As we have discussed in the past, community foundations around the country have stepped up support of LGBT causes. We've speculated that the growing acceptance of LGBT Americans has made funding in this area feel less risky to local foundations and is unlocking new sources of support. And we've made the hopeful prediction that such new funding will offset any pullback from national foundations like Ford, which are moving on to other work in the wake of the marriage equality victory last year.
One of the top local funds is the LGBT Community Fund at the Chicago Community Trust (CCT). This fund was established in 2010 and has an interesting model. It has an endowment that generates income to provide "strategic grant support for nonprofit agencies" that serve the LGBT community. But it also raises money for specific activities and campaigns.
The fund just announced three new Transformational Grants that total $350,000, and each supports a collaborative project of two organizations that are addressing the needs of the Chicago LGBT community.
Three trends stood out in this CCT fund’s show of support: health, housing and collaboration.
“The LGBT Community Fund is proud to support change agents making profound improvements to the quality of life for members of the LGBT community,” fund co-chair Denise C. Foy said in a press release. “By investing in innovative, replicable projects that reach traditionally underserved populations within our community, we hope to achieve a truly transformational impact.”
One of these collaborations is between the Howard Brown Health Center and Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. This project is creating the first LGBTQ-specific assault survivor advocacy and prevention program in the U.S. Another project brings together Chicago House, a human services agency, and Sarah’s Circle, a group that serves homeless women. This collaboration is designed to strengthen the safety net for impoverished transgender people by providing drop-in support and temporary housing.
The third collaboration recently funded by the CCT LGBT Community Fund is between the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the University of Chicago. A phone hotline that provides information, counselling and connections to healthcare providers, known as PrEPLine, was piloted in 2015, and this grant will expand the program. The money will fund training for the hotline staff, salaries for a project director, coordinator, and clinician, and also expand reach and capacity for high-risk communities on the city’s south and west sides.