uwkv Innovation fund

Note: The Innovation Fund application process will reopen in June 2022. Please check back for more information.

In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, innovation in the social sector is essential. With needs growing by the day, creative solutions to address entrenched issues are more important than ever. Kennebec Valley’s nonprofits work tirelessly to support our most vulnerable neighbors. With the day-to-day intensity of serving local people in our communities, little time and resources are left to test innovative approaches that could expand services to more people in need.

UWKV defines an “innovative” approach as a novel solution that is more effective, efficient, collaborative, and/or sustainable than current solution(s). We are proud to announce the winners of the 2021 grant: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine and Healthy Communities of the Capital Area.

Big brothers big sisters of mid-maine—$30,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine—in partnership with Sylvio J. Gilbert Elementary School and the Augusta Police Department—has been awarded $30,000 for its Bigs with Badges program. This program aims to prevent children from seeing law enforcement as an adversary by connecting youth (Littles) with law enforcement officers and first responders (Bigs) to build lasting relationships through one-on-one mentoring. The result impacts the lives of children facing adversity by fostering strong bonds founded on trust and understanding. Bigs with Badges is the first program of its kind not only in the Kennebec Valley but in the state of Maine.

healthy communities of the capital area—$15,000

Healthy Communities of the Capital Area (HCCA), responds to the needs of LGBTQ+ youth in Kennebec Valley by establishing a LGBTQ+ Youth Experience Summer Supports (LGBTQ+ YeSS) program. 

The LGBTQ+ YeSS program will provide a safe, supportive environment for youth programming beginning in the summer of 2022. Not only does this project create a supportive network between youth-serving entities, but it is also a primary prevention project as it increases the protective factors of LGBTQ+ youth and reduces risk factors that are correlated with substance use, depression and anxiety.