© Kike Arnal
© Kike Arnal
Strategic Funding Areas:
Grantmaking within the Global Religions Program is governed by two high-level strategies:
- To support LGBT-affirming religious leaders and faith advocates.
Through this strategy, Arcus seeks to build vibrant networks of clergy and lay advocates who are fully committed to fostering greater LGBT acceptance and to protecting the human and civil rights of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Supporting organizations and projects that recruit, nurture, and connect pro-LGBT religious activists, particularly in marginalized communities is crucial to the success of this strategy.
- To oppose the use and abuse of religion to deny basic rights and protections.
While many people of faith testify movingly to the liberatory aspects of their faith, there can be no doubt that in many places around the world, religion is used to justify oppression and the denial of basic rights and protections for LGBT people. This strategy seeks to counter religiously-warranted homophobia and discrimination by identifying, training, and deploying pro-LGBT religious leaders to challenge the dominance of religious conservatives in public discourse.
Priorities:Arcus’ Global Religions Program supports pro-LGBT, faith-based organizations and/or projects whose work is national, regional, or international in scope.
Additionally, in an effort to provide more clarity and to further refine its grantmaking, the Global Religions Program has adopted the following priorities:
- Supporting a just, inclusive, and compassionate Islam (Global) Expand and strengthen the growing number of scholars, religious leaders and other activists advocating for better treatment, rights, and protections for LGBT Muslims.
- Building a network of LGBT-affirming faith-leaders in Africa Recruit, educate, and mobilize a growing network, focused primarily on Southern and East Africa, of clergy, theologians, and other religious advocates willing to publicly oppose anti-gay violence and discrimination.
- Supporting fair and non-discriminatory religious exemption policies (U.S. only)
Acknowledging that pro-LGBT faith leaders must be at the forefront of any public debates over religious exemptions, moving forward, Arcus intends to focus its investments in the following ways:
• Mobilizing moderate and progressive faith leaders in key states–
• Engaging African American clergy and other community leaders–
• Promoting messaging and communications targeted towards religious communities–
• Strengthening interfaith efforts to guarantee fair and nondiscriminatory policies–
- Leveraging strategic opportunities in historically resistant faith communities (Global)
Arcus invests strategically in religious communities, which while still resistant to LGBT acceptance, still afford opportunities for making limited but significant progress. These historic communities include historic black churches, evangelical communities, Roman Catholic churches, and others.
Please note that successful applicants for funding through the Arcus Global Religions Program will fall under at least one of the two basic strategies and fit within at least one of the four current priorities. Additionally, the work for which you are seeking funding must be national, regional, and/or international in scope.
Information on other funders of work on sexuality and religion may be found on the website of Funders for LGBTQ Issues.
- Policy changes at the national level to counter discrimination and violence and to support rights such as privacy, free expression, health, and legal recognition of gender identity. Where policy changes are unrealistic, projects may seek cultural change with clear, measurable indicators and expected outcomes. Arcus does not provide direct grants for this work. Instead, this support is provided through intermediary partner organizations that have the capacity to re-grant the funds at the country level according to clear strategies.
- International and regional organizations’ efforts to document human rights abuses related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and to advocate for improvements before the U.N. (for example, through the Universal Periodic Review process and UN human rights treaty bodies) and regional human rights bodies. Particular attention is paid to ensuring national compliance with human rights obligations and UN and regional recommendations.
- Capacity development to better prepare public officials and activists in the Global South to advocate for respect of human rights and nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Particular attention is paid to gaining support for LGBT rights from Global South countries with regional influence; from mainstream human rights, democracy, women’s, faith, and other movements; and from influential political and social groupings to mobilize others against homophobia and transphobia.
Supporting the human rights of transgender people, lifting LGBT and pro-LGBT faith voices particularly at the U.N., and increasing the funding available to the LGBT-related work of other foundations, governments, corporations, and individuals. In addition to the Arcus Foundation’s targeted support for international projects, we are proud to be part of a growing network of funders involved in this work. If your proposal cannot be prioritized within the above funding areas, please refer to the International LGBT Inclusive Funders List for other funding sources.
Goal 1: Culturally relevant messages and messengers increase LGBT understanding and acceptance among youth and communities of color
Arcus supports communications and messaging in order to increase acceptance of LGBT equality among youth, communities of color and people of faith. There is specific interest in supporting “new narratives” through documentary film and other methods impacting popular culture.
Goal 2: Strengthened leadership among activists working across movements or in alliances where LGBTQ issues are meaningfully integrated. (Programs that emphasize action-oriented leadership development approaches will be prioritized.)
Arcus supports leadership and alliances that create and replicate effective models of cross-movement organizing and advocacy. Programs must actively be working toward systems or policy change that meaningfully integrate LGBTQ issues. As such, we support the development of new movement leaders by funding their “leadership in action” (as opposed to standalone training programs). Priority is given to organizations “by and for” young people and people of color, or alternatively, those with credibility within target populations. Such organizations may or may not be LGBT-specific in mission. Non-LGBT organizations must demonstrate authentic partnerships with base constituency and a reputation as a strong ally. This grantmaking aims to: 1) increase diverse constituencies in support of LGBTQ equality, 2) build a connected, cross-issue wing of the LGBTQ movement that reflects the priorities of youth and communities of color; and 3) win organizing and advocacy efforts that result in LGBTQ policy and culture shifts.
Goal 3: Increased social and economic protections for LGBT youth, with an emphasis on LGBT youth of color.
Arcus focuses this area’s grantmaking in two fields: 1) out-of-home youth, specifically LGBTQ youth homelessness; and 2) improving school climate, including the effect of the school-to-prison pipeline and unjust disciplinary policies on LGBTQ youth. Our grants target innovative or “game-changing” research and replicable models that influence concrete systems and policy change.
Please note that all Arcus-funded projects must fit clearly within the above stated funding areas.