2018 "Giving in Maine" Report Highlights

Each year, foundations and generous individuals provide millions of dollars of support to nonprofit organizations that strengthen the lives of Maine residents and their communities. As part of the Maine Philanthropy Center's commitment to promote philanthropy and increase its impact in Maine, we are proud to develop an annual snapshot of giving in our state. 

The Big Picture

In 2016, there were 356 foundations registered in Maine. Those Maine foundations gave $175 million in grants throughout the world.

The Role of Foundation Giving in Maine

Giving by foundations made up 23% of all charitable giving in Maine in 2016. In contrast, giving by individuals – through charitable donations and bequests accounted for 73% of all charitable giving. (Giving percentages total more than 100% because individual percentages are rounded up to the nearest percentage point.)

Foundations Registered in Maine

Foundations registered in Maine reported $2.87 billion in assets in 2016. Those foundations gave $175 million in 2016, an increase of more than 72% since 2006.

Changes in the Asset Base and Giving Patterns of Maine-Registered Foundations Over Time

Philanthropy in Maine has grown enormously over the past 20 years. The assets and giving of Maine-registered foundations are more than ten times what they were in 1995. More recently, from 2015 to 2016, Maine foundations increased giving by 9%, which is above the national average.

Change in Giving by Foundations Registered in Maine From 2006 to 2016

The Top 25 Most Active Foundations in Maine

Top 25 Foundations, by Total Giving in Maine (in millions)


















Why doesn't this list match up with some of the other lists of "top" Maine foundations? We distinguish between foundations registered in Maine and foundations giving to Maine. Our list of the top 25 Maine foundations is based on foundations' specific giving to Maine nonprofits and individuals. This sometimes can prevent a large, generous foundation that is registered in Maine but does most of its giving elsewhere from appearing on our Top 25 list.

But what about ... ? This list does not include foundations registered in other states, public charities that act like foundations (such as United Ways), or corporate giving that is not conveyed through a foundation. 

Number and Size of Grants

6,194 grants were awarded by the top 25 most active foundations in Maine in 2016. The median grant size was $2,500.

Nearly 75% of the grants awarded by the top 25 most active foundations were under $10,000.




Foundation GivingTotal Amount Distributed at the County Level
















These giving numbers reflect where the grant recipient is based, which is not necessarily the same as the region the grant recipient serves. Because Cumberland and Kennebec counties are home to Portland, Maine's largest city, and Augusta, its capitol, it is possible that organizations in those counties are providing services across the state. 


Maine giving data are collected from IRS Form 990s and grant lists provided by foundations. National averages come from the Foundation Center Stats. Individual giving data come from the IRS Statistics of Income.