Foundation launches LGBT racial equity initiative

By |2007-11-22T09:00:00-05:00November 22nd, 2007|News|
Arcus matches national grant to support project

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has received two grants totaling $150,000 to launch an initiative focusing on racial equity issues within the LGBT community.
The first was a challenge grant of $75,000 from Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues, a New York-based philanthropy. FLGI awarded the grant to the Community Foundation in August as part of its national LGBTQ Racial Equity Campaign. FLGI required the Community Foundation to raise an additional $75,000 in matching contributions as a condition of the grant award.
Then, last week, the Kalamazoo-based Arcus Foundation announced a matching grant of $75,000 to the Community Foundation, allowing the organization to meet the LFGI challenge and launch the project.
The funds will enable the Community Foundation to identify and work with LGBT people of color organizations in southeast Michigan to increase their capacity. The program will be overseen by a volunteer advisory committee of the Community Foundation’s HOPE Fund, a fund that serves the needs of southeast Michigan’s HOPE Fund.
According to Karen Zelermyer, executive director of FLGI, extensive research shows that racial inequities persist in every indicator of well-being, including health and wellness, school readiness, economic success and civic participation, among many others.
“Funding for organizations serving LGBTQ people of color has been woefully inadequate, which profoundly impacts the health of this population,” said Zelermyer. “We launched the LGBTQ Racial Equity Campaign to assist local funders to strengthen the organizational capacity and support the leadership of LGBTQ people of color organizations, projects and individuals.”
“I’m really hoping it will give us a knowledge to better run our non-profits,” said Alicia Skillman, board chair of Sisters Providing Intelligence, Creativity and Empowerment, or S.P.I.C.E. “We need that educational boost to make a better impact in our community, so we can figure out more about organizational structures, finances, etc. We should be able to then increase capacity and take advantage of so many more of the grants that are out there.”
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan was one of eight organizations chosen by FLGI to participate in this national campaign. Community Foundation staff developed the project in partnership with local leaders of people of color organizations, as well as with leadership of the HOPE Fund.
“We are pleased that the Community Foundation was chosen to participate in this important initiative,” says Patrick Jakeway, co-chair of the HOPE Fund. “It is a positive step toward addressing the needs of our entire community.”
“We are also grateful to the Arcus Foundation for supporting this project,” says Jakeway.
“The Community Foundation’s focus on building and nurturing GLBT organizations in communities of color aligns well with Arcus’ priority of funding work at the intersection of racial justice, sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Cindy T. Rizzo, director of grant making programs at the Arcus Foundation. “We look forward to seeing how this project moves forward and the impact it makes in the community.”

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.