When the Arcus Foundation first awarded the Pacific School of Religion $50,000 back in 2011, it hoped to help the Christian-seminary create and test culturally sensitive, Spanish-language messages that would grow acceptance for LGBT people within Latino communities.
The foundation was already supporting other organizations doing Spanish-language media work, but this was as an opportunity to make inroads with Latino and Spanish-speaking faith leaders. At the time, less than 50 percent of U.S. Latino Catholics supported marriage equality and at least third of polled Latino Catholics felt gay and lesbian relationships deserved no legal recognition at all.
Fast-forward three years, and Latino support for marriage and general LGBT equality has more than doubled to 80 percent. And now even some of the largest Latino organizations, such as the National Council of La Raza and the Hispanic Federation, are prioritizing immigration reform that includes LGBT couples and are speaking out for LGBT Latinos.
But all isn’t fixed. As more Latinos immigrate to the U.S., so does the need for more Spanish-language education and training. And once again, Arcus is stepping in to help.
The Foundation recently announced a new $100,000 grant for the a Latino Curriculum Project at the Pacific School of Religion that will create, test and disseminate new Spanish-language messages and printed guides that help affirming Latin American and Latino clergy grow love, support and shared religious values within their congregations. The curriculum will also offer web-based learning modules that allow clergy and their congregants to interact with other members of their congregation for group sessions.
Participants will also have the opportunity to interact with Pacific School of Religion faculty and staff to get real-time assistance, get guidance on difficult questions or dilemmas, or to deepen and sustain their learning.
Arcus’ support for the Pacific School of Religion is a continuation of the investment the foundation is already making to grow LGBT acceptance in both the Latino community and among religious communities, both here in the US and abroad.
In 2014 alone, the foundation doled out nearly $1 million to groups working to broaden acceptance among religious communities, as part of its global religions initiative, and the foundation is yet again granting Freedom To Marry $150,000 in direct support to do proactive work within Latino communities.