While we wait to see how The Arcus Foundation's new Social Justice Initiative affects its choices for grants in the coming year, we can check in on how some of their extended term grants are doing. (See Arcus Foundation: Grants for LGBT).
In 2012, Arcus granted $200,000 to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law in support of the Institute’s "pilot public opinion research center and archive, which would provide a clearinghouse for public opinion research that would be available to the LGBT movement at large to advance pro-LGBT policy at both the state and federal levels." The Institute's website provides an interactive map of the United States, allowing anyone pursuing LGBT litigation or policies to find state-specific research with the click of a mouse. It's precisely this kind of research that proved so useful to the opponents of Prop 8 in that trial.
The Center for American Progress received $300,000 to provide two years of support for its three-year initiative Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality (FIRE), an integrated approach to LGBT equality and racial justice. FIRE worked with Congressional Black Associates & LGBT Congressional Staff Association to present a program entitled "Invisible Lives" on Capitol Hill. The program focused on why marriage equality should matter to the black community and what other issues affect LGBT equality beyond marriage.
In 2011, Arcus granted $200,000 to Immigration Equality, an organization fighting for LGBT immigrants. Immigration Equality is going strong, planning to participate in a St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York and organizing a campaign for people to comment on Department of Homeland Security's proposed regulations as they relate to protecting LGBT individuals detained in immigration facilities.
The biggest grant award by Arcus that I have come across was a $1.5 million grant to Columbia University to support the university's Law School's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law's Engaging Tradition Project. The project is taking an in-depth look at how the very idea of tradition has been used to frustrate the advancement of LGBT equality. While this grant was awarded in 2011, it seems right in line with Arcus' new Social Justice Initiative, which emphasized trying to break down the very traditional, cultural barriers to acceptance this project is researching.
These are just a few of the ways that Arcus keeps funding good works even as we wait to see what the next class of grant awards will bring.