Grants & Scholarships

Celebrating 15 years of Equity Action grantmaking

New Urban Arts and SAGE-RI are two of the 54 organizations that have shared a total of nearly $1 million in grants from our Equity Action Fund in its first 15 years of grantmaking.

”Through the program, I became more aware of the gay community. It opened my eyes that everything isn’t black and white. You can be both masculine and feminine at the same time.”

- Axel Lozada, an alumnus of the Untitlement Project, a New Urban Arts program through which high school youth “explore relationships, identity, stereotypes, gender, and body image through creative writing and conversation”

“As the number of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) older adults increases, there is a growing need for improving quality of health care to this largely invisible, vulnerable population. We’re training staff from long term care, acute care, and community agencies to educate them on how to best deliver culturally sensitive and competent care to LGBT older adults.”

- Catherine Gorman, steering committee chair, SAGE-RI – Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Elders

New Urban Arts and SAGE-RI are two of the 54 organizations that have shared a total of nearly $1 million in grants from our Equity Action Fund in its first 15 years of grantmaking. Each of the grantee organizations is working to create a better quality of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals. While many of the 153 grants were awarded to LGBTQ-focused organizations like SAGE-RI, others were granted to organizations such as New Urban Arts which have LGBTQ-related programs or initiatives.

“The Untitlement Project is one element in a portfolio of strategies to ensure that New Urban Arts (NUA) is a safe environment for our LGBTQ youth and that they and non-LGBTQ students feel empowered to confront homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism,” explains NUA Executive Director Daniel Schleifer.

Untitlement Alumna Sierra Clayton shares, “I loved that there was always a writing and critical thinking component to the sessions. We had lots of good discussions and, while we didn’t always agree, we did respect other people’s opinions. The word Untitlement is what the program is all about...a sense of undoing what you know and how you learn.”

A graduate of Classical High School, Sierra returned to New Urban Arts as a summer program assistant after graduating from the University of Rhode Island in 2019 with a degree in writing and rhetoric. She also has served NUA as a creative writing mentor.

George Dauda, an Untitlement alumnus and Classical graduate and now a Rhode Island College student studying youth development, says, “The program helped me learn how to have opposing views in my head at the same time. Having a program like this was invaluable to me; it really changed my thinking.”

Catherine Gorman
Catherine Gorman, steering committee chair, SAGE-RI

Youth aren’t the only ones benefitting from Equity Action’s 15 years of grantmaking. SAGE-RI’s Cathy Gorman explains that the organization “provides a platform for dealing with LGBT elder issues.” SAGE-RI is an intergenerational, volunteer organization dedicated to empowering LGBT elders through education, service, and advocacy. With partners, SAGE-RI fosters understanding of aging in all communities and promotes positive images of LGBT life in later years. SAGE-RI is a sponsor of the LGBT Café, a nutrition meal site, and hosts SAGE/Table intergenerational dinners and other events to help strengthen community ties. Equity Action has supported it through the years, including with the Meet the Elder Neighbors survey, an Elder Summit, and its education and training for healthcare and social service providers.

SAGE-RI Steering Committee
Members of the SAGE-RI steering committee discuss how to improve the quality of care for LGBT older adults.

“We’ve gotten many requests from providers in the community who want to know how to better serve LGBT elders, so now are developing a curriculum for healthcare staff education. We’re hoping to bring people together who will then share information they’ve learned with others in their facilities,” states Dr. Patricia Burbank, a member of the SAGE-RI steering committee and professor at the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing.

“The overall goal of this project is to improve the quality of care for LGBT older adults in the health system in Rhode Island. We know there’s a terrific need for this,” Cathy concludes.

The organizations supported by Equity Action work to ensure the health, safety, and fair treatment of all LGBTQ Rhode islanders. This important work benefits members of the LGBTQ community, from the young to the elderly and everyone in-between.