Philanthropic Advocacy

LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund


March 2016: Please take note of our new web presence at!

The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund is a philanthropic collaboration between the Ford Foundation, Arcus Foundation, Foundation for a Just Society, Calamus Fund, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and an anonymous funder. The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund focuses on catalyzing change, growing leadership, and expanding how we measure progress. By partnering with pioneering funders with a successful history of seeding social change, we hope to expand what people, organizations, and funders see as the full measure of achievement when it comes to improving the lived experiences of LGBTQ communities. The Fund supports organizing in the Southeast, based on an analysis of long-range need, large populations of LGBTQ people of color, a dearth of flexible social-justice funding, anti-LGBTQ policies and political climate, and the capacity of cutting-edge groups. In its first two years of grant-making, the Fund has provided more than $1,500,000 to grassroots organizations in the South.

The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund recognizes inspired groups that are working across issues and movements for social change. In July 2015, the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund granted $765,000 to six innovative partnerships working in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia. Each grant is anchored by one organization working with other frontline groups on a particular campaign that advances LGBTQ racial justice in the South. Where LGBTQ youth of color are disciplined for their orientation or gender identity, our grantees work to change that. Where transgender women of color are being disproportionately detained, arrested, and incarcerated, our grantees address their needs and make gains to end this violence. Together, LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund grantees are impacting thousands of people, forging new paths, and calling on the deep history of Southern mass organizing and resistance.

Our grantees are creating systemic change in the following ways:

  • Working against disproportionate and extreme discipline in schools against LGBTQ / gender non-conforming youth of color in Mississippi and Louisiana
  • Empowering and connecting young people who are pushed out of schools, experience incarceration, and seek saker educational spaces
  • Building bridges between immigrant workers and LGBTQ people of color in Atlanta
  • Creating connections between the immigrant justice movement and LGBTQ justice, together fighting abuse of LGBTQ and people of color in detention; deportations; and anti-immigrant xenophobia
  • Fighting against policies that continue the harassment, targeting, and criminalization of sex workers, many of whom are LGBTQ people of color
  • Writing curricula and popular education tools for service providers, youth educators, healthcare professionals, and social service agency workers
  • Developing and implementing a region-wide actionable plan to grow multi-issue movements for racial, gender, and economic justice
  • Providing leadership-development opportunities for LGBTQ Southerners of color through direct-action trainings, assemblies for frontline activists, and leadership institutes

To join the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund - the only grantmaking collaborative in the country focused on organizing at the intersection of LGBTQ and racial justice - as a donor or with any inquiries, please contact Miabi Chatterji, Program Officer, at

LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund Cohort

New Orleans and Statewide Coalition Building

Anchored by: Gay-Straight Alliance Network, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) supports young people through peer support, leadership development, and training, so that they may start, strengthen, and sustain school-based GSA clubs. The GSA Network recently expanded into Louisiana and is working with local groups to build a new model for GSA clubs, one that is led by LGBTQ youth of color who have been pushed out of school and into alternative educational settings; and to seek policy remedies to stem school push-out in Louisiana public schools. The Gay-Straight Alliance Network in New Orleans is bringing its long-term expertise to create spaces where LGBTQ youth and allies can convene, work together on urgent issues, and develop youth leadership within their communities. Grant is for Project support: developing new GSAs in New Orleans public schools and in alternative school settings, and to create a statewide coalition for educational equity.

From VICE to ICE

Anchored by New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice and BreakOUT!, New Orleans, Louisiana
The Grant supports the Congress of Day Laborers (a membership-based organization of NOWCRJ) and BreakOUT! to continue their formal partnership, particularly through working on the campaign From VICE to ICE. The New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice was born out of Hurricane Katrina to bring immigrants and African Americans together on issues of immigration and economic justice. NOWCRJ's intersectional work expands participatory democracy through building the power and participation of poor people across color lines. The Congress of Day Laborers, one of NOWCRJ's four major programs, anchors critical campaigns to preserve and expand bedrock civil, labor and human rights in the context of immigration enforcement. BreakOUT! has been a leader in the struggle for queer justice nationally and locally, seeking to end the criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth to build a safer, more just New Orleans. BreakOUT! members use youth organizing, healing justice and leadership development programs to build the power of LGBTQ youth ages 13-25 who are directly impacted by the criminal (in)justice system. BreakOUT! and NOWCRF created the From VICE to ICE campaign to recognize and more fully explore the deep connections and overlaps between immigrants, people of color, low-wage workers, LGBTQ people, and youth in New Orleans. Through meeting together, learning from one another's structures and procedures, conducting actions together, supporting one another's work, and more, the partner organizations are building trust and working towards a roadmap for the South in regards to immigration and LGBTQ justice.

The Prevention of Schoolhouse 2 Jailhouse Pipeline Campaign

Anchored by the Nollie Jenkins Family Center and the MS Delta Catalyst Roundtable, Mississippi Delta

The Prevention of Schoolhouse 2 Jailhouse Campaign is a 13-year-old coalition committed to ending educational injustice for low-income youth of color in Mississippi, particularly those affected by the criminal justice system. The Schoolhouse 2 Jailhouse Campaign has worked against the abuse of incarcerated children, to enforce the rights of incarcerated children to a public education, and to promote community-based alternatives to incarceration of children at facilities far from their families. The Campaign is working closely with the Mississippi Catalyst Roundtable, an established coalition of 13 black social-change organizations also focused on educational access, equity, and achievement. The Roundtable is anchored by Nollie Jenkins Family Center for this grant. Nollie Jenkins, based in one of the poorest counties in the country, engages parents and students in educational justice policy formation and implementation.

Gulf South Rising and the Southern Movement Assembly

Anchored by Project South and the Southern Movement Assembly, Atlanta GA

Project South has been a recognized leader in the South for almost thirty years, building and strengthening movements for social justice via leadership development, popular education, partnerships and alliances, and organizing. Located in Atlanta, Project South addresses the needs of communities throughout the South. The grant supports their long-term relationship with the Southern Movement Assembly (SMA), a collaborative regional organizing process and governance vehicle, which provides critical opportunities for young people, people of color, LGBTQ people, and allies to practice functional democracy; grow collective power to influence local, state, and federal policy; and to design effective means of resourcing immediate needs. Member organizations in the SMA address criminalization of communities of color; educational inequity; LGBTQ justice; women's rights; mass incarceration; and more. In the coming year, the SMA and Project South will continue to build political power and strength with at least one-third LGBTQ leadership participation; to build LGBTQ perspectives and realities into their leadership development efforts and curricula; and youth leaders will advance the $10Mil4Real campaign addressing the increased police presence in Atlanta public schools.

Solutions Not Punishment Coalition

Anchored by Racial Justice Action Center (RJAC), LaGender, and (Trans)forming, Atlanta Georgia
The Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNaP Co) is a groundbreaking team and campaign, anchored by the Racial Justice Action Center, La Gender and (Trans)forming in Atlanta and created in 2013. SNaP Co is working to build power among those who are targeted by the Atlanta Police Department – especially trans* and gender nonconforming folks of color, current and former street-level sex workers and formerly incarcerated people – and to transform the way the City of Atlanta crafts and implements its policies, practices and laws related to street-level sex work. Instead of banishment, longer jail sentences and higher fines, SNaP Co is fighting for policies and laws that: utilize treatment programs, services, and opportunities as a response to survival sex work, as opposed to jail time; emphasize holistic wraparound services for people including job training, educational programs, health care, and housing; and draw from evidence-based best practices around the country (including previous programs in Atlanta). The coalition has had incredible success in its short history, including developing and instituting a community-based pre-booking diversion program as an alternative to the criminal (in)justice system. More than 40 Atlanta-based organizations are represented, with more than 275 individual members. The Grant is to support SNaP Co's 2015-2016 work, which includes launching a network of culturally competent service providers; moving forward policy objectives to reduce police profiling and abuse; evaluating the first three years of work; and completing the first Trans Leadership Connection internship program.

#Not1More Deportation Campaign

and Collaboration with the Transgender Law Center
Anchored by Southerners on New Ground (SONG), Atlanta GA
Since 1993, SONG has been known, both regionally and nationally, for their organizing and training work across issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality with LGBTQ people and their allies. They work to build and maintain a Southern LGTQ infrastructure for organizers strong enough to combat the Southern-specific strategy of the Right to divide and conquer Southern oppressed communities. SONG's long-term goals are to build, drive, amplify, and support Southern multi-racial, multi-issue community organizing through regional capacity building, leadership development, and community organizing campaigns. The current foci are on immigration and ending the criminalization of LGBTQ people of color in the South. To this end, SONG is continuing to build its relationship with the national #Not1MoreDeportation campaign, which was originally housed inside the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), and together they are working for an end to the system of deportation, while deepening our understanding of the realities of LGBTQ undocumented people, asylees, and refugees. In addition, SONG now has a deepening relationship with the Transgender Law Center, called TLC@SONG. TLC@SONG is a new form of national collaboration, marrying Transgender Law Center's long history of legal, policy and trans-specific expertise with SONG's well-respected Southern base-building and organizing shop. TLC@SONG is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and uses a mix of policy advocacy, legal work, public education and movement building to make legal, policy, and cultural inroads.


June 9, 2014

New York, NY: The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund ("The Fund"), a collaborative philanthropic initiative that envisions a United States where LGBTQ people of color can safely and vibrantly pursue full authentic lives, announces $780,000 in inaugural grants supporting efforts in the Southeastern United States. The Fund's collaborative partners, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the Ford Foundation, the Arcus Foundation and an anonymous donor, aim to develop and strengthen a strategic and effective advocacy sector addressing the needs of LGBTQ communities of color.

This first round of grants targets education, organizing and advocacy and includes the following organizations:

Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, working in partnership with the Louisiana Center for Children's Rights and Equality Louisiana (New Orleans, LA) to coordinate the Louisiana Safe Schools Coalition, ensuring that every child in Louisiana receives a high quality education in a safe, welcoming and affirming environment.

Racial Justice Action Center, working in partnership with LaGender and Trans(forming) (Atlanta, GA) in the Solutions Not Punishment (SNaP) Coalition & Campaign, to increase employment rates and access to housing and quality health care for LGBTQ communities of color in the Atlanta metropolitan area while decreasing police harassment, profiling and abuse.

New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, working in partnership with BreakOUT! (New Orleans, LA) to formalize From Vice to Ice, a campaign to end the criminalization of LGBTQ people of color and immigrant communities and build a transformative movement for justice and equity in the United States South.

Nollie Jenkins Family Center, working in partnership with the Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse 2 Jailhouse (Lexington, MS) to reframe the negative narrative and oppressive conditions faced by LGBTQ youth through public education, public discourse and support of queer youth-focused issues.

Project South (Atlanta, GA), working in partnership with the organizations of the Southern Movement Assembly to coordinate the Unite to Fight Summer Organizing Drive to revitalize civic participation and build necessary infrastructure for organizing, education, and communications capacities within communities affected by oppression and exploitation across the US South.

Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), a California-based organization working in partnership with the Youth Empowerment Project (New Orleans, LA) to build capacity and empower low-income LGBTQ youth of color in public schools to create systemic change at both local and state levels in Louisiana.

"We have made tremendous progress toward improving the life quality of LGBTQ individuals and families. But unless we both recruit new leaders and respect the strong long-standing strategic voices in communities of color, our momentum could slow to a crawl in the next battleground regions, like the Southwest and Southeast," says J. Bob Alotta, Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

By partnering with pioneering funders with a successful history of seeding social change, the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund hopes to expand what people, organizations and funders see as the full measure of progress when it comes to improving the lives of LGBTQ communities.

"The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund is a collaborative initiative to influence resources that will affect greater change than we could achieve alone. By also supporting organizations that work together, the grants further leverage efforts to improve the lives of LGBTQ communities of color. We invite more funders to partner with the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund and help us advance racial justice and LGBTQ equality," stated Roz Lee, Senior Program Officer of the Arcus Foundation."

"LGBT Americans have made great strides towards the dream of a lived equality, but our work is far from over," added Luna Yasui, who leads the LGBT rights program at the Ford Foundation. "Baseline legal equality has yet to reach vast swaths of our country—especially for those who live in the Southeast. Even in states with legal protections, there is a wide gulf between what the law promises and the daily experiences of LGBT people, especially people of color. The Ford Foundation believes that every person should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to society and have voice in the decisions that affect them -- regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender identity."

The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund is a collaborative philanthropic initiative that envisions a United States where LGBTQ people of color can safely and vibrantly pursue full authentic lives – are embraced by family and community, can thrive at work and play, and inform and shape the issues and policies that most deeply affect them. The Fund is focused on catalyzing change, growing leadership and expanding how we measure progress.
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. We support brilliant and brave grantee partners in the U.S. and internationally who challenge oppression and seed social change. We work for racial, economic, social, and gender justice, because we all deserve to live our lives freely, without fear, and with dignity.