Improving Systems for Meeting Basic Human Needs Grants


Improving Systems for Meeting Basic Human Needs Grants recognize that for people and places to truly be healthy, the basic needs of individuals must first be met.  These grants are intended to advance change in the systems and policies under which individuals find themselves requiring assistance to meet their most basic needs. 


As a precursor to achieving healthy people and healthy places, these grants will support efforts that align closely with the Foundation's Values, but need not address strategies related to the natural environment.  


Improving Systems for Meeting Basic Human Needs Grants may span 12, 24, or 36 months. Grants may support operations, capital or projects. Most grants are in the $15,000-$75,000 range, with a typical annual award of about $50,000. Successful applicants will meet the Foundation’s Review Considerations for Improving Systems for Meeting Basic Human Needs (below).  All applicants are eligible to apply once per calendar year.


We encourage potential applicants to give us a call at (207) 865-3810, prior to submission, to discuss their proposal ideas. 


Review Considerations for Improving Systems for Meeting Basic Human Needs Grants


Grant requests will be evaluated based on the Foundation’s General Considerations and those listed below. 


  • Potential to effect systems and structural change in ways that meet unmet, basic needs of people in Maine
  • Potential to identify and carry out cooperative approaches that meet the unmet, basic needs of people in Maine
  • Extent to which work builds social equity and empowers communities to meet their own basic needs
  • Degree to which program development, delivery and governance are community-driven
  • Potential impact and reach of work as well as the degree and quality of that impact


Elements of Successful Proposals

Most successful proposals for grants in this category demonstrate one or more of these elements:


  • Effective, grassroots leadership
  • Empowerment and respect for the dignity of individuals and communities
  • Strong, positive relationships with partners in the programmatic or geographic area served
  • Concern for essential needs, such as food security, safe and affordable housing, and economic development opportunities
  • Resources are directed toward those with limited access to them
  • Long-term impact through public policy and community engagement
  • A spirit of civility and concern for the Common Good
  • A program or service essential to a community's ability to survive and thrive



Application Period


The deadline for applying is January 15, 5pm EST.  In the event the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the application will be due by 5pm on the next business day.  The online application is available from October 15 to January 15.  Decisions will be announced in early June.