Proteus Fund: Grants for LGBT

OVERVIEW: The Proteus Fund is a passthrough funder that channels money from foundations and individual donors to support work related to human rights, democracy and peace.

IP TAKE: This approachable funder has a long history of supporting progressive advocacy work. Proposals are by invitation only. 

PROFILE: Established in 1997, the Proteus Fund (not to be confused with the Proteus Foundation), has awarded over $145 million in grants to organizations supporting the fund’s mission to “advanc[e] justice through human rights, democracy, and peace.” Proteus, unique among funders, pools funding in strategic ways in order to broaden organizations' impact on major initiatives, create innovative and bold action, and respond to dynamic situations more quickly on the ground. The Proteus Fund also prioritizes a long-term view of security and human rights by supporting funding for the dissemination of best practices. The Proteus Fund features several affiliated initiatives. Among them are: the Civil Marriage Collaborative, the Piper Fund, and the Colombe Foundation; however, its Security and Rights Collaborative is most targeted to supporting security and human rights objectives. 

For LGBT grantseekers, Proteus operates the Civil Marriage Collaborative, which is a "funding collaborative of ten national and regional grantmakers supporting strategic public education and advocacy efforts in a number of states with concrete plans to advance marriage equality." Grants have supported efforts to bolster and secure marriage equality, among several other concerns. 

Grants range from $50,000 to $500,000. Past grantees include the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Equality Ohio Education Fund, American Civil Liberties Union Foundations, the ONE Community Foundation in Arizona, and the Equality North Carolina Foundation, among many others. 

Grant seekers are advised to contact this funder directly as grants are made by invitation only. They support both international and grassroots organizations; however, while approachable, their grantmaking is competitive. Unsolicited letters or appeals for funds will not be reviewed. 

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