Local media entrepreneur Genius Black, host of the “Maine’s Black Future” podcast featured in The Maine Monitor, is among the recipients of a “Grant for Change” awarded by the Maine Initiatives nonprofit, the organization announced Thursday.
Each of the 12 recipients of the “2023 Grants for Change Cohort” will receive a $45,000 grant paid out over three years, at $15,000 per year. They were selected through a “community-led process” and “are recognized as groups doing critical work to advance racial justice in Maine, unceded Wabanaki territory,” Maine Initiatives announced.
In the Maine’s Black Future podcast, Genius Black, who also goes by Jerry Edwards, revisits the stories of historic Black Mainers and also conducts interviews of today’s Black changemakers.
Among the interview subjects: Portland resident Junes Thete, a Congolese-born cinematographer, producer, and fashion consultant; Alfine Nathalie, a holistic health provider who was born in Kenya and raised in Maine; and Adilah Muhammad, the founder and executive director of The Third Place, a network for Black professionals.
“It is wonderful to see Maine’s Black Future recognized with this grant,” said Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm, the Executive Director of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, which publishes The Maine Monitor. “Genius is bringing important stories and people that illustrate the continuum of Maine’s black community. We are proud to host this podcast on The Maine Monitor and to work to support Genius’ initiative.”
The Maine Monitor and MCPIR will act as the fiscal sponsor for the grant.
The 12 recipients in the 2023 Grants for Change Cohort are: Alpha Legal Foundation, Eastern Woodlands Rematriation Collective, Food For All Services, Indigo Arts Alliance, Juneteenth Downeast, Maine Community Integration, Maine Youth Justice, Maine’s Black Future Podcast, Presente! Maine, Resources for Organizing and Social Change, Sipayik Resilience Committee, and Youth Led Justice.
According to Maine Initiatives, their Grants for Change program “funds and strengthens Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color-led and -serving nonprofit organizations that are leading the work of advancing racial justice in Maine, and engages and connects communities around shared values of racial justice and equity.”