AUGUSTA - The Maine Bicentennial Commission (Maine200) recently awarded the first round of Bicentennial Community Grants.

Out of 44 applications from organizations and municipalities across the State, the commission chose a total of 30 grant recipients: 21 large grants and nine small grants, at varying amounts. Among those are a Bicentennial Birthday Bash in Rockland, theatrical productions in Portland and Dover-Foxcroft, as well as conferences, educational curriculum, art exhibits, lecture series and more, spanning several Maine counties.

"We are very pleased to begin awarding the Maine Bicentennial Community Grants," said Sen. Bill Diamond, chairman of the Maine Bicentennial Commission. "The wide variety of proposals that received funding in this first round speaks to the excitement and creativity of people across the state who are stepping up to commemorate Maine's 200th anniversary. These grants will make it possible for all Mainers to connect with the bicentennial in their own communities, making this a truly statewide celebration of Maine."

The Bicentennial Community Grants program provides funding for bicentennial-themed projects that benefit the public, such as festivals, historic preservation efforts, lectures and curriculum. The commission considers grant applications from Maine community non-profit organizations, such as historical societies and libraries, government entities, and schools. Private individuals and for-profit corporations are also welcome to apply in partnership with a non-profit entity.

The Maine Arts Commission is administering the grant program. Two additional phases of grant awards are scheduled during the bicentennial commemoration. The application deadlines are:

  • February 1, 2020
  • June 1, 2020

"The community grants are the core of our bicentennial commemoration. They provide an opportunity for all Mainers to engage at the local level and provide a strong community element in addition to the larger signature events planned to celebrate Maines anniversary of Statehood," said Sen. Diamond.

The Maine Legislature appropriated funding to the Maine Bicentennial Commission for the grants, which will be supplemented by matching funds from private corporations and individuals. The initial round of funding is for $375,000, of which $145,255 has been allotted in this first round. Up to 10 percent of the funds are set aside for small grants of $500 or less, and at least one grant of up to $10,000 will be available in each county.

Details of the Bicentennial Community Grants program and a link to the application form are available on the Maine Bicentennial Commission website, under the "Get Involved" section.