Calamus Foundation: Grants for LGBT

OVERVIEW: Founded in 1994, the New-York-based Calamus Foundation offers general operation and program-specific grants for charitable organizations working to provide "care and support" for individuals with HIV as well as those working on the LGBT community's identity and rights. In a recent year the foundation awarded a total of over $2 million in grants.

IP TAKE: This small but steady player in the LGBT funding space is pretty approachable.

PROFILE: The Calamus Foundation, based in New York City, was founded in 1994 by Saul Kaplan. When Kaplan passed away in 2004, the foundation "received the bulk of his estate." Currently headed by Executive Director Brian O'Donnell, the organization focuses on grants to provide "care and support" for individuals with HIV, as well as the "formation, growth, identity, general wellbeing and social and legal rights" of the LGBT community. Grants may include support for "ongoing programs and projects, general operational and administrative support, capital and building campaigns, and other unique and creative projects." 

The Calamus Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, and applicants seeking consideration must first fill out an online form on Calamus's website in which they briefly describe their organization and project. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis, and all domestic LGBT groups are eligible for to receive grants from Calamus.  The foundation has also awarded grants for issues related to the transgender community, including a recent grant to support "educational efforts focused on gender identity and expression issues."

Calamus's grantmaking has increased steadily, if modestly, over the years. In a recent year, the foundation awarded approximately 30 grants totalling more than $2 million and ranging in size from $2,500 to more than $400,000.

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