Transcending Borders; Building Futures

Transcending Borders; Building Futures

2018 Annual Report


J. Bob Alotta

J. Bob Alotta
Executive Director

Astraea exists to resource and sustain liberation; to shift power and build momentum for our movements. We do so by raising money and investing in brilliant, powerful, dynamic grassroots LGBTQI change-makers, communities, activists, and artists. In 2018, we made 256 grants totaling $4.6 million to organizations in 69 countries and 21 U.S. states.

This year, we challenged ourselves to consider what we are fighting for, not just what we are fighting against. We turned toward the innovative, collaborative possibilities that this contentious political moment actually offers us. We accompanied our movements beyond funding; in addition to making grants, we strategically invested in LGBTQI movement building, supporting activists by co-creating collective spaces to heal, learn, and grow. We lifted up grassroots organizing, prioritizing the holistic safety and healing of activist communities around the world. We connected beyond oppressive structures to harness the power of ancient and new technologies, online and offline, providing solidarity in critical times.

We reached across the world, across both physical and imagined borders intended to separate us, and instead opted to create sustainable ecosystems of resistance and power. We acted transformatively and together. We acted to build towards joy. Acted to transform technology and revive collective and ancestral wisdoms. We acted to shift power toward feminist futures and decolonize knowledge to harness the power within our movements.

Astraea has always been committed to a feminism that is intersectional, intergenerational, and intentional with racial, gender, and economic justice at its core. This year we continued to fire up philanthropy - uplifting queer, Black, migrant, and People of Color communities, and advocating for more resources to support LGBTQI grassroots activists and movements.

Together, we are transcending nation-states, gender binaries, and racial segregation; transcending socio-economic status and traditional notions of family; transcending bathroom bills and healthcare for the privileged; transcending colonial laws, language, and ideals.

Welcome to this year in review, where we share highlights from Astraea and some of our grantee partners. Read about how together, we are creating the future we believe is possible and necessary for our communities to thrive. A joyful future where we transcend barriers and secure liberation for us all.


Our Funds

Astraea supports LGBTQI groups that promote racial, economic, and gender justice, including groups led by and for trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming people, lesbians, bisexual, and queer women, as well as artists and cultural changemakers. Our grantmaking prioritizes support for those with limited access to traditional funding, and who are best placed to make change. We strengthen LGBTQI groups by providing flexible general support grants ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 per year.

U.S. Fund

The U.S. Fund is Astraea’s longest-standing fund. We have been funding at the intersections of racial, gender, economic, migrant justice, and reproductive justice movements - centering the leadership of queer, trans, and gender non-conforming People of Color in the U.S. for over 40 years. Over the last year, we awarded over $2.1 million in grants, to 59 organizations in 21 states, with 99% of this funding going to LGBTQI Black and People of Color-led groups.

International Fund

Astraea’s International Fund has existed for over 20 years and has worked with organizations in 99 countries during that time. The fund supports groups led by LGBTQI communities - prioritizing LBTQI-led organizing in particular - working for progressive social change. This year, we awarded over $2.2 million in grants, to 102 organizations in nearly 50 countries. Our international grantee partners are responding to closing civil society spaces, combatting backlash and violence from conservative forces, engaging in new forms of movement building across national and regional borders, and building capacity around physical and digital security.

Global Arts Fund

Astraea’s Global Arts Fund is a biennial fund which supports, showcases and connects impactful art by LGBTQI people and organizations that are using art as a tool for social transformation yet have limited access to resources for this critical work. In our 41-year history we have granted over $4 million to more than 200 individuals and 300 organizations, supporting artists like Audre Lorde and Cheryl Clark, and new honorees such as singer-songwriter Be Steadwell and the arts collective East African Visual Artists.

Intersex Human Rights Fund

Astraea’s Intersex Human Rights Fund is the first dedicated intersex fund in the world, and since its creation in 2015, the fund has leveraged nearly $2 million in new funding for the global intersex community. Our latest cycle of grants was also our largest, totaling $275,000 in 41 grants to 37 powerful intersex-led organizations and projects in 33 countries. Our grantee partners use advocacy, policy, and cultural change strategies to work towards ensuring the human rights, bodily autonomy, physical integrity, and self-determination of intersex people around the world.

Fertile Ground Fund

Launched in 2018, the Fertile Ground Fund is a flexible funding source that provides resources based on the shifting needs and desires of Astraea’s grantee partners, allowing them to be more nimble and responsive. It supports activists to seize opportunities to seed and grow movement visions, ensuring organizations can prioritize collective liberation and sustainability towards building long-term movements. This year, Astraea’s Fertile Ground Fund granted a total of $110,000 to 15 grantee partners for projects aiming to intervene against the violence of policing, deepen cross movement-collaboration to combat state criminalization efforts, and invest in resiliency strategies for sustainability.