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Queer Youth Fund invests $500,000

Audition-1[1] The Theater Offensive photo by Steph Hodge

Byline: Barbara Osborn

Liberty Hill Foundation is pleased to announce $500,000 in grants to LGBTQ youth. The five grants will be made through the Queer Youth Fund, one of Liberty Hill Foundation’s donor advised funds.

Five community organizations from around the country will each receive $100,000 multi-year grants to advance safety, self-determination and justice for LGBTQ youth in isolated or hostile environments.

The 2011 Queer Youth Fund grantees are Brown Boi Project (Oakland, CA); Colorado Anti-Violence Program (Denver, CO); Make the Road New York (Brooklyn, NY); The Theatre Offensive (Cambridge, MA); and Three Wings (Seattle, WA).

Brown Boi Project in Oakland is receiving support for developing the leadership of young masculine-of-center womyn and trans/straight/queer men of color. Through leadership development, political education, exposure to community organizing, life-plan skills development, and deep work on mental and physical health, the Brown Boi Project will cultivate spaces to explore and develop healthy frameworks for masculinity within the context of family, gender, race, sexual orientation, and class.

Colorado Anti Violence Program in Denver is receiving support for the Queer Youth Violence Prevention Project, which will prevent sexual and dating violence through community organizing that addresses the root causes of violence. The project builds a base of empowered, committed and skilled LGBTQ youth leaders to support violence prevention organizing efforts in Colorado and nationally, and strengthens and radicalizes the local and national LGBTQ youth-led movement for social justice by creating spaces for queer youth to inform movement priorities.

Make the Road NY in Brooklyn receives funding to launch its Safe Communities Initiative, a multi-faceted project to promote respect, opportunity and safety for LGBTQ youth of color at school, work and home. MRNY's two LGBTQ youth of color communities will lead high-impact campaigns that build on its deep community roots and a significant base of political power and experience to combat homophobia and discrimination in public schools, retail workplaces, and policing policies.

The Theater Offensive in Cambridge will undertake an expansion of True Colors: Out Youth Theater. True Colors is a youth empowerment and social activism program for youth who identify as LGBTQ. It uses theater as its vehicle for catalyzing social change. Youth write and produce plays that address issues affecting LGBTQ youth. They then tour these plays at schools, community centers, and special events throughout Massachusetts.

Three Wings in Seattle receives funding supporting cultural arts and activism, holistic wellness and collaborative education for the King County queer youth community. Three Wings will educate and train queer youth as community organizers in service of community, healing and social justice.

“Each year, I am awed by the extraordinary courage and abilities of the young people in organizations awarded Queer Youth Fund grants,” co-founder Weston Milliken says. “These young leaders are helping to advance full equality for all Americans and it is an honor to support their passion for social justice work.” 

The Queer Youth Fund was established in 2002 and has been housed since 2003 at Liberty Hill. It gives substantial multi-year grants to small youth-led organizations that promote equality and justice for lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and questioning youth (LGBTQ) under 24. So far, more than $3.5 million has been awarded to groups in 21 states and Canada. Each grant is $100,000 and paid out over three to five years.

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