Sam L. Cohen Foundation Grant

Sam L. Cohen Foundation

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Next deadline: Jan 15, 2021 (Letter of inquiry)

Later deadlines: Mar 1, 2021 (Full proposal)

Grant amount: Up to US $50,000

Fields of work: Human & Social Services Civic Affairs Public Policy Economic Services & Development Education Social Justice / Human Rights Jewish Culture Dance Writing & Literature Art Education Health Care Access & Delivery Refugee Services Wellness & Healthy Living Music Theater Food Security Immigrant Services Dental Health Visual Arts Preventative Healthcare Show all

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, General Operating Expense, Project / Program, Capital Project

Location of project: Counties in Maine: Cumberland County, York County

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



Program Areas

The Sam L. Cohen Foundation is a private, grantmaking foundation based in South Portland, Maine.  The Foundation funds in five program areas:

Arts and Culture

Promoting the relevance of music, dance, theater, visual arts and creative writing to enrich and enhance quality of life and community.

We invest in organizations and programs that stimulate imagination, provide access to the arts and arts education, and foster community through the arts.  We are interested especially in educational programming for low-income and underserved youth audiences that celebrates creativity and provides meaningful experiences with the arts. We support organizations that create and present performances and programs in southern Maine.

Civic and Community

Advancing opportunity and improving the quality of life for underserved and marginalized populations by supporting work to strengthen the social and economic fabric of our communities.

We are committed to supporting and improving the quality of life in Southern Maine by ensuring individuals have access to opportunities to engage in civic life. We are working towards economic security and well-being by investing in organizations that are working toward systemic change through public policy for social benefit.


Education is the single most important investment that a community can make in its citizens and its future.

We believe that access to educational opportunities is the key to a successful life.  Our grantmaking spans the entire continuum of pre-K through college and adulthood, as we focus on providing opportunities for underserved populations in the areas of youth development, leadership, and enrichment.  We collaborate with other funders, advocates, and experts in efforts that address school readiness and attendance, grade-level proficiency, high school graduation rates, and post-secondary enrollment and completion.  We participate in or support several collaborative initiatives including: Portland ConnectED, The Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Count ME In, Maine Early Childhood Funders Group, Summer Learning Initiative, Start ME Right Coalition, and the Maine Resilience Building Network.

Health and Human Services

Expanding access and choices for individuals and families who are low-income or vulnerable by strengthening human services organizations and by advancing new responses to challenges in the sector.  

We believe providing support to historically and systematically disadvantaged individuals and communities is a compelling focus. Today’s social, economic and political challenges require it. Our goal is to assist in increasing the number of people who are self-sufficient and who lead healthy, productive lives.  Our giving consistently targets access to healthcare including prevention services, health support services, and ensuring food security.  We currently are involved in and support the Immigrant and Refugee Funders Group and Maine Oral Health Funders.

Jewish Culture and Traditions

"Tzedekah"- the act of giving help to others

We participate in the Jewish community in southern Maine through support of institutions and programs that provide and preserve Jewish education, tradition, and culture. We partner with organizations that celebrate and promote Jewish art and creativity as well as agencies and synagogues who serve the vulnerable members of the Jewish community.

The Foundation will support new programs, on-going programs, general operations in certain circumstances, and capital improvements.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Applicants:
    • Must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; using a fiscal agent that is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; a church, synagogue, temple or mosque; or a political subdivision of the State of Maine that is exempt from federal tax
    • Must be located in or primarily benefitting residents living in Cumberland and/or York Counties, Maine; or effecting people throughout Maine
    • Must have submitted the final grant report if you received a grant previously from the Foundation
    • Must NOT have received a grant from the Foundation in the previous calendar year
      • We are waiving this requirement for our Fall 2020 cycle only.


  • Priority will be given to organizations and projects that:
    • directly respond to populations most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
    • support the under served, disadvantaged, or those who do not have the resources to provide opportunities for themselves
    • make a significant difference in people's lives, assuring them a fulfilling and productive future
    • promote human rights and understanding among peoples, address racial and religious discrimination and hatred, and foster peace through education
    • demonstrate a broad base of community support, and/or
    • use collaboration as a means to leverage resources.


  • In general, the Foundation will not support annual fund appeals, endowments, and projects requiring a multi-year commitment.
  • Typically grants will not be awarded to the same organization in two consecutive years.
  • Organizations that have received a prior grant from the Foundation are not eligible to submit another application until the Foundation directors have received a written report of the results of previously funded projects.
  • Organizations that applied for and received a grant in our Spring 2020 grant cycle are not eligible to apply for our Fall 2020 grant cycle.


This page was last reviewed May 26, 2020 and last updated May 26, 2020