Rights and Protections for LGBT Populations Worldwide Are the Focus of the Arcus Foundation’s Winter 2016 Social Justice Program Grants

December 19, 2016

Facing a new climate of uncertainty, many of the grantees in the Arcus Foundation’s winter 2016 portfolio are looking ahead to prepare for possible changes in their operating environments, locally and nationally, and to secure the rights and protections of the populations they serve.

This fall, Arcus extended its support of several philanthropic collaboratives that have pooled their resources to strengthen LGBT and allied organizations focused on transgender communities and people of color. A grant to the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice will help to launch the grantmaking and program activities of the International Trans Fund to support trans groups worldwide while generating trans staff and leadership positions in the philanthropy sector. Borealis Philanthropy received support for a different funding collaborative, the Transforming Movements Fund, to support young LGBTQ leaders working toward sustainable culture and policy change within and across social justice movements.

A grant to al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, a membership-based group active in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, will help this organization reach out to Palestinian civil society and professionals for increased acceptance of sexual and gender diversity.

Also working at the international level, the organization International Service for Human Rights received funding to strengthen the human rights standards at the U.N. related to sexual orientation and gender identity. The group plans to support the work of the new LGBT-focused independent expert at the U.N. and to increase leadership on this issue from both governments and civil society through concrete U.N. recommendations and periodic training.

In the United States, the National Center for Transgender Equality—which works toward national policy reform around trans issues in health care, public accommodations, housing, and jobs—received funding to continue its education and advocacy efforts. The Sylvia Rivera Law Project plans to use a grant to engage in legal advocacy to secure trans, gender nonconforming, and intersex rights.

Several grants in this round further Arcus’ goal of strengthening LGBT communities of color in the U.S. South. The Astraea Foundation received additional funding for the Racial Justice Fund, a philanthropic initiative focused on supporting campaigns and organizations led by and for LGBTQ people of color, mostly in the South. This region is also the focus of a grant to Southerners on New Ground, an Atlanta-based LGBTQ people of color–led organization focused on cross-movement issues, including defending immigrant communities, reducing anti-LGBT discrimination, and countering police profiling.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund received a grant to support the Victory Empowerment Fellowship, a two-year leadership-development program for transgender people and out leaders of color seeking future roles in public service and elected office. The fund has assisted hundreds of people who have gone on to influential careers in politics, business, and advocacy.

Representing 37 local LGBT Asian American–Pacific Islander organizations, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance received a grant to help its affiliates support family acceptance, transgender inclusion, and intersectional organizing.

Grants were also awarded to the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality, Equality Virginia, Inc.; European Region of the International Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association; Floating Ophelia Productions, LLC; Freedhearts, Inc.; Freemind Beauty, LLC; Global Dialogue; GLSEN, Inc.; Latino GLBT History Project; Social, Health and Empowerment Coalition of Transgender Women in Africa; Southern African Christian Initiative; The Aspen Institute; The Channel Giving Circle, Ltd.; Tides Foundation; and Trans*H4CK.