$300,000 in three grants to NYC LGBT Center, Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Campaign for Southern Equality


NEW YORK — The Rockefeller Foundation announced today that it will be making grants of $100,000 each to the New York City LGBT Community Center, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Campaign for Southern Equality. The organizations will use the funds at their discretion to provide a variety of legal, advocacy, and social services to the LGBTQ community as they respond to an environment of increased violence, hostility and prejudice.

“As we mark Pride Month and at this time of heightened risk and fear for LGBTQI people, we at The Rockefeller Foundation believe it is vital for philanthropy to stand with – and financially support – organizations that are working to defend and assist the LGBTQI community,” said Rockefeller Foundation Vice President, Global Communications Neill Coleman. “We are making these grants to affirm our values of diversity and respect for all, with a particular focus on fostering spaces to organize and supporting communities most impacted by violence, prejudice, and discrimination, including the transgender and gender non-conforming community, LGBTQI people of color, and LGBTQI residents in southern states.”

The New York City LGBT Community Center empowers people to lead healthy, successful lives. The Center celebrates diversity and advocates for justice and opportunity.  The Rockefeller Foundation’s $100,000 grant to the New York City LGBT Community Center will address the skyrocketing demand for Center services at a time when for the LGBT community, the heated rhetoric of a presidential campaign and election is being matched with increased physical threats; hostile policy changes; and a renewed assault on LGBT people’s dignity, health and right to pursue lives free from discrimination with equal access and opportunity.  The Rockefeller Foundation grant will help ensure and enable The Center to address advocacy and mobilization efforts in the wake of increased political attacks against the LGBT community.

“In the six months following the Presidential election, The Center saw a 30% increase in demand for services from our most vulnerable community members, particularly LGBTQ youth of color, seniors fearful of losing their health care coverage, immigrants gripped by fears of deportation and transgender individuals facing daily threats against their lives,” said Glennda Testone, Executive Director of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. “We had to act quickly to respond to the alarming threats our community faces, and the generous funding from The Rockefeller Foundation is instrumental in establishing an advocacy program to inform and mobilize the LGBTQ community to protect our rights and advance in the fight for equality.” 

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence.  The Rockefeller Foundation’s $100,000 grant to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) will support SRLP’s advocacy, public education, and coalitional work to improve access to gender-affirming healthcare and identity documents and increase safety and security for the most marginalized transgender communities while growing the skills, leadership, and political power of trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex people. SRLP will increase access to gender-affirming healthcare for transgender New Yorkers; increase safety, security, and the ability to self-advocate for their rights for TGNCI immigrants, prisoners, and students; and increase access to safe and affirming legal and social services for trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex people.

Juana Paola Peralta, Director of Outreach & Community Engagement at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project said, “In this hostile climate, where racist, transphobic, anti-immigrant, and anti-black rhetoric continues to place those most marginalized by intersecting systems of oppression at the greatest risk of harm and violence, it is a crucial moment for the Sylvia Rivera Law Project to increase our efforts to ensure that our community is aware of their rights and is able to advocate for themselves and to continue to resist. We commend Rockefeller Foundation for standing in solidarity with LGBTQIA communities, especially trans and gender non-conforming people and people living in the south. We are excited to partner with RF to resource our communities and are honored by the show of support.”

The Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) is based in Western North Carolina and works across the South to promote full LGBTQ equality – both legal and lived. The Rockefeller Foundation’s $100,000 grant to the Campaign for Southern Equality, will be used to fund a rapid response initiative following the 2016 elections. This effort includes legal and safety clinics throughout the South, as well as civil rights litigation. The funding will also allow CSE to increase the size and reach of its small, community-based grants program (“The Southern Equality Fund”), which builds the capacity of local LGBTQ leaders and helps them respond to the highest priority threats facing their communities. CSE will also pilot new ways to connect vulnerable LGBTQ Southerners to services.

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, said “This support from the Rockefeller Foundation comes at such a critical time for LGBTQ Southerners, as our community contends with new anti-LGBTQ legislation and threats. The grant will allow CSE to be nimble in responding to emerging needs and organizing in our new political climate.”

About The Rockefeller Foundation

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot—or will not. To learn more, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.

Media Contact:

Neill Coleman, The Rockefeller Foundation, (212) 852-8340, ncoleman@rockfound.org