Astraea Foundation: Grants for LGBT

OVERVIEW: Astraea funds "lesbian-and trans-led organizations and cultural media projects that directly address the depth and complexities of lesbian and trans issues." Its areas of focus in grantmaking include anti-criminalization and freedom from violence, arts and cultural activism, economic justice, racial justice, trans human rights, network-building, and anti-discrimination protections.

IP TAKE: Astraea is both well-funded and quite accessible to initial grantseekers, even those of modest name recognition. Astraea's identity and funding strategy focus mainly on advocacy for lesbians and transgender individuals.  

PROFILE: The New York-based Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice has operated since 1977. Billing itself as "the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe," Astraea seeks to "fuel local and global movements that shift power to LGBTQI people and organizations pursuing social justice and human rights." Despite being publicly funded, Astraea is a power-house LGBTQI funder that supports LGBTQI people by funding organizations, philanthropic advocacy, communications, and capacity building. It funds four separate LGBTQI-related programs.

Astraea exclusively funds LGBTQI issues, and maintains four grantmaking categories:

  • The International Fund "supports groups led by LGBTQI communities working for progressive social change, addressing oppression based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression, and advancing work for racial, economic, and gender justice."
  • U.S. Fund supports organizations led by "LGBTQ people of color working to advance racial and economic justice. Reflecting movement priorities, [its] current grantmaking focuses largely on the themes of anti-criminalization and migrant justice."
  • The Intersex Human Rights Fund "supports organizations, projects and timely campaigns led by intersex activists working to ensure the human rights, bodily autonomy, physical integrity and self-determination of intersex people."
  • The Global Arts Fund "showcases and connects impactful art by LGBTQI people and organizations that are using art as a tool for social transformation and have limited access to resources."

The foundation supports both small, grassroots and larger organizations. While Astraea's annual financial statements include a few repeat grantees, the foundation is unsurprisingly accommodating to first-time grantseekers. Astraea's funding is described in more detail on its grant application page as well as in its annual reports, which can be found on the publications section of its web site.  

Grantseekers should be aware of the particularly specific process for submitting letters of interest and applying for funding at Astraea.

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