Maine Philanthropy Center

Building Connections for Maine Grantmakers

Inclusion and Equity Brown-Bag Lunch: Social Capital

Line drawing of a sandwich
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 -
11:30am to 1:00pm EDT
Maine Charitable Mechanic Association - Mechanics' Hall
519 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101
Registration Fee: 
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Social capital is the shared values, experiences, and expectations that promote familiarity and trust in a community. And it has a lot of relevance for a funder working in a community.

It plays a role in whose phone calls we return and how quickly, whom we hire, whose advice or recommendations we take, how much we trust an organization or person, and which projects we want to support.

Social capital can help communities function effectively. But it can also reinforce inequities when one group has social capital and another doesn’t.

The Immigrant & Refugee Funders group was interested in discussing how social capital affects their support of organizations led by immigrants and refugees. But they quickly realized that these questions have relevance for many funders, regardless of populations served and program areas supported. What does “social capital” mean for a foundation supporting grassroots organizations serving people with disabilities, or with any population living in poverty? What does it mean for smaller organizations working in rural communities far from their foundation’s headquarters?

Join MPC and the Immigrant & Refugee Funders group for a brown-bag lunch conversation about social capital and philanthropy. We’ll start with a brief introduction to the idea of social capital—what is it? Why is it important? How do we build it equitably? We’ll share some examples from your Maine funder colleagues and have an open discussion.

As always, please bring your lunch!

Meeting Materials

Thank you to all who joined us on the 20th, and a huge thank you to Lauress Lawrence from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation and Co-Chair of the Immigrant & Refugee Funders Group for leading the session.

Lauress graciously shared the handouts from the session and a compliation of activities for follow-up learning that you can do with colleagues, boards, or affinity groups. The follow-up learning document includes a description of the social capital mapping activity we did together, and links to the activity documents. 

Resources and Handouts:

Maya Angelou, Letter to my Daughter (New York:  Random House, 2009), chapter 8.  Also available as a pdf at:

Handout - Social Capital Definitions and Mapping Exercise

Handout - Follow-Up Activity Sheet


The program is free and open all Maine funders, but we ask that you register in advance so we can be sure to have enough chairs and handouts for everyone.

You'll need to log in to the website to register.

  • Click on the orange "Log in" button in the top right corner of the website.
  • MPC members should all already have website logins. Don't know your password or forgot it? Click "forgot password" to reset it.
  • Is your organization a member but the system can't find your email address? Let us know--
  • Not a member? You can set up a website account for free, follow the prompts on the log-in page. 



The Maine Charitable Mechanic Association does not have on-site parking.

There are two city parking lots not far from the building:

The Spring Street Parking Garage, next to the Cross Insurance Arena, is 0.2 miles away. There are entrances on Free Street and Spring Street. Parking is $2/hour.

The Elm Street Parking Garage, across the street from the main branch of the Portland Public Library, is also 0.2 miles away. The entrance is on Elm Street, and it is also $2/hour.


We'll be meeting in the Mechanics' Hall on the second floor of the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association building. The building has a portable handicap ramp for use on the front steps. There is an elevator. It does not meet accessibility codes, but has been used by those in wheelchairs in the past.

If you need any accommodations in order to fully participate in the lunch, please contact Vrylena Olney at to discuss your particular needs.

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