What's the Pride Foundation Doing for LGBTQ in Western States and Alaska?

Attention organizations working on inclusiveness: The Pride Foundation is now open for applications from nonprofit community organizations for projects that enhance the lives and address the needs of LGBTQ youth, adults, and families in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and/or Washington.

Through its Community Grants Program, the Pride Foundation supports a wide variety of efforts to help the LGBTQ community, with a particular emphasis on supporting the most vulnerable, and those whose needs are currently less visible. The overarching goal here is to create systemic change that will eliminate barriers in the long term for LGBT individuals and families.

While foundation funding for LGBTQ issues has grown dramatically over the past 15 years, from roughly $20 million in 2000 to upward of $120 million per year in 2013, there is still a lot of resistance and lack of awareness about the needs of this community. Another barrier that many LGBTQ organizations face is their relative size, since many foundations do not fund small organizations, and many also do not fund legal and civil rights advocacy work. For the vast geographic area, the Pride Foundation is one of the only foundations focused exclusively on LDBTQ advocacy and support.

Within this framework, the foundation also provides grants for college for LGBTQ youth, which can be used to go to college anywhere, not just in the regions they make grants to.

In addition to providing funding for nonprofits and scholarships to students, the Pride Foundation has several innovative initiatives of its own, including a Racial Equity Initiative and a Shareholder Advocacy program that works directly with companies in which the foundation owns stock, to help them develop LGBTQ awareness and human resource policies that protect LGBTQ workers.  

Last November, Pride made $7.1 million in grants to support the LGBTQ community in the western states plus Alaska. As a regional community foundation, Pride is working to improve the safety, livelihood, and well-being of this population for a huge geographical region. The foundation's grantmaking also has a particular emphasis on historically marginalized groups, including people of color, trans-gender, and low-income people.

Some examples of programs that received funding in 2014 include:

SAGE Metro Portland (Portland, Oregon)
Population Served: Elders

LGBTQ older adults are one of the most invisible and vulnerable LGBTQ populations, often lacking community and support, and need help with everything from housing to recreational support. (SAGE) Metro Portland (SMP), a project of Friendly House, is the only organization in Oregon that provides community services and programming specifically for LGBTQ older adults, and will provide services to this population through recreational activities, support groups, case management, community trainings, advocacy, and leadership development.

Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force (Keizer, Oregon)
Project Name: Oregon Collaboration to improve Medical-Forensic Care for Transgender Sexual Assault Patients

This collaboration between the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force and the Oregon Anti-Violence Project will equip specialized nurses with the language and skills necessary to meaningfully provide medical-forensic care to transgender patients following an incident of sexual assault. This effort will also convene an advisory committee for professional development of medical forensic nurse specialists to work with these populations in the state.

SEAGLA (Juneau, Alaska)
Project Name: Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance (SEAGLA)

SEAGLA provides overall support for the LGBTQ community and will engage in outreach to more remote areas of southeast Alaska including Haines, Skagway, Sitka, and Ketchikan. It will also hold a board retreat to formulate its first strategic plan and use funding for its second annual June pride celebration.

Inland Oasis, Inc. (Moscow, Idaho)
Primary engagement: Social Services

Inland Oasis is the only LGBTQIA community and resource center between Boise, Idaho and Spokane, Washington. Services include rapid antibody testing, medical case management, and homelessness prevention. Grant funds will also be used for general operations and new, large-scale community events in 2015.

Gender Expansion Project (Missoula, Montana)
Primary engagement: Health Services

Gender Expansion Project (GEP) will work to educate medical and mental health care providers, community organizers and other professionals about best practices for working with the LGBT community. It has a growing array of programs including the Montana Gender Alliance, GEP satellite groups throughout the region, and support and advocacy projects.

Center for Children and Youth Justice (Seattle, Washington)

Project Name: eQuality Project

The eQuality Project (eQP) seeks to improve outcomes for LGBTQ youth involved in Washington’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. With the support of the Pride Foundation, CCYJ plans to conclude the initial phase of this project, prepare a report of findings and make recommendations. It will also convene a summit of key decision-makers to engage them in advancing the proposed reforms.

Thin Air Community Radio (Spokane, WA)
Project Name: Outspoken: Locally Produced LGBT Radio

Thin Air Community Radio produces OUTspoken, the only locally produced LGBT issues radio program in the Inland Northwest. Funding will be used to support the production, recording, and editing of this weekly program. OUTspoken, which reaches approximately 400,000 people in parts of six counties in eastern Washington, provides live local and regional topics relevant to the community.

While there is no maximum grant award, the foundation's average grant ranges between $1,000 and $10,000. Grants may be used for general operating, program costs, capacity-building initiatives, and collaboration expenses.

To be eligible, applicants must operate within one or more of the Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and/or Washington; and have 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status or be affiliated with a nonprofit acting as a fiscal sponsor. Applications are due by July 3, 2015.