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Outdoor Equity Fund

The 2023 grant-making process

The application period for the Outdoor Equity Fund for 2023 is now closed.

Funding decisions will be released by April 2023. Decisions are made through a participatory grant-making process.The Grantmaking Advisory Committee, a group of Black, Indigenous, and people of color community members that collaborates and advises on Outdoor Equity Fund funding decisions, will convene in March. 

Why an Outdoor Equity Fund?


It is the goal of the Outdoor Equity Fund to improve safe, equitable access to outdoor spaces and increase opportunities for nature-based learning in Wabanaki Territory, (now known as the region of Maine) for Wabanaki people, Black folk, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC).


Maine Initiatives and the Nature Based Education Consortium have partnered to co-host this Outdoor Equity Fund that will make grants to BIPOC-led organizations, through a process of participatory grantmaking.

Barriers to outdoor access this Fund seeks to address:
  • Generational wealth and land access disparities

  • Nature-deprived living spaces in BIPOC communities

  • Costs of outdoor gear, clothing, transportation, passes, etc

  • Lack of opportunity for communities to lead themselves

  • Disconnection and displacement from land and traditional nature-based practices

Examples of work this Fund seeks to support:
  • Leadership development and mentoring

  • Farming and gardening programs

  • Outdoor expeditions

  • Hunting/fishing trips

  • Outdoor learning or environmental education school-based experiences

  • Therapeutic and trauma-informed nature programs

  • Land-based cultural continuation & preservation

  • Land-back and land return projects


We prioritize process

What is participatory grantmaking?

"Participatory grantmaking cedes decision-making power about funding— including the strategy and criteria behind those decisions—to the very communities that funders aim to serve."

-from Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking

Aspects of our participatory grantmaking process:
  • BIPOC community members making decisions

  • Peer learning and relationship building

  • Creating and sharing organizational resources, partnerships, leadership and professional development opportunities

  • Building community, organizational, and sector capacity

  • Application period: January 10-February 10, 2023

  • Awards announced in spring 2023


About the hosts of the fund

The Nature Based Education Consortium (NBEC) is a diverse, multi-sector network of organizations and individuals focused on building support for equitable access to outdoor spaces and learning opportunities for all Maine youth. NBEC believes that all Maine youth deserve the opportunity to learn in ways that connect them to their community and the natural world.

To learn more, visit

Maine Initiatives is a participatory grantmaking organization. It is a network of individuals supporting greater social, economic, and environmental justice in Maine through informed, intentional, and collective philanthropy. Maine Initiatives’ community-based approach to philanthropy explicitly honors the voice, vision, and values that each person can contribute in the pursuit of justice and equity.

To learn more, visit

Donate to the Outdoor Equity Fund

For inquiries about the Outdoor Equity Fund, and to get involved, contact NBEC Equity & Organizing Coordinator Anthony Jackson

Climate change affects everyone, and has unbalanced impacts across race and class. The Climate Education Advocacy working group is invested in these questions of climate justice in working for state-level policy changes.

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