Latest Round of Social Justice Grants Support Emerging LGBT Leaders

October 3, 2014

NEW YORK, NY (Sept. 23, 2014)— Investing in the emerging leaders and activists who will guide the LGBT movement over the next generation is the goal of a number of Arcus Foundation Fall 2014 Social Justice grants, announced on Sept. 23. Organizations that received funding include several that work across sectors, bringing the LGBT-rights movement together with racial-justice, immigrant -rights, and reproductive-rights struggles.

In the U.S. South, Southerners On New Ground will use a grant to pursue a small-town strategy, leading campaigns to oppose criminalization of LGBT youth and youth of color in cities with fewer than 250,000 people. The organization also aims to grow the leadership and visibility of its Southern organizers by holding an intersectional activist convening merging immigrant- and LGBT-rights work. Combining issues of immigrant and LGBT justice, as well as women’s health, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health intends to build a cadre of Latina spokespersons who address both reproductive justice and LGBTQ equality, with a focus on Florida and Texas.

A grant to the University of Chicago Center for the study of Race, Politics, and Culture will help expand the Black Youth Project, helping it mature into an organization that campaigns nationally around racial profiling and engages with larger racial-justice, LGBT, and women’s organizations. Defeating discriminatory policing policies is also the goal of Streetwise and Safe, which seeks reform of the New York City Police Department locally and development of leadership nationally among LGBTQ organizations to challenge criminalization of youth of color.

A grant to the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute will increase the number of out people of color and transgender people successfully engaging in public service. The National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce will continue building leadership of youth, people of color, transgender people, and people of faith in addition to making connections with allied social justice movements in order to strengthen the LGBTQ field.

Six grants support Arcus’ goal of increasing the capacity and influence of pro-LGBT religious leaders and advocates around the globe. A first grant to the Kansas-based Reformation Project, which seeks wider LGBT acceptance within evangelical churches, will enable training of LGBT-affirming Christians to use scriptural arguments in dialogue around acceptance within conservative churches in Kansas, Georgia, and Washington, D.C.

The Alliance of Baptists plans to use its first Arcus grant to train members in discussing sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) issues with congregations, and the Central Baptist Theological Seminary aims to engage immigrant pastoral leaders in LGBT theology through new courses and curricula. Through its Love Your Neighbor Coalition, The Reconciling Ministries Network plans to elevate voices of support for clergy who bravely commit acts of “biblical disobedience” in their support of LGBTQ people.

Fostering a culture of LGBT understanding through the media is the aim of grants to the Religion Newswriters Foundation—to produce feature stories and blog posts about religion and LGBT communities of color—and to Media Matters of America—to expand its progressive Spanish-language educational outreach. Transforming the culture of homophobia and transphobia in sports is the goal of grants to Athlete Ally and You Can Play, which are partnering with sports organizations from the amateur to pro level.

Also funded in this round were the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance to raise the visibility and influence of the Asian LGBT population within immigrant-rights initiatives; the Auburn Theological Seminary to build intersectional community, particularly among Atlanta-based people of color, people of faith, and the LGBT community; and the faith-based Freedom Center for Social Justice to work toward employment rights and legal support for the North Carolina transgender community.

The ACLU Foundation will use funding to pursue its extensive litigation and advocacy work to ensure the protection and rights of LGBT youth, particularly those of color or economic disadvantage. The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice received a grant for the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund, a philanthropic initiative that awards grants to improve the lives of LGBT people of color.

A grant to Parliamentarians for Global Action will build on the success of a recent conference on SOGI rights attended by parliament members from countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. The group will create a toolkit and further engage these leaders and the LGBTI communities in their respective countries.