Media release

Grants will help LGBTQ communities

Money will fund services ranging from wellness programs for the transgender community to intimate partner violence prevention.

Eight nonprofit organizations serving the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities received $53,200 in grants through the Equity Action Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation. The money will fund services ranging from wellness programs for the transgender community to intimate partner violence prevention.

“These organizations work to ensure the health, safety and fair treatment of all LGBTQ Rhode Islanders,” said Adrian Bonéy, who oversees Equity Action at the Foundation. “This important work is enhanced by strengthening alliances between nonprofits working to address the most critical needs of Rhode Island’s LGBTQ communities, including investments in health, education and the arts, as well as issues critical to young and elderly members of the community.”

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) received $10,000 to support its ongoing youth and civil rights advocacy. The work includes holding semiannual roundtables of LBGTQ advocates, providing legal support to families of LGBTQ students and strengthening the state’s protective legal framework for the LGBTQ community.

“While our outreach has increased substantially, LGBTQ families and youth still face discrimination in critical areas of their lives. We aim to ensure that Rhode Island youth and families are respected and cherished for who they are,”

- Janson Wu, Executive Director

Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island in Providence was awarded $2,500 for awareness and inclusion staff training focused on supporting the LGBTQ population at the end of life. A sister organization, Visiting Nurse of HopeHealth in Lincoln, received $1,600 for staff training.

“We will work with SAGECare to train all of our employees—approximately 300 at HopeHealth Hospice & Palliative Care and 120 at HopeHealth Visiting Nurse—in the unique needs of aging LGBTQ patients,” said Diana Franchitto, president and CEO of HopeHealth.

“A guiding philosophy of hospice is to provide holistic, person-centered care to our patients and all whom they consider family. This includes physical care and emotional and psychosocial support for dying patients, but also extensive grief support programs for their families. We offer an ongoing education program to prepare our staff and volunteers to meet the individual needs of all our patients and families and the unique challenges surrounding end of life,” she said.

New Urban Arts in Providence received $5,000 to support the Untitlement Project, which enables low-income youth to use writing and art to explore issues of identity, including gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

“Our students investigate stereotypes, media awareness, violence, anger, vulnerability, loneliness, love and relationships. The goal of the Untitlement Project, which we offer every summer, is to raise consciousness and explore inequities around privilege, power and language,”

- Daniel Schleifer, Executive Director

“They grow through deep listening, hard questions and vibrant, challenging dialogue. Notably, since we began offering this program, the number of LGBTQ students enrolling in our other programs has nearly doubled," he said.

Project Weber/RENEW in Providence was awarded $10,000 for advocacy and training as well as to connect high-risk transgender men and women with health and prevention services.

“We will use this funding to both serve individual trans clients as well as change the systems in which our trans clients exist and receive outside services. In addition to doing street outreach to ensure that people do not fall through the cracks, our trans staff members will serve on boards and committees that intersect with the work we do and the population we serve,” said Colleen Daley Ndoye, executive director.

Sojourner House in Providence received $7,500 to increase the number of young LGBTQ+ victims of intimate partner violence who are accessing and receiving services and to increase the number of community-based organizations that are more knowledgeable about and more equipped to respond to LGBTQ+ intimate partner violence.

"We are committed to working to end domestic violence in all communities. Intimate partner violence affects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer relationships with the same, if not higher, frequency as heterosexual relationships, yet the issue is seldom addressed in the community. We are grateful to receive the resources to continue this critical work," said Vanessa Volz, executive director.

Thundermist Health Center in Warwick was awarded $8,000 to support its Trans* Health and Wellness Program. The grant will enable the organization to expand its social- and community-building events to improve the physical and mental health and wellness of the trans* community.

“We are pleased to be able to expand our wellness offerings. This year we will add innovative programming such as acupuncture to our existing offerings such as yoga and swimming. We will also offer programming on major holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, to ensure that trans and non-binary people have a safe and welcoming place to be,” said Lauren Nocera, associate vice president of equity initiatives and program development.

Youth Pride received $8,600 to support its statewide Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) coalition, which helps schools build support for LGBTQQ students and eliminate homophobia and transphobia. The strategies include convening monthly meetings with youth members from GSA groups throughout Rhode Island, increasing outreach to local gay/straight alliances and offering regional programming for GSAs.

"We work with schools at the middle, high school, and college level. The GSA Coalition has been one of our most successful initiatives for engagement within Rhode Island’s school system and has opened the door for us to also conduct essential trainings for school officials. It fills a critical need in our schools,"

- Elana Rosenberg, Executive Director

The announcement comes as the Foundation launches its annual fundraising campaign for the Equity Action Fund. The public can support the fund’s work by donating online or by contacting Adrian Bonéy at aboné

The Equity Action Fund is guided by a volunteer advisory committee comprised of leaders in the LGBTQ communities. Since 2004, Equity Action has made more than $920,000 in grants to dozens of organizations.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.