By BTL Staff
KALAMAZOO – On Aug. 12 the Arcus Foundation announced the recipients of its Spring Cycle 2005 grant awards. More than $1.9 million will be distributed to 32 organizations through the Foundation’s four funding programs.
The foundation awarded grants through the Arcus Gay & Lesbian Fund, the Arcus Fund and the Arcus National Fund to 30 local, regional and national non-profit organizations with programs that promote diversity, combat discrimination or support and affirm the LGBT community. Two organizations that support the conservation and sanctuary of Great Apes earned grants from the Arcus Great Apes Fund as well.
“Overall, awards increased over our last grant cycle, from $1.4 million to $1.9 million,” said Linda May, the Foundation’s executive director. “The Arcus Gay & Lesbian Fund, which serves Southwest Michigan, saw the greatest increase, confirming our commitment to the local community,” May added.
The Arcus Fund awarded five grants, totaling $363,000, to Affirmations Lesbian & Gay Community Center; the Michigan AIDS Fund; the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project; the Ruth Ellis Center; and the Women’s Community Association of Berrien County.
Grace McClelland, executive director of the Ruth Ellis Center, was grateful for the help. “John Stryker and the Arcus Foundation have been instrumental in keeping the agency growing and developing,” she said. “Last year they gave us a grant for $20,000 for the transitional living program which we had just opened, and then when we approached them about the loss of federal funding because we were ‘creating barriers for non-LGBT youth,’ and the impact that it would have on the young LGBT people in Detroit, which are mostly young folks of color, they stepped right up to the plate and granted us $150,000 over three years to insure that this program would continue.”
Leslie Thompson, executive director of Affirmations, said that the grant came at a very important time for her organization. “We’ve actually seen a decrease in our Center Partner pledges, the annual gifts of $120 or more from private donors,” she said.
Citing a decrease in the economy, Thompson continued, “and we also hear from people that they think we must not need money since we’ve raised $4.5 million. But we can’t touch that money – it’s all being raised for the new building and in the meantime, we’ve still got to run the center. That’s why we’re so pleased about the award from the Arcus Foundation.”
The Arcus National Fund awarded ten grants, totaling $725,000, to organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute, and the National Association of LGBT Community Centers.
Jay Kaplan, the staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project, was happy to hear news of the national grant.
“They’ve [the Arcus Foundation] been an invaluable supporter of the Michigan project – we wouldn’t exist without their support,” he said. “In terms of them giving money to the project, the national LGBT project provides support to our Michigan project, so we do work with them.”
The Arcus Gay and Lesbian Fund awarded fifteen grants, totaling $524,500, to organizations including Advocacy Services for Kids, the Disability Resource Center of Southwestern Michigan, and the Whole Art Theater.