Arcus Foundation Announces Summer 2014 Social Justice Grants

June 30, 2014

NEW YORK, NY (June 27, 2014)— At a time of growing cross-sector organizing, particularly among young people in the LGBTQ movement, the latest round of Arcus Foundation Social Justice Program Grants, to 27 different organizations, support a number of groups in which LGBTQ youth are leading their peers on issues such as race, immigration, safe schools, and reproductive rights.

A first grant to the United We Dream Network, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the United States, aims to involve LGBTQ voices and organizations in the struggle against deportations and inhumane practices toward undocumented immigrants.

The Ruth Ellis Center, the only organization in the country with a residential program for LGBTQ youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, will engage youth in advocating for improved child welfare policies through its Out in the System Family Preservation Initiative, while the True Colors Fund will put funds toward ending homelessness among LGBTQ youth.

Fighting homophobia in schools is the aim of several grants in this round. A first grant to California Rural Legal Assistance supports the development of safe-schools policies in the San Joaquin Valley to mitigate bullying and harassment of LGBT students. Funding to the Gay-Straight Alliance Network will help align LGBT youth-organizing strategies with racial and economic aims to ensure educational equity. GLSEN plans to address challenges facing transgender youth and LGBT youth of color, and both GLSEN and National Center for Lesbian Rights aim to overcome barriers that prevent LGBT youth from participating fully in sports.

Seeking to integrate gender-justice issues into the larger social-justice movement, funding to the Movement Strategy Center will help the Brown Boi Project to unite organizations and individuals in building support and visibility for LGBT and gender non-conforming people within communities of color. The Transgender Law Center will work to strengthen laws that prohibit discrimination, and the Mazzoni Center will continue to grow its pioneering annual Philadelphia Trans Health Conference.

In the international human rights arena, funding will help the Council for Global Equality work with the United States government to use its influence with countries considering anti-LGBT legislation, promote LGBT safety in Global South countries, and ensure that U.S. foreign policy fully endorses LGBT equality. Funds to Human Rights Watch will support critical research and testimony on the mistreatment of LGBT people in countries where laws and conditions have worsened in recent years.

Human Dignity Trust will continue to support local initiatives challenging laws criminalizing same-sex conduct in five countries, including before international tribunals. The Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights will support the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), a new organization aiming to increase the capacity of lawyers to litigate sexual-rights cases at the national and regional levels in Africa. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Organization for Refuge, Asylum, and Migration were also funded to press for LGBT rights in other international forums, particularly the United Nations.

Arcus also made grants to Catholics for Choice to partner with African and other leaders around the globe to counter extremist religious forces that seek to curtail both reproductive rights and health with LGBT rights. People for the American Way Foundation plans to engage African-American clergywomen in LGBT advocacy. The Religious Institute, through the Gilead Sabbath Initiative, will engage U.S. congregations and individuals of faith in advocacy for LGBT people in Africa.

Also receiving funding in this round were the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (for support of grassroots movements), Audre Lorde Project (organizational development), New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (reducing violence against LGBTQ people, especially people of color and transgender individuals), Chinese for Affirmative Action (capacity building for API LGBTQ communities and families in California), the California Institute for Integral Studies (building campus service models to support transgender or lesbian and gay students of color) and Out of Home Youth Fund, through the Tides Foundation (supporting youth-led initiatives focused on sexual orientation and gender identity issues).

Additional grants to the Sundance Film Institute, XQsi Proque Si Magazine, Figi Theater Company, and Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs support arts and theater initiatives intended to raise awareness of the need for LGBT acceptance and protection.