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Press Release: KCI Matches Two Inaugural Grants from the Maine Justice Foundation’s Racial Justice Fund

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2021

Kennebunkport Climate Initiative Matches Two Inaugural Grants from the Maine Justice Foundation’s Racial Justice Fund, Supporting Maine Racial Justice and Equity Efforts.

Kennebunkport, ME – The Kennebunkport Climate Initiative (KCI) is proud to announce the matching of two inaugural $5,000 grants from the Maine Justice Foundation’s Racial Justice Fund. The goal of the Fund is to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color statewide to forge social, systemic, and economic solutions that will address racism and inequities in our culture, organizations and systems. While grants were issued to six inspiring recipients from across Maine, the two grantees that KCI has chosen to support are Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center and Sunlight Media Collective.

“As a climate change organization, we know that climate change disproportionately impacts black and other diverse communities, and that climate science organizing often has been represented by homogenous populations,” said Jono Anzalone, Executive Director of KCI. “We are committed at KCI to building an inclusion coalition and supporting the important work of the Maine Justice Foundation’s Racial Justice Fund is just one of the ways we can make a difference here in Maine.”

Maine Justice Foundation Executive Director Michelle G. Draeger commented, “Our partnership with the Kennebunkport Climate Initiative is a powerful way for us to leverage the impact of our grants and elevate the inspiring work of our grantees. We are grateful for KCI’s engagement and will continue to work together whenever the fight for racial justice intersects with their critical work to solve the climate crisis.”

The Maine Justice Foundation issued six grants of $5,000 each during this first cycle. The two grantees and the projects supported by KCI’s matching $5,000 grants are:

Photo credit: The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center

Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center: To support expansion of the Center’s iEnglish Project to provide more language training to non-English speaking BIPOC community members so they can join the Maine workforce. This grant funding will allow 30 New Mainers to take English courses through the iEnglish Project, free of charge, for one year. The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center is a collaborative hub whose mission is to strengthen the immigrant community through language acquisition, economic integration and civic engagement. Learn more at welcomeimmigrant.org.

“We are grateful to the Maine Justice Foundation and KCI for supporting the expansion of our iEnglish Project,” said Reza Jalali, Executive Director of The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center. “English proficiency is the most significant barrier to the integration of immigrants in the social, economic and civic fabrics of U.S. society. This grant will allow us additional focus on reaching and training non-english speaking BIPOC community members in Maine with a technology platform that supports a tailored curriculum and self-paced learning.

Photo credit: Sunlight Media Collective, screenshot from their documentary, Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory which received a 2015 Emmy Award Nomination.

Sunlight Media Collective: To support the creation of multimedia by Maine’s tribal members to document and educate the public about the tribal perspective on issues of environmental justice, land control and the commodification of natural resources and its impact on indigenous people of Maine. Sunlight Media Collective’s goal is to improve the Wabanaki Tribes’ environmental health, cultural survival and sovereignty, as well as Tribal-State relations. Learn more at sunlightmediacollective.org/

Dawn Neptune Adams, Sunlight Media Collective producer, said “Sunlight Media Collective documents and presents issues affecting Indigenous people from Wabanaki perspectives, highlighting the intersection between environmental justice and Tribal rights, and presenting analysis and historical context to facilitate understanding and opportunities for alliance building and social change. Our work is in the form of long and short documentaries, news coverage, and calls-to-action. We are honored to be one of the many deserving groups recognized by the Maine Justice Foundation’s Racial Justice Fund and KCI for doing important grassroots work here in Wabanakeag (Maine).”

About The Maine Justice Foundation
The Maine Justice Foundation, founded in 1983 as the Maine Bar Foundation, is the state’s leading funder of civil legal aid and is committed to ensuring access to justice for all Mainers. Find us online and support the Racial Justice Fund at justicemaine.org.

About KCI
KCI is a nonpartisan, science-based climate change organization based in Kennebunkport, Maine whose mission is to empower youth voices for climate action. Through education and empowerment initiatives, youth are learning about climate solutions and becoming agents of change in our communities and beyond. Learn more about KCI at kportclimate.org and by connecting with @weareKCI on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

FMI: Contact Jono Anzalone, KCI Executive Director jono@kportclimate.org.

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