How to Apply

Visit the Grant Portal

2023-2024 Guidelines

A Special Message for 2023 Applicants

During the pandemic, Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust made a special commitment to help our grantees get through a difficult and uncertain time. We focused our grantmaking on prior grantees, providing operating support and flexible funding. Going forward, we will continue to be responsive while expanding eligibility to respond to the larger community of applicants.

For the 2023-2024 grant cycles, we have updated our guidelines, outlined in detail below and on our Program pages. Our priorities emphasize arts and culture, elevating the diverse and rich cultural heritage of Maine, and continuing to support historic preservation and environmental initiatives. We will no longer be limiting eligibility to past grantees and expect the 2023 cycle to be particularly competitive.

Important Changes to our Guidelines

Please note that we will no longer be funding Education as a separate Program Area but will support arts, culture and environmental education efforts that fall within the updated program priorities. We are transitioning out of direct funding of immigrant and refugee programs, and instead will support the Immigrant-Led Organizations Fund managed by Maine Initiatives. We invite organizations to explore that option here.  Lastly, we will no longer be funding social service programs unless the program meets our new program priorities.

We hope that the revised guidelines will bring more ease and transparency to the grantmaking process for all, while we focus on programs that align with our goals for positive impact. Please reach out if you have any questions about these changes.

Foundation Focus

The overarching interest of the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust is to connect people and place through the arts, culture and the natural environment in Maine.  Program Areas reflect how communities, organizations and individuals can cultivate creative expression and a sense of responsibility towards one another and to the lands and waters around us. Proposals may be for operating support or specific projects and may be of local or statewide benefit. See Program Areas pages for more details and priorities.

Across all programs, community connection is paramount. We will give preference to organizations and programs that demonstrate:

  • Equitable access for Maine residents
  • Community representation in program design and delivery
  • Expanded community connections and vibrancy through program activities
  • Responsiveness to new voices and the less visible histories of Maine
  • Deepening connections between people and place

Application Guidelines

A pdf of the complete guidelines including program areas on this website is downloadable. Click here to download.


Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust supports organizations throughout Maine and aims to respond to emerging needs and developments through its priority Program Areas.  Please note that The Trust has lifted the pandemic-related restriction that limited applicants to past grantees.

Types of Grants

Applicants may request project or operating support. The same application is used for both types of grants. Operating support requests should provide information on the organization’s current strategic direction or priorities. Project grants should articulate clear goals, timelines and outcomes for the project.  Projects may be for specific programs or capital expenses and may align with more than one of our Program Areas or goals.

Grant Size

Up to $20,000 in grant funding may be requested.

Application deadline

The Trust considers grant requests once per year. The online grant application portal accepts applications only from July 1 to October 1. All requests will be acknowledged upon receipt. The application period closes at midnight October 1 and we are not able to grant extensions.

Review process

Please note that the Trust’s grants are competitive – we generally receive many more proposals than our resources allow us to fund. Typically, the Board reviews all requests in November and decision letters are sent before the end of December of each year.  We expect an expanded pool of applicants in this cycle. Organizations may apply even if they have received consecutive funding in the last 2 years. Beginning in 2024, a one-year year hiatus will be required after two consecutive grants. 

Past grants

See a list of past grants here.

Grant Reports

Beginning in 2023, grant reports will not be required. The application has a space for reporting on last year’s grant if you received one.


Feel free to contact Lissa Widoff, Program Advisor at if you have any questions.

Other Considerations

  • For capital funding requests, applicants should include a budget for the project and evidence of the fiscal and fundraising capacity necessary to complete the proposed work beyond the amount of the Morton-Kelly grant request.
  • Projects or programs may include more than one Morton-Kelly Program Area or Goal.
  • We do not fund:
    • multi-year requests
    • endowments or annual campaigns
    • political advocacy
    • national or regional organizations based outside of Maine, except in cases where a project is being conducted entirely within the state;
    • organizations that provide medical services, operate medical research facilities or focus on a particular disease or condition; or
    • organizations that are primarily social service providers.

Application Submission/Grant Application Portal

The Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust accepts grant applications only from July 1 to October 1 each year using an online grant application portal. The application period closes at midnight on October 1 and we are not able to grant extensions.

If it is your first time applying through our on-line system, you will need to create an account for your organization before completing an application. If you have applied previously, you can access the grant application portal using the same username and password.  An application form will only be visible on the site during the application period. Finally, you will be able to save and return to your work at any time before you submit.

All submitted applications will be acknowledged via e-mail receipt.  The application and registration are available at the grant portal here.