Programmatic Pillars

Four core pillars guide our work. Through Grantmaking, we provide flexible, core support grants to grassroots LGBTQI artists and activists on the frontlines. Through Philanthropic Advocacy, we influence funders to align their resources with movements’ needs. Capacity Building and Leadership Development ensures that activists and organizations have what they need to build power and make change. Media and Communications amplifies their voices and stories and equips folks to control their own narratives.

Astraea is often among the first—if not the first—funder of innovative, emerging LGBTQI organizations and activists who are fueling powerful grassroots movements across the globe. Our grantmaking prioritizes support for those sectors of our movement that have the least access to financial resources but are best placed to make change, including groups led by and for trans and gender non- conforming folks, intersex people, lesbians and queer women, people of color, youth, and activists in rural or other geographic areas where isolation and safety issues present barriers to visibility and community organizing. Our expertise lies in finding hard-to-reach groups and supporting them in their fight for equality and justice in their local contexts. We support both nascent and emerging groups that have tremendous potential to make social change but struggle to access mainstream funding resources, as well as established organizations taking their impact to the next level. Because the organizations we support are deeply connected to their communities and constituencies, we trust them to set their own priorities. We provide flexible, core support grants so they can pursue their own visions. And because social change doesn’t happen overnight, we commit to long-term partnerships, funding groups for 5-10 years and beyond. Please click here to Apply for a Grant.
Anti-Criminalization and Freedom from Violence

Anti-Criminalization and Freedom from Violence

Astraea supports groups led by LGBTQI youth, sex workers and people of color that organize against police and state violence, educate communities about their rights, and fight laws and policies that criminalize LGBTQI lives.
Anti-Discrimination Protections

Anti-Discrimination Protections

Astraea supports those working to change laws and policies to ensure that LGBTQI people live with safety and dignity, including family protections, anti-discrimination provisions, and equity in health and education.
Arts and Cultural Change

Arts and Cultural Change

Because art is a powerful tool for social change, Astraea supports progressive LGBTQI artists and organizations that use arts and media as tools for transforming social attitudes and envisioning new realities.
Migrant Justice

Migrant Justice

In the United States, Astraea fuels the grassroots LGBTQI immigrant movement, building a new generation of leaders fighting harsh deportation and detention policies, and demanding self-determination for all.
Trans Human Rights

Trans Human Rights

As a feminist and gender justice funder, Astraea supports trans activism that builds the power of trans communities and works to secure human rights for trans and gender non-conforming people.
Economic Justice

Economic Justice

Astraea supports organizations and campaigns advancing economic justice for LGBTQI communities, including securing access to housing, education, employment, and welfare.
Intersex Human Rights

Intersex Human Rights

Astraea fuels the growing intersex movement to fight for bodily autonomy and self-determination, address human rights violations, build community and raise visibility.

  • In 2016, we provided over $6.6 million in programmatic services and we made over $3.5 million in grants - that's 234 grants to 190 groups in 62 countries!
  • Between 2011 and 2016, we more than doubled our grantmaking capacity.
  • 84% of our U.S. funding supports activists who are fighting the criminalization of our LGBTQI communities and championing migrant justice.
  • 63% of our funding goes to lesbian, bisexual, and queer-led activism.
  • 50% of our funding goes to trans and gender nonconforming-led activism.
  • Through our Intersex Fund, Astraea awarded $200,000 to 32 grantee partners in 27 countries.
  • 72% of our funding went to groups doing grassroots organizing.
  • 98% of our U.S. funding went to people of color-led organizations.

  • Social change results from the powerful collective action of groups of people working together. No one actor or organization can make lasting change alone, and change resulting from collective efforts runs deeper and lasts longer.
  • Movements are most powerful when they are intersectional and inclusive. Communities most affected by social, racial, economic and gender oppression are best placed to identify solutions and lead transformative movements for social change.
  • Deep social change takes a long time, and requires great faith and patience. Those invested in supporting such change must commit to the struggle for the long haul.
  • Social change is complex: it has many dimensions, and progress is necessary in all of them. For example, changes in laws and policies are necessary, but not sufficient, to affect people’s lives. Changes in cultural narratives and access to services are also critical.
  • Social change is messy and unpredictable. What initially might seem like a setback might in fact be an indication of progress—only time will tell.
  • Healing is a critical part of the change process. Beyond taking action, activists need time to build trust and community, to reflect and connect, and to build power by acknowledging and drawing strength from trauma.
  • Art and cultural work are powerful tools for resistance and inspiration--and are necessary components in building a future guaranteeing human rights for all.
  • As a feminist social justice funder and a public foundation, Astraea’s fundamental purpose is to help finance the sectors of our movement that best positioned to be engines for change but have limited access to mainstream funding resources.
Astraea can’t do it alone! As a public foundation, Astraea advocates for increased and improved LGBTQI funding across the entire philanthropic sector. We work to ensure that resources are aligned with LGBTQI movement needs and priorities, and that they reach the activists who need them most and can use them to make the most transformative changes. Through leadership in funder affinity groups, donor education, and advocacy, Astraea makes the case for increased and improved U.S. and international LGBTQI funding.

Philanthropic Initiatives and Partnerships

As a philanthropic advocate, Astraea houses and advances the work of preeminent institutional partnerships: the LGBTI Global Development Partnership, the Global Philanthropy Project (GPP),the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund (RJF), the Funding Queerly Giving Circle and the International Trans* Fund (ITF)—all dedicated to increasing resources for LGBTQI human rights and justice.
The Partnership brings together the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Astraea Foundation, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute (GLVI), the Williams Institute, and Olivia Companies in an initiative dedicated to furthering LGBTI equality in specific countries, including Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Kenya, Peru, South Africa, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia. Through this groundbreaking Partnership, Astraea has created concrete, sustainable, and replicable models for socio-political transformation that advances LGBTI human rights, which includes significant impact through research, grantmaking, leadership development as well as CommsLabs (Communications, Media and Technology Labs), our signature capacity-building program for activists and human rights defenders.
Established in 2009, GPP’s 16 member organizations include many of the leading global funders and philanthropic advisors for LGBTI rights. As the first international cohort of LGBTI funders, GPP is internationally recognized as the primary thought leader and go-to partner for donor coordination around global LGBTI work. GPP is a key source of strategic research and analysis for global LGBTI funders. GPP also plays a central role in convening philanthropists and human rights activists for opportunities to increase knowledge, skills and capacity towards expanding global LGBTI funding. These convening spaces includes donor pre-conferences during regional LGBTI convenings, funder webinars, and report release events. The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice serves as host and fiscal sponsor of GPP. Established in 2009, GPP members represent many of the leading global funders for LGBTI rights, including American Jewish World Service, Arcus Foundation, Astraea Foundation, Dreilinden gGmbH, Ford Foundation, Foundation for a Just Society, Fund for Global Human Rights, Global Fund for Women, Hivos, Mama Cash, Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust, The Other Foundation, UHAI EASHRI, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, and Wellspring Advisors. For more information, see GPP’s site.
The Racial Justice Fund, housed at Astraea, 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 full measure of our progress is as much about whether culture embraces LGBTQ people as it is about the laws that guarantee equality. RJF is made up of several institutions working together to provide substantial grants and capacity-building support to groups across the U.S. South, the region of focus. In its first four years of grantmaking, RJF gave more than $3 million to groups addressing such issues as young people’s rights at school, immigrant justice, discriminatory legislation and restructuring of our criminal justice system. Please find more information on grantee partners and process at RJF’s site.
The Funding Queerly Giving Circle is a group of young donors (under 40) who came together at Resource Generation’s annual Making Money Make Change conference in 2012. In partnership with Astraea, Funding Queerly mobilizes financial resources for small LGBTQI community organizing groups across the United States to address the root causes of injustice facing LGBTQI people. Funding Queerly particularly supports the leadership and organizing by and for communities of color, indigenous communities, low-income communities, undocumented immigrants, and/or rural communities. Every year, Funding Queerly members raise funds, read applications, meet with applicants, learn about grantmaking, and collectively support small LGBTQI organizations. Please look for the open call for applications on Astraea’s site every December. For more details, see Funding Queerly’s site. The Funding Queerly Giving Circle has awarded $700,000 to date.
Astraea grantee partners work in some of the most difficult social and political contexts and require more than just money to thrive. Accompanying our grantee partners on their journeys toward social change, we work to ensure that the activists and organizations we support have what they need to build power, sustainability and resilience.

Astraea supports grantee partners to build their capacities and leadership by:

  • Providing hands-on support and advice in developing skills and strategies for advocacy, organizing, planning, evaluation, communications, and fundraising
  • Networking grantee partners across borders to forge cross-regional partnerships and develop shared agendas
  • Organizing programs like Media, Communications and Technology Labs where LGBTQI activists can share and learn secure, sustainable, and holistic media and communications strategies, strengthen digital security, build networks, and amplify their impact through the use of technology
  • Funding international convenings and providing travel support for grantee partners to participate in key movement spaces, such as the AWID Forum
  • Connecting grantee partners to allies and funders, and providing access to new spaces for advocacy, organizing, and networking
  • Offering capacity building funds to support organizational development needs and priorities
Astraea works to bring voices beyond the gay mainstream into the public eye and present a nuanced, intersectional vision of LGBTQI movements globally. Through our own media production, Astraea amplifies the voices of those least often heard and raises awareness of the most critical issues our communities face. For LGBTQI movements, the use of media, communications and technologies can be strategic and highly effective. It can enable activists to tailor messages, reach new audiences and built broader constituencies in support of human rights. However, technology also poses risks to digital and physical security. To this end we also work with our grantee partners in initiatives such as CommsLabs, supporting them to build the tools they need to tell their own stories and shape their own narratives.

Astraea CommsLabs

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is a multi-gendered, multi-racial, multi-identity organization that grew from a lesbian feminist vision. We are committed to achieving rights for all, upholding strong values such as self-determination, community empowerment, movement building, and connection across issues and generations.