The Arcus Foundation Shifts Direction

Since 2000, the Arcus Foundation has been one of the major players in philanthropic giving to LGBT issues and efforts. (See Arcus Foundation: Grants for LGBT). Throughout 2012, the Foundation conducted an intensive review of its giving efforts, consulting with advocates, focus groups, and stakeholders. The goal was to develop a long-range strategy for how to focus the Foundation's giving efforts in the future.

At this January's Creating Change conference, the Arcus Foundation unveiled its new social justice strategy they intend to carry them through the next five to ten years.

In the United States, the foundation's funding efforts will be focused on serving two underserved communities: youth and people of color. Marginalization is an especial problem for LGBT people of color, so the foundation is committed to providing support for LGBT youth of color. Arcus  will be focused on funding organizations that promote cultural acceptance, raise awareness, and use high-profile figures to influence attitudes.

Globally, Arcus Foundation is most concerned about the use of religious texts and interpretations to marginalize LGBT persons (Read International Human Rights director, Adrian Coman's IP profile). Citing instances from foreign countries and from within the United States, the foundation has taken note of an alarming trend among conservative religious leaders to deny rights and recognition to LGBT people. As a result, the foundation will focus its giving to projects and organizations that promote dialogue and acceptance within all world religions. The Foundation hopes to build a network of pro-LGBT faith leaders throughout the world.

Finally, Arcus Foundation intends to focus on building a global movement of acceptance, recognition, and rights for all LGBT people as a matter of international human rights. The foundation hopes to work with organizations in countries where LGBT people are most at risk as well as organizations that have influence with the United Nations.

In all respects, the new strategy seems focused on building bridges with allies, integrating LGBT people into their communities, and engaging faith communities both in the United States and throughout the world. Understanding the strategy will be key for grantseekers as any proposal will need to demonstrate how the project will fit within The Arcus Foundation's overarching strategy.

One thing is certain. With the announcement of a defined social justice strategy for the next five to ten years, the Arcus Foundation has announced its intention to remain a major funding source for LGBT issues.