Request for Concepts, International LGBTQ Social JusticeThis application process is now closed. To be notified of any future open calls and to receive periodic Arcus Foundation updates, please sign up here.
Arcus uses the term LGBTQ to characterize the foundation’s Social Justice strategy and grantmaking. In this Request for Concepts, we use the term LGBTIQ+ to characterize the scope of work of potential applicants we seek to reach.
Founded in 2000, the Arcus Foundation is a private foundation, registered in the United States, dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Arcus’ work is based on the belief that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all its inhabitants.
Arcus’ Social Justice Program awards grants that build the long-term resilience of our partners so that they remain resolute in advancing justice, often in the face of ongoing violence, inequity, and exclusion.
Through this open application process (Request for Concepts/RFC) Arcus seeks to award up to 15 one- or two-year grants, totaling approximately US$1.5 million for work in the program’s 11 focus countries (see section II). Grant awards for applications focusing on a single country will range from a minimum of US$50,000 to a maximum of US$100,000 per year; those for applications focusing on multi-country partnerships may exceed US$100,000 per year. Grants will be awarded no earlier than April 1, 2023.These awards aim to bring additional grantees to complement our existing partnerships. Priority will be given to concepts for work at the country level that a) center people most affected by systemic violence and discrimination within LGBTIQ+ communities, and b) are based on self-determination, and/or c) include strategies for faith-related advocacy.
Arcus’ Social Justice Program seeks to support initiatives/organizations with the potential to achieve impact at the country or sub-country level within each of the following three goal areas:
- Increased safety of LGBTQ people: Reduction in violence against LGBTQ people and increased security of advocates and communities. Concepts can include the strategies below or additional ones, identifying clear outcomes and their relation to the goal areas:
- Documentation: documenting, disaggregating, and analyzing data on violence directed at LGBTQ populations, from state-sponsored to private actors, and utilizing findings for advocacy at local, country, or regional levels for accountability and/or socio-cultural change.
- Advocacy: campaigning against violence, including through the media and in alliance with other movements, especially faith voices that promote narratives about faith as a rationale for inclusion (not violence and discrimination).
- Community Safety Initiatives: community-led strategies focused on empowering and improving conditions for people most affected by systemic violence and discrimination within LGBTQ communities, based on self-determination.
- Increased LGBTQ affirming protections that promote full inclusion and equal opportunity: Successful challenges to discriminatory provisions and practices, existing or proposed, and adoption and implementation of anti-discrimination and other protective measures at the local and/or country level. Concepts can include the strategies below or additional ones, identifying clear outcomes and their relation to the goal areas:
- Advocacy: policy-focused campaigning, including through litigation and the media, based on data and in alliance and/or coordination with other movements, especially faith, women’s, children’s, and sexual reproductive health and rights movements.
- Base-building and Mobilization: initiatives to increase movement coordination for specific advocacy goals, to expand the size and democratic participation of local constituencies, with the recognition of power and leadership of LGBTQ people.
- Increased social inclusion of and public support for LGBTQ people: Increased acceptance and inclusion of LGBTQ people, demonstrated by a positive shift in public opinion and/or community attitudes. Concepts can include the strategies below or additional ones, identifying clear outcomes and their relation to the goal areas:
- Media Advocacy and Public Education: targeted media and education campaigns for acceptance and social inclusion of LGBTQ people, particularly of those most affected by injustice and inequality.
- Narrative Change: evidence-based message development and dissemination designed to positively impact public opinion.
- Training: outcome-based training for those who will advocate for specific changes in community and society, especially voices of faith, with a system to evaluate impact.
Arcus considers these goal areas to be inter-related in the realization of human rights for LGBTQ people and will consider funding concepts addressing one, two, or all three goal areas. While all concepts should respond to the specific requirements of this RFC, our intent is to provide grants in the form of “general operating support” to organizations whose core work advances at least one of the three goals. Our support is provided for work in the following focus countries:
- Eastern Africa – Kenya, Uganda
- Southern Africa – Botswana, Malawi, South Africa
- Caribbean – Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago
- Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras
III. PrioritiesWith Arcus’ strong commitment to racial, gender, and economic justice, our evaluation of concepts will prioritize those demonstrating:
- Clarity of intended impact at the country or sub-country level in the focus countries listed above.
- Self-determination of groups most affected by systemic injustice and inequality: organizations/projects with leadership from within the society or community they seek to serve; and open consultation of and accountability to local LGBTIQ+ communities, particularly trans/gender-diverse people, intersex people, LBQ women, refugees/migrants, people with disabilities, and Indigenous people.
- Faith-related advocacy with specific outcomes advancing one or more of the goals.
IV. Eligibility CriteriaEvery application will be evaluated by Arcus staff. Applicants should consider the following:
- Legal status: Applicants must be registered legal entities with a charitable purpose. Organizations registered outside the United States, applying for general operating support, must have in place or be willing to participate in an Equivalency Determination (ED) which requires having at least five years of financial statements; organizations unable to produce an ED can submit concepts focused only on a specific project or program (not general operating support).
- Location of applicants: Organizations must be based in Arcus’ focus countries.
- Experience: Applicants must demonstrate at least two years of experience in the proposed work.
- Nondiscrimination Employment Policy: Applicants must have a board-approved, internal Equal Employment Opportunity Policy that specifically includes sexual orientation and gender identity among the nondiscrimination grounds (i.e. protected categories).
- Institutional governance: Applicants’ institutional governance must include policies and procedures to protect against actual and apparent conflicts of interest, and to ensure transparency in decision-making and financial operations.
- Joint projects of two or more groups are eligible. Funding will be awarded to a single legal entity that will have complete financial discretion and control of the grant. We will consider concepts with pre-identified partners and budgets, and which present a rationale for the joint proposal and the distinct contribution of each partner. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between all partners is preferred (for selected concepts). Joint projects will be considered only for project support (v. general operating support) and can include a grantmaking component (i.e. granting of funds to organizations not identified in the proposal, based on an applicant’s own selection process), only if the recipient organization/s has an ED in place (see criterion 1 above).
- Geographic focus: Proposed impact of the work can include one or more focus countries. Concepts relating to work in non-focus countries will not be considered.
V. Concepts must include the following:
- Identification: Full name of the organization, including legal status.
- Purpose of funding concept: Describe the proposed work, articulate a main goal, outcomes, and activities, and explain the logical connections between them, and how they relate to one or more Social Justice Program goals of increased safety, increased protections, or increased inclusion.
- Primary populations served: Explain the relevance of your proposed work to the priorities of the RFC relating to groups most affected by systemic injustice and inequality. We will prioritize proposals that also explain how racial, gender, and economic justice analyses inform the proposed work.
- Organization’s total expenditure: for the most recently completed fiscal year.
- Amount requested; project or general operating support; geographic focus of the intended impact of the work; start and end date of the requested funding (note that grants will be awarded no earlier than April 1, 2023) and the factors considered in proposing these dates (e.g. to coincide with fiscal year, or to continue an existing project based on its end date).
- Organization background and history: describe the experience relevant to the proposed work (and the partners’ experience, where applicable), including staff experience, number of years engaged in relevant work, and most important achievements to date.
- Additional comments: Any additional relevant information the applicant would like Arcus to take into consideration.
VI. TimelineApplications made in response to this request for concepts will be considered on the following schedule:
- October 5, 2022 – Announcement of Request for Concepts.
- November 15, 2022 – Deadline for online submission of proposed concepts (no other documents necessary at this stage).
- December 7, 2022 – Applicants informed about the outcome of their application.
QuestionsSend questions to both Adrian Coman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Erica Lim (email@example.com) by November 10, 2022. If you do not receive a response within two business days, please resend your message.
The acronym LGBTQ — referring to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning — aims to include the range of diversity in the communities and movements we fund.
 A principle used in this RFC to refer to our aim of supporting organizations whose work is conceived and directed by individuals who are from and among the population served by the work.
 LGBTIQ+ people who have historically had the least access to economic, political, or social power and resources due to systemic discrimination. We recognize that geographic and other contexts influence which groups fit this definition. In certain of our focus regions, these groups may include transgender and gender non-conforming people, intersex people, migrants/refugees, Indigenous people, people of color, LBQ women, and those living at the intersections of these identities. Applicants can propose and describe additional groups, based on local contexts.
 Sample Equal Employment Opportunity Policy: “It is the policy of [organization name] to promote and ensure equal employment opportunity for all persons without regard to race, creed, alienage, citizenship, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, height or weight, disability, gender identity, expression, or reassignment, sex characteristics, marital status, partnership status, pregnancy, maternity or parental status, military status, domestic violence victim status, genetic information or predisposing genetic characteristics, prior arrest or conviction record, and any other characteristic protected by law.