The Nova Fund at MeHAF


At the end of 2022, the Maine Health Access Foundation received a $9 million unrestricted gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. MeHAF's Board committed to expend the donated funds on activities consistent with MeHAF’s mission, and, in keeping with the extraordinary opportunity of this gift, to make every effort to expend the $9 million over the course of three to five years (2023 - 2028), while maintaining activities to implement the MeHAF Strategic Framework at a level of financial commitment that would have existed absent the gift.

Early in 2023 we began engaging key stakeholders to identify focus areas for using these resources. A group of our Board and Community Advisory Committee (CAC) members and staff participated in a multi-day, intensive “design sprint” process to develop a plan.  This resulted in guidance, subsequently approved by the full Board and CAC, highlighting three big categories of work to fund: Increasing Funding to Current/Recent Priorities; Collaborative Planning on Critical Issues; and funding for a yet-to-be-defined “Big Idea(s).”

We also established a name for these resources:  the Nova Fund.

The right section of this page shares the current progress we have made in developing Nova Fund spending.

Have a question about the Nova Fund? Email Communications Manager Jeb Murphy.


Timeline of Completed and Ongoing Nova Fund Activities

 Completed Work - 2023

Increased Funding for Current/Recent Priorities - The Board and CAC committed to allocating a portion of the funds to enhance our existing support for work we know is making a difference in Maine. With this in mind, our first funding action through the Nova Fund was to provide further support to grantees in the existing programs of Health Equity Capacity Building, Health Advocacy, Free Clinic Grants Supporting Access to Care, Comprehensive Reproductive Health, and Community-Led Health Needs Assessments. The designated $2 million in funding for this part of the Nova Fund strategy will allow grantees across these programs to enhance their work to ensure equitable access to care for all people in Maine.

Ongoing Work - 2024

Collaborative Planning on Critical Issues: Health Justice Movement Building - In November of 2023, we engaged 80 individuals including grantees, staff, Board, CAC, and other partners in a three-day retreat to discuss and envision what a strong, successful health justice movement in Maine could look like and to identify how best these resources could contribute. The event facilitated idea-sharing and exploration by people and organizations with different missions, perspectives, and populations. The group generated a rich set of ideas to move towards building a thriving health justice movement in Maine in 2024 and beyond. We are now forming grantee teams to further build out action plans for moving forward on priority ideas in 2024 and 2025.


Collaborative Planning on Critical Issues: Healthcare Workforce - We are currently in the early stages of planning for this priority area. Staff is exploring and engaging with partners and organizations to provide input and perspectives on possible strategies to help address Maine’s health care workforce crisis. We expect to have further updates on how this work is progressing in the Fall of 2024.