Community Responsive Grants Program

Program Description

Applicants may apply for either a one-year planning grant of $10,000 to $30,000 or a project grant for up to two years at $25,000 to $50,000 per year.

The purpose of the Community Responsive Grants (CRG) program is to offer an opportunity for communities to propose their own projects that align with one or more of MeHAF’s Four Goal Areas. The CRG program is intended to respond to community needs, address emerging opportunities, test innovative approaches or new ideas, or implement programs informed by the experiences of communities on how to address barriers to achieving health equity.

The CRG program grew out of the recognition that those closest to a given problem often have the best ideas about potential solutions. Therefore, MeHAF’s goal is that these grants will focus on improving health equity and that the communities facing inequities in health access or outcomes will play a central role in developing and implementing the solutions proposed. Funded projects will focus on changing policies, practices, and perceptions that create barriers to health care and good health, and must be organized such that the communities who face the greatest barriers have a leadership role in creating the solutions that address their needs. Communities may be defined by shared identities, common causes, geographic location, similar health and health access needs, or in other shared experiences or characteristics. Proposals should include the needs identified by the community and projects should result in new information or learning.

Projects that propose simple replication of models and best practices without meaningful community leadership and participation may not be successful and are less likely to be funded.

Organizational Eligibility

A 501(c)(3), local, state, or tribal government entity or educational institution. Applicants must be organizations based in Maine. If your organization is not eligible to apply independently, and you need to apply via a fiscal sponsor, please contact MeHAF before applying so that we can assist you with the steps. Individuals and private foundations are ineligible.


Dates to Remember

Informational Sessions (REGISTER HERE)

  • Monday, June 14 – 9:00-10:00
  • Tuesday, June 15 – 9:00-10:00 and 1:00-2:00

Frequently Asked Questions: Initial release, Thursday, June 17

Letter of Inquiry Due: Tuesday, July 13 by 4:00 PM

Invitation for Full Proposals Released: Tuesday, August 10

Informational Session for Invited Applicants: Friday, August 13

Full Proposals for Invited Applicants Due: Tuesday, September 14 by 4:00 PM

Applicants Notified of Award Status: Wednesday, November 10

Funding Guidelines

Community Responsive Grants program funding may not be used for:

  • General operating support or “gap” funding;
  • Direct care costs;
  • Public awareness campaigns focused on a specific disease or health condition;
  • Fundraising efforts;
  • Capital expenditures;
  • Academic or graduate research; or
  • Grants or scholarships to individuals.



For questions regarding the Community Responsive Grants program, please email Program Officer Frank Martinez Nocito.

For Questions regarding MeHAF's online application system, please email Grants Associate Holly Irish.


Community Responsive Grants Program Background

MeHAF’s vision is that communities across Maine will thrive when all people in Maine are able to lead healthy, productive, and purposeful lives. In this vision, all voices are heard, and all people have what they and their families need to be healthy and well.

Over the past few years, MeHAF has heard clearly from its nonprofit partners, that there is a desire for MeHAF to provide more open, responsive funding opportunities outside of our competitive grants cycles or focus areas. Reflecting MeHAF’s principles within its current strategic framework, the Community Responsive Grant (CRG) program builds upon the Foundation’s long commitment to its mission, as well as emphasize a commitment to advancing health equity. Over time, our experience suggests that the most successful projects with the longest staying power after grant funding ended were those tailored to be responsive to community and cultural needs, focused on efforts to reduce inequities, and designed to leverage local resources, talents, and opportunities. In addition to providing grant funding, this program supports MeHAF’s efforts to build relationships, thus further developing our organizational appreciation and understanding of the scope of challenges communities are working hard to address, as well as the varied forms of expertise and experience they utilize to carry out their work most effectively.

We also recognize that some community health services and access to care needs require action by systems and organizations – “the providers” of care and services. In 2020, MeHAF established the Systems Improvement and Innovation Responsive Grants (SIIRG) program as a complement to CRG. The focus of SIIRG is to support innovations taking place in the health services sphere and create change at the system and organizational levels, with a major emphasis on ensuring that those who are meant to benefit from the work have a meaningful and ongoing voice in shaping improvements and innovations that address their needs. It is anticipated that the grant cycles for these two sister programs will operate on an annual basis beginning with a summer/winter release of their respective RFPs, and continue for the foreseeable future.

Descriptions of previous grantee projects can be found here.