OVERVIEW: The Arcus Foundation supports global rights groups that connect human rights to LGBTQ rights. The foundation tends to focus on regions of the world where discrimination, homophobia and abuses are among the most egregious.
IP TAKE: Arcus supports both small and large human rights organizations; however, LGBTQ rights drive its funding. Indeed, human rights-related proposals must support its LGBTQ mission in order to receive funding.
PROFILE: In 2000, Jon Stryker established the Arcus Foundation, which is dedicated to "the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world." Organized around LGBTQ giving, the Arcus Foundation supports rights groups that intersect human rights with LGBTQ rights. As Stryker sees it, there are regions of the world where LGBTQ rights are “literally life-and-death human rights issues.” The foundation, based in both New York City and Cambridge, UK, works work globally to support its partners in "their pursuit of lasting change." The foundation oversees a social justice program, which concentrates on LGBTQ rights, and a great apes program.
Divided into three strategic areas, the social justice program seeks to "ensure that individuals and families around the world of every sexual orientation and gender identity, race, and ethnicity are able to live their lives with dignity and respect, and express their love and sense of self." Its Global Religions strategy emphasizes improving and deepening domestic and international between LGBTQ and religious communities as well as combatting "those who would misuse religion to deny the full humanity of LGBT[Q] people." The International Human Rights strategy focuses on nurturing "a global movement integrating sexual orientation and gender identity into shared conceptions of human rights" with a primary focus on countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. There has been some upheaval at Arcus's social justice wing in recent years, something that has been extensively covered by Inside Philanthropy.
Arcus has a fairly diverse approach to grantmaking, and funds general operations as well as more specific projects and initiatives. In addition to its large-scale grants to well-known organizations, small grants have been awarded. A recent list of Arcus's grant recipients can be found here.
In addition to philosophical and organizational prerequisites for the organizations it funds, Arcus' grant application involves three steps and is clearly laid out on its website. Organizations should definitely keep the foundation's strategic priorities in mind when appealing for funds.
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