Healthy People Healthy Places 

After an assessment last year of the first four years of our Healthy People Healthy Places (HPHP) program, the Sewall Foundation is developing a clearer focus and improved processes for HPHP, which means we will likely be working in fewer places and issue areas going forward. We continue to explore ways to increase alignment between our grant-related activities and our organizational values, especially equity, community engagement, and the interconnectedness of environmental and human well-being.

Over the coming year, we will be exploring the potential for localized impact opportunities in the following “Community Focus Areas:” the Katahdin Region, Lewiston, Tribal Communities, and Washington County. To complement our community-based work, we will also be exploring opportunities for statewide impact in a limited number of “Topical Focus Areas,” such as Food Systems and Nature-Based Education.

The HPHP program has supported many exceptional organizations across the state, through Integration of Environment and Human Well-Being and Improving Systems for Meeting Basic Human Needs grants. We recognize that a shift in our focus means that some organizations will no longer align. Please be assured that we are mindful of the negative impacts this shift may have for some of our nonprofit partners, and we are developing strategies to honor those relationships through our transition process.

Information about the 2020 grant round will be available by November 1, 2019.

Read HPHP Frequently Asked Questions for further information.

Program Update

Program Statement


The long-term goal of the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation is to improve the well-being and prosperity of all Maine people and the environment in which they live.  Among the most pressing issues currently facing Maine and negatively impacting the well-being of both people and the environment are: limited economic opportunity, environmental degradation, and the existence of barriers that create inequities and separate people.

We believe that the well-being of people and the environment are inextricably linked.  Neither can thrive while the other suffers.  As the connections between people and their environment are strengthened, both become healthier, more resilient and more vibrant.  Further, we believe that more positive relationships between people across socioeconomic and cultural boundaries can bridge differences, reduce inequities, and contribute to community health.


Our Healthy People Healthy Places program focuses on five broad, interrelated Strategies, noted below, that are intended to enhance individual, community and environmental health, resiliency and vibrancy.

  1. Support the Well-being of People – supporting all people to lead healthy and whole lives

  2. Support Healthy Land and Water – protects or enhances land and water quality and productivity

  3. Develop Thriving Local Economies – promotes long-term development while building local opportunity

  4. Invest in Community Engagement and Social Equity – builds community, strengthens relationships, and enhances civic participation

  5. Build Resilient Communities – builds the capacity of all communities to adapt and thrive

Beginning in 2015 the Foundation accepted proposals for two types of grants supporting the Healthy People Healthy Places (HPHP) program: Integration of Environment and Human Well-being Grants, and Improving Systems for Meeting Basic Human Needs Grants.  From 2015 through 2017, the Foundation made 329 HPHP grants to 202 organizations working in Maine, totaling $21,843,267.

In 2017 we began an assessment of our Healthy People Healthy Places grantmaking –– by reviewing data, talking to grantee partners, and looking at program goals and outcomes.  That assessment brought to light several challenges we’ve been working to address, including: high decline rates, dispersed impact, and limited capacity to engage meaningfully with the many communities we support.  We are also working to increase alignment between our grant related activities and our organizational values.

The 2019 grant round was limited to organizations who received an invitation to apply for funding.  This provided the Foundation the time needed to develop a clearer focus and improved process for our work going forward.  We are sensitive to the impacts that shifts in funding programs may mean for our non-profit partners and we are committed to doing our best to minimize adverse impacts that may result from these changes.  Because of that commitment, we will continue to make grants during our refinements process. Information about the 2020 grant round will be available by November 1, 2019.