit focused on eating disorders, the Eating Disorders Association of Maine, seeks a volunteer for a few hours a month to help keep the organization's website, based in WordPress, up to date. The volunteer can be based anywhere. Please contact EDAM for more information. 



The Violence Against Women and Girls Resource Guide

Published by the World Bank Group, the Global Women's Institute at George Washington University, and the Inter-American Development Bank, this guide offers information on the characteristics and consequences of VAWG, as well as guidance on integrating VAWG prevention and response into policies and legislation, sector programs and projects.

>>Read more

With Maine activist Ruth Moore, VA personalizes help for sexual trauma victims

In December, the Department of Veterans Affairs took an important step in expanding its support for those who were sexually abused while serving in the military. It also is working with a Maine survivor to ensure its services and benefits meet the needs of those who have endured sexual abuse and harassment in the military.

>>Read more

Transformative Wealth from Women, for WomenHow and why women should invest in women and girls
According to a new study commissioned by Women Moving Millions (WMM), today North American women have the capacity to give an estimated $230 billion annually. This figure is approximately equal to all charitable giving from individuals in the United States in 2013, and roughly equal to 3.3 times the overall charitable giving by foundations and corporations in the United States last year. This expansion of giving potential is due to a growth in women's wealth, both earned and inherited. It is a trend that is forecasted to continue at ever-increasing rates, and presents a tremendous opportunity to transform the lives of women and girls around the world.

New Pledges to Expand Access to Early Childhood Education Announced
In December, the White House announced public, private, and philanthropic commitments totaling more than $1 billion in support of efforts to expand access to early childhood education.
>>Read more

"Every Day is Election Day: A Woman's Guide to Winning Any Office, from the PTA to the White House," by Rebecca Sive, with an introduction by Maine's very own Anna Roosevelt. Rebecca is hoping to get the book into the hands of as many women leaders (and emerging leaders) as possible, so she has worked with her publisher to create a discount opportunity for participating organizations. The discounted price is 30% off each copy purchased in 2015: $12.57 for hard copy, $10.49 for the e-book (no limit on the number purchased). If your organization is interested in this opportunity, a special organizational code would be set up for direct purchase by individuals from the publisher's website. Rebecca will arrange this for you. Rebecca's stated goal is to "get a useful resource into the hands of women activists for their advocacy at this critical time in our women's leadership movement." For more information about the book, feel free to visit Rebecca's websiteFor information on setting up a partnership, write to Rebecca at: rebecca@rebeccasive.com. She will be delighted to hear from you.

Maine Breast Cancer Coalition works with the National Breast Cancer Coalition to promote DEADLINE2020
The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) is dedicated to ending breast cancer through the power of grassroots action and advocacy. In 2010, NBCC launched Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 to focus resources and efforts to the areas that will lead to the knowledge needed to end breast cancer. The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition urges local organizations and leaders to become familiar with this groundbreaking campaign to end breast cancer by the year 2020.
>>Read more


The Global Gender Gap Report 2014     

The report, released this week, benchmarks national gender gaps of 142 countries on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria. This year is the 9th edition of the Index, allowing for time-series analysis on the changing patterns of gender equality around the world and comparisons between and within countries.  

>>Read more  

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.



Mary Byron Project Announces 2015 Roth Award for Domestic Violence Programs

As part of its annual Celebrating Solutions Awards honoring innovative programs in the United States that demonstrate promise in ending the generational cycle of domestic violence, the Mary Byron Project created the Roth Award to reward and spotlight domestic violence programs that address the needs of underserved populations. Eligible programs provide services to populations (including those based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, faith, disabilities, low socioeconomic status, sexual preference, and victims from economically comfortable suburban areas) that traditionally do not know how to avail themselves of services or who are too ashamed to find them.

>>Read more 


AAUW Accepting Applications for Community Action Grants
The American Association of University Women is accepting applications for its Community Action Grants Program, an annual program that provides funds to individuals, AAUW branches, and AAUW state organizations as well as community-based nonprofit organizations for innovative programs and non-degree research projects that promote education and equity for women and girls. 

Deadline: January 15, 2015

>>Read more 


Hadassah Foundation Invites Applications for Leadership-Building Projects for Women and Girls

The mission of the Hadassah Foundation is to improve the status, health, and well-being of young Jewish women and girls; bring their contributions, issues, and needs from the margins to the center of Jewish concern; and encourage and facilitate their active participation in decision-making and leadership in all spheres of life. The foundation awards one-year grants of up to $40,000 in support of gender-sensitive social-change projects that develop the leadership skills and capabilities of adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 30 in the Jewish community.

Deadline: February 17, 2015 

>>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





We have another amazing year of successes to report for fiscal year 2013-2014 on behalf of the Fund, all of which were made possible with the generous support of corporate, foundation and individual philanthropists, like you.  


Click here or on the image to the right to read the report.


We thank you for your participation as a donor, volunteer, or for attending the Luncheon or our county conversations. We could not do this work without you. Together, we will make Maine the best it can be for all who live and work here by ensuring that women and girls thrive so our communities prosper. Thank you for your commitment to creating better lives for women, families and communities in Maine.     


Consider giving a gift to the Maine Women's Fund today. 



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:
74 Lunt Road, Suite 100, Falmouth, ME 04105 | 41 Mechanic Street, Suite 328, Camden, ME 04843

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