Latest Round of Social Justice Grants Seek to Support World's At-Risk LGBT Communities

December 16, 2013

NEW YORK, NY (December 13, 2013) — The newest round of Arcus Foundation Social Justice Program grants, to 25 different organizations, seeks societal shifts away from discrimination against LGBT individuals in some of the most resistant parts of the world through support to courageous voices of acceptance. Several of these grants will provide supportive Christian and Muslim groups with the resources they need to reach out to some of the most marginalized and at-risk LGBT communities in the world.

Grants to Religious Groups Seek LGBT Acceptance Amid Profound Challenges

Building bridges of compassion within religious traditions is the aim of several Arcus grants. In the United States, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based The European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Christian Groups, comprising 30 groups from 15 countries, also a first-time grantee, will use funds to support leadership training for emerging LGBT Christian leaders in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

From the Geneva-based World Student Christian Federation to the Western Cape Provincial Council of Churches in South Africa, pro-LGBT Christian groups received funding to increase the number and effectiveness of faith messengers, including clergy, who can widely convey opposition to anti-LGBT bigotry and violence. The Interfaith Alliance Foundation was funded to counter harmful “religious exemptions”—in which institutions seek to be excused from laws so that they can discriminate against LGBT individuals based on their own religious beliefs.

Two organizations received grants to expand dialogue among Muslim activists and leaders in countries where LGBT people face profound marginalization. The Cape Town–based organization The Inner Circle aims to hold trainings, retreats, and conferences for religious leaders aimed at social change. Other Sheep Africa, a new grantee, plans to engage Muslim leaders in Kenya to reduce violence and create greater tolerance and acceptance of LGBTI people in East Africa.

Additional grants to The Black Church Center for Justice & Equality and Church World Service will support a variety of innovative programs to support LGBT inclusive policy change.

Regional Organizations Pinpoint Human Rights Needs and Opportunities

To lift the stigma affecting LGBT populations worldwide, the American Psychological Association received funding to help other psychology-focused organizations, particularly in South Africa and the Philippines, in using accurate research and knowledge in their education, media, and policy efforts.

Other Arcus grants, including to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, seek to advance the Foundation’s key strategy of supporting larger regional and international organizations which have the expertise to work with smaller groups and individuals in documenting the human rights situation in various countries and using it in advocacy at the United Nations and regional organizations.

Support to Gender DynamiX will strengthen a network of trans* and intersex activists in Africa. The Coalition of African Lesbians will continue its human rights research in Southern and Eastern Africa to advocate for human rights law and policy at national, regional, and U.N. levels.

The Astraea FoundationInter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Iranti-Org also received funding to pursue various human rights strategies.

U.S. Groups Use Cultural Levers To Spread Messages of Inclusion

Several Arcus grants will support multimedia efforts to shift thinking toward more inclusive views of LGBT people, particularly among youth of color. QCC, Queer Cultural Center, a multiracial community-building arts organization, received funding for the Black Girl Dangerous Press to increase the visibility of LGBTQ people of color in online media. Funding will also help the public education and organizing efforts of Choice USA to support gender justice advocates in the U.S. South and Forward Together’s Strong Families New Mexico project seeking culture and policy change led by and for LGBTQ and allied youth of color.

Also funded in this cycle were the Sundance Institute (to help filmmakers explore LGBT issues), Equality Ohio Education Fund (for racial justice organizing efforts on a statewide nondiscrimination effort), Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues (to increase the impact of philanthropy in LGBT communities in the South), Public Interest Projects (to support the Just and Fair Schools Fund), and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (to increase safety, security and advocacy for low-income and people of color transgender communities).

About the Arcus Foundation

Founded in 2000 by Jon Stryker, the Arcus Foundation is a private grantmaking institution. Arcus’ mission is to achieve social justice that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race, and to ensure conservation and respect of the great apes. The Foundation works globally and has offices in New York City and Cambridge, UK.