Mancini Foundation to Fund Projects For LGBT Youth and Seniors in 2013

Charlotte, North Carolina's Wesley Mancini Foundation funds projects that share their goal of "foster[ing] the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals as full participants in the Charlotte community.”

Mancini explains how he got into the giving business in The Philanthropy Journal: in the late 1990s, a local theatrical production of Angels in America caused a "community uproar" in Charlotte.

The city's Arts & Science Council responded with the announcement that it would no longer fund theatre that dealt with "challenging themes." In the context, Mancini says, "challenging" was a paper-thin euphemism for "gay." He started The Mancini Foundation to counteract a current in Charlotte’s philanthropy community, and the city at large, which discourages LGBT consciousness. 

The foundation has given over $100,000 to more than 20 organizations since Mancini first set it up in 2000. Each annual grant cycle revolves around a specific theme.

In 2012, Mancini funded projects that sought to raise the visibility of Charlotte's LGBT community and related issues during the Democratic National Convention. The Freedom Center for Social Justice partnered with Wadsworth Estate to organize a public forum to discuss the impact a society makes when it stigmatizes or "labels" an individual. They received $3,000 for the project.

PPL was an event space in Charlotte that housed bloggers and other online media covering the 2012 DNC. The space partnered with The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte to publicize volunteer oppourtunities relevant to this cause in the city during the convention. They received $2,000 for the project.

In 2011, Mancini's grantmaking focused on LGBT initiatives in higher education. The Women's and Gender Studies Program at University of North Carolina at Charlotte received $2,500 to support an open access lecture series hosted by OUTspoken. OUTspoken is a committee of faculty and students at UNC from a variety of departments aligned with LGBT interests. Among the list of speakers at the series was Keith Boykin, activist and editor of online news site The Daily Voice. Boykin spoke on the experience of gay and lesbian African-Americans.

That same year, UNC's Multicultural Resource Center also received $1,000 for their "Transgender Inclusion in Charlotte Institutions of Higher Education" program.

For 2013, Mancini wants to fund programs that center on LGBT individuals either younger than 14 or older than 65. Another stipulation for the 2013 round is that all no-profit organizations who wish to apply must do so in tandem with another, similar organization. At least one of the two must be engaged with LGBT issues.