Social Justice Grantmaking
Arcus approaches its social justice grantmaking in a manner that respects the wisdom, power, and self-determination of LGBTQ communities.
We distribute 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.
We prioritize open, public calls for qualified applicants periodically through our website, social media, and email distribution lists. When an application is strongly aligned with our program strategy and goals, we aim to provide long-term grants in the form of general operating support.
We also make a limited number of invitation-only grants on a rolling basis throughout the year to support organizations that are exceptionally aligned with our strategy.
Any qualified organization may respond to an open call, including current and former Arcus grantees, as well entities with whom we have not previously worked.
For updates about our schedule for open calls, sign up below.
An organization may submit only one application in response to each open call, either on its own or in collaboration with other groups. The scope of work may be local, national, regional, or international. To be eligible for funding, applicants must meet the following criteria:
1. Geographic Focus
All applicants must be able to show the impact of intended work on one or more of Arcus’ geographic focus areas: Southern United States; East or Southern Africa; Caribbean, Central America, or Mexico. Organizations based outside these areas are eligible if they can demonstrate an authentic relationship to and impact in the areas.
2. Legal Standing
United States-based applicants must have a non-profit, tax-exempt status recognized by the Internal Revenue Service under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Alternatively, organizations may apply through a fiscal sponsor with such a status. Applicants outside the United States must be able to receive international funds through a registered entity in their home country.
3. Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
Applicants are required to maintain a board-approved internal Equal Employment Opportunity Policy including sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories.
4. Organizational Experience
Applicants must be able to demonstrate a minimum level and number of years of organizational operations.
The foundation’s grantmaking is managed through Fluxx, a secure, user-friendly, cloud-based system. The application process takes approximately two to six months and has three stages:
STAGE 1 – Application / Request for Concepts (RFC)
A Request For Concepts (RFC) is announced on our home page, via social media and through an email update sent to registered users of this website and other distribution channels within the LGBTQ and philanthropic fields. Applicants answer a set of questions to assess how they meet the RFC’s minimum requirements.
STAGE 2 – Request for Proposals
Applicants whose concepts are considered to be most highly aligned with the guidelines and priorities set out in the RFC are asked to submit a full proposal. Stage 2 involves an internal assessment and, when needed, dialogue with the applicant, taking into consideration a range of factors (see below).
STAGE 3 – Decision
Applicants are notified directly about the outcome of their proposal. Awards are shared publicly four times per year. We look for:
- Self-determination, demonstrated by initiatives led from within the society or community an applicant seeks to influence, devised in open consultation with, and with accountability to, local LGBTQ communities;
- Involvement of those most marginalized, including, for example:
o Leadership and decision-making by marginalized groups;
o Strong board representation of those most marginalized;
- Involvement by members of faith communities, transgender individuals, and other groups with less access to resources and who are marginalized within LGBTQ communities;
- Concepts related to one or more of the priority geographic focus areas;
- Cross-sector or cross-movement alliances working toward one or more of Arcus’ goals.