Rhode Island Foundation awards more than $50,000 in grants for services to RI’s LGBTQ communities

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Foundation announced today that seven nonprofit
organizations serving the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer
(LGBTQ) communities will receive more than $50,000 in grants through its Equity
Action Fund. The money will fund services ranging from wellness programs to domestic
violence prevention.

Project Weber/RENEW was awarded $10,000 to extend a pilot program that reaches out
to transgender sex workers.

«We target both the physical streets of Providence, as well as the invisible
‘streets’ of hook-up apps. Our goal is to ensure that clients, particularly
transgender clients, do not fall through the cracks, and to ensure they are able to
access necessary health, prevention and recovery services,» said Colleen Daley
Ndoye, executive director.

Youth Pride received $10,000 to expand and improve its Gay Straight Alliance (GSA).
The strategies include convening monthly meetings with youth members from GSAs
throughout Rhode Island, increasing outreach to local gay/straight alliances and
offering regional programming for GSAs.

«The GSA Coalition has been one of our most successful initiatives for engagement
within Rhode Island’s school system and has opened the door for us to also conduct
essential trainings for school officials. It fills a critical need in our schools,»
said Chris Lauth, executive director.

Sojourner House received $8,000 to increase the number of LGBTQ+ and trans victims
of intimate partner violence who are accessing and receiving services, to increase
the number of community-based organizations that are more knowledgeable about and
more equipped to respond to LGBTQ+ and trans intimate partner violence and to
increase the number of students who are more knowledgeable about and more
comfortable with LGBTQ+ and trans issues.

«We are committed to working to end domestic violence in all communities. Intimate
partner violence affects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer
relationships with the same, if not higher, frequency as heterosexual relationships,
yet the issue is seldom addressed in the community. We are grateful to receive the
resources to continue this critical work,» said Vanessa Volz, executive director.

Thundermist Health Center received $7,400 to support its Trans* Health and Wellness
Program. The grant will enable the organization to expand its individual and group
behavioral health services, and offer social- and community-building events to
improve the physical and mental health and wellness of the trans* community.

«As we embark on the second year of the Trans* Health Access Team, we are pleased by
the growing recognition of the importance of providing a culturally and clinically
competent continuum of care for transgender Rhode Islanders. We are particularly
excited for the opportunity to continue to expand the program to include innovative
wellness programs such as Tran* Health Swim and Yoga,» said Jayeson Watts, Trans*
Health Program manager

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) received $10,000 to support its ongoing
work with Rhode Island organizations and agencies that address issues facing LGBTQ
youth and families.

«While our outreach has increased substantially, families and youth still face
discrimination in critical areas of their lives. We aim to ensure that Rhode Island
youth and families are respected and cherished for who they are,» said Janson Yu,
executive director.

New Urban Arts was awarded $3,200 for the Untitlement Project, which will enable
low-income youth to use writing and art to explore issues of identity, including
gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

«These young people will investigate stereotypes, media awareness, violence, anger,
vulnerability, loneliness, love and relationships. The goal is to raise
consciousness and explore inequities around privilege, power and language,» said
Daniel Schleifer, executive director. «They will grow through deep listening, hard
questions and vibrant, challenging dialogue.»

Flickers, The Newport Film/Video Society & Arts Collaborative, received $2,000 to
support its Forward Movement Program, which aims to offer LGBTQ programing
year-round.

The components will include an LGBTQ Film Showcase featuring more than 50 LGBTQ
films with encore screenings taking place throughout the year, the Flickers’ Youth
Film Jury, which includes new film appreciation and film mentorship components; and
the second annual LGBT Film Festival Summit.

«The highlight will be the selection of designated filmmakers who will serve as
mentors for youth jury members,» said George Marshall, executive director.

There were two categories of grants: Projects that meet the community’s priority
needs through the empowerment of under-represented individuals in LGBTQ communities
and capacity-building grants for board development, strategic planning, program
development, fundraising or other activities that build the capacity of
organizations that play a vital and unique role in the LGBTQ communities.

Equity Action is guided by a volunteer advisory committee comprised of community
leaders including committee Chair Michael Grabo and Vice-Chair Jean Burke. While
this year’s deadline to apply for major grants has passed, the Foundation is still
accepting proposals for amounts under $2,500.

Established in 2002, Equity Action is committed to enacting social change by
championing initiatives and organizations that encourage justice for, support and
improve the quality of life of LGBTQ Rhode Islanders. Over the years, Equity Action
has awarded more than $750,000 in grants to dozens of organizations.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of
nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2015, the Foundation awarded $41.5
million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and
needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking
activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation
is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. The public can donate to Equity
Action or any of the other 1,400 funds that the Foundation oversees at
www.rifoundation.org<file:///\\RIF2601\Shared\All\Communications\Press%20Releases\Releases%202015\www.rifoundation.org>.