Mar 22, 2023 | News
In this month’s MaineShare member spotlight, we will explore the question of “What has ROSC been up to lately?” As it turns out, and not surprisingly, they have been doing a lot! ROSC- Resources for Organizing and Social Change – is a MaineShare member who has been around since 1977 and focuses on organizing to dismantle root causes of injustice, led by those with lived experiences of these injustices.
A main focus for ROSC lately has been preparing for the 20th convening of the Maine Youth Activism Gathering– or YAG, for short. This gathering, hosted by ROSC and led by and created for youth, will be held April 15 through April 17 at Pine Tree Camp in Rome, ME. “It is a balance of activism and community building”, explains Sass Borodkin, the Executive Director of ROSC. Workshops for this year’s gathering will highlight topics from water justice, harm reduction, and community de-escalation to consent 101, homelife skills, handling community grief and crisis, and more. The event will also incorporate intentional spans of free time, providing space for participants to reflect on and process their learnings, and cultivate relationships with each other. The gathering seeks to provide a welcoming space where youth can learn from each other and build autonomy. If you know of youth who might be interested, please direct them to the website to learn more and register– the workshop fee is on a sliding scale, with participants asked to contribute $0-100 per day based on what they can afford.
Other activities that ROSC has been involved in are convenings of SNAHP- the Solidarity Network Against Hunger and Poverty. This group was responsible for the publication of a 32-page report that provided feedback on the recommendations of the Interim Report on Ending Hunger in Maine by 2030, from those with lived experiences with poverty and hunger. SNAHP continues to gather to organize, engage, and educate around issues that impact those who experience classism and other forms of systemic oppression.
ROSC has also been busy planning for GROW– their grassroots organizing workshops for adults in the fall– as well as participating in advisory councils aimed at anti-hunger and anti-poverty initiatives. They have also been developing educational materials for those holding power about how best to invite the voices of those with lived experience into authentic opportunities to influence oppressive systems in ways that don’t cause further harm or tokenize. Our community is better because of the work that ROSC does day in and day out, and MaineShare is grateful to have them as a member!
Feb 28, 2023 | News
This time of year it can feel hard to celebrate. The days can feel long and cold. The walls that surround you may feel stifling. The air stings our skin. But what if we turn our face to the sun to feel its warmth when the clouds break? What if we catch a snowflake and marvel at its artistry? What if we listen to the sound our boots make in the snow, listen to branches crackle under ice, listen for the type of quiet that only exists after a snowstorm? I find winter a time to celebrate, as long as I’m dressed in lots of layers and can get outside to play in the snow. I marvel at its peace and stillness. And when I’m inside, I take inspiration from the work of our members, the generosity of our donors, and the support of the MaineShare community. Read on here!
Feb 15, 2023 | News
When you hear the name of our member group, Maine Council of Churches, what images come to mind? Do you think of advocacy on the frontlines of reproductive justice? Do you think about activism around indigenous sovereignty? Do you think about coalition work focused on environmental justice? Perhaps not. But if you do picture those things, you are aware of the amazing advocacy and activism provided by faith leaders of many denominations in our community, led by the fearless work of Maine Council of Churches (MCC).
The MCC began in 1938, and since then, has been a tireless voice toward justice, compassion, and peace. Its work is statewide, and happens among religious leaders, parishioners, and volunteers with many faith backgrounds. As summarized on the MCC website, “Despite our diverse histories and traditions, the member denominations of the Maine Council of Churches share these values: respecting the dignity of each human being; recognizing the duty to protect the Earth; and valuing a political system that encourages civil discourse.” Recently, the MCC co-hosted a public reading of the full text of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail, read by various justice leaders in the community and featuring space and music for reflection and contemplation. Over 500 attendees joined this event on the 2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to be in space together and listen to the powerful and relevant words.
This month, the work of MCC has focused on a Faith-Based Advocacy Series, inviting people of faith to build community, and to be inspired to begin or continue advocacy work toward a more just society. The sessions include practical tips for legislative advocacy and submitting testimony at the state house, as well as training on focused priorities that include housing and homelessness, tribal sovereignty, and banning solitary confinement in Maine’s prisons. The MCC has built great community networks to collaborate with around their advocacy efforts, partnering their Public Policy Committee with other state organizations focused on similar work.
The Maine Council of Churches, under the direction of Executive Director Reverend Jane Field, remains deeply committed to their values, and continues to be a bold, unwavering voice toward a more just and equitable Maine. They are also forward-thinking, and beginning a strategic planning process to determine their vision for the years ahead. MaineShare is so grateful to have the Maine Council of Churches as a member group, and to be able to support and partner with them in the amazing work they do in our community. I encourage you all to learn more about MCC through their website, http://mainecouncilofchurches.org/!
Jan 31, 2023 | News
Welcome to 2023! For me, the new year brings with it renewed energy to look forward, strategize, and gaze ahead at possibilities for MaineShare. We are planning for other ways to bring member groups together in 2023 and to strengthen relationships among us, as well as with community. This is also a great time to engage new stakeholders with the incredible work of our member groups, and how they can support this work through various MaineShare giving options. MaineShare is also pleased to share its latest round of funding to our member groups. This month, allocations checks went out to our members, totaling $137,333.68 in distributions. Our workplace and individual donors make it possible for us to continue providing unrestricted funding to our groups– over $6,637,000 since our inception— and we are so grateful! Don’t forget to read on to learn more.
Jan 16, 2023 | News
The Maine Women’s Lobby Education Fund (MWLEF) is an asset and a resource in our community, building knowledge and engagement in feminist, anti-oppression-based advocacy and civic life. In July, I attended a MWLEF related event that allowed me to meet community members involved in and committed to feminist policy in Maine, and it was a wonderful learning experience for me, full of enthusiasm and hope.
MWLEF advocates for policy solutions to advance the security and well-being of girls and women, and provides opportunities for them to develop as confident leaders. This past fall, they reminded the community that “Care Work is Work,” advocating around policies to protect and support caregivers – both paid and unpaid – in our state. Care workers keep our economy running, but are often unfairly compensated, poorly protected, and are often women, contributing to gender inequity in Maine.
Recently, MWLEF has been leading the Maine Paid Leave Coalition, a group of stakeholders pushing for comprehensive change at the systems-level around paid family and medical leave for all Mainers. The Maine Paid Leave Coalition provides education and advocacy for policy that aligns with gender-inclusive universal paid family and medical leave, and ensures that such policies provide an inclusive definition of family. Reliable and accountable paid leave policies are essential to the economic security of Maine families and we cannot make steps toward greater gender equity without them. I am grateful to the tireless work of our member group, Maine Women’s Lobby Education Fund, and encourage you all to learn more about them! You can also check out their fun legislative education videos on TikTok at www.tiktok.com/@mainewomenslobby!
Dec 22, 2022 | News
Wrapping up 2022, we are so grateful for a wonderful year here at MaineShare. Being a part of Maine Initiatives has been an amazing way to grow our community, capacity, and impact. Our 38 member groups continue their positive impact in the state (read more below!). We have had Workplace Giving campaigns with 50 partner workplaces in 2022, with a few more holding campaigns in early 2023. We have had donations to support our work from over 90 individual donors. For all this, and more, we say THANK YOU to our MaineShare community. Please read on for more news and updates!