The Arcus Foundation believes that one way to enshrine social justice for the future is to invest in the young people today. That’s why the foundation has donated millions of dollars to youth-focused initiatives that seek to empower disenfranchised young people to speak up for themselves and share their own stories with their peers and others.
The commitment is clearly on display in its latest round of social justice grants.
For the first time, Arcus threw its support behind United We Dream Network, a youth-led organization focusing on immigration reform here in the U.S., to help them elevate LGBTQ voices and organizations in the struggle against deportation and inhumane practices against undocumented immigrants. The largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country, We Dream Network has 52 partner organizations in 25 states and joins Arcus’ strong community of advocacy organizations working to improve conditions for LGBTQ undocumented immigrants.
In addition to protecting undocumented immigrant youth, and their LGBTQ friends and family members from being unjustly deported, Arcus is also continuing to try and curb homophobia and anti-gay violence in schools.
More money went out the door to GLSEN, which will use the new funding to help schools better address the issues impacting trans youth and youth of color as well as the barriers that prevent LGBT youth from participating in sports. And also to the Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA), which will help align LGBT youth-organizing and racial and economic strategies to ensure educational equity.
But Arcus also awarded a one-year $150,000 grant to California Rural Legal Assistance, a 46-year old organization that helps low-income rural Latino communities, for an LGBT initiative to improve school climates, policies, monitoring and enforcement of safety regulations for LGBTQ youth in rural communities.
As well, and not surprisingly, Arcus showed its commitment to dealing with LGBT homeless and family rejection. For the fifth consecutive time, Arcus granted fund to the Ruth Ellis Center, the only residential program for LGBTQ youth in the foster care and juvenile justice system in the U.S. to help grow the organiztion's work to educate families about LGBTQ identities and to keep those families in tact.