New Equality Fund Awards Nearly $200,000 to 10 Organizations to Strengthen Local LGBTQIA+ Programming

Ten local organizations will receive a combined $199,350 from the inaugural round of funding given through the Equality Fund for LGBTQIA+. The Equality Fund was established this spring by a group of local corporations and foundations; funding decisions were made by a local committee representing the LGBTQIA+ community earlier this month.

“I can’t wait to see the difference these newly funded programs and projects will make in our region, especially for those who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. I believe this is the start of something big,” said Tom Elser, chair of the resident-led committee who made the grant decisions. “I’m especially grateful to our funders for making this moment possible and for recognizing the importance of putting the funding decisions for these grants in the hands of residents directly impacted by the work.”

The 10 organizations receiving funding are:

  • ACLU Nebraska Foundation, Inc. $40,000, An Equality Agenda for Nebraska
  • Black and Pink, Inc. $50,000, LGTBQIA+ Re-Entry Navigation
  • Charles Drew Health Center $22,000, CDHC Healthcare Equality Index Project
  • Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative (MSHRC) $40,000, LGBTQIA Capacity Building and Leadership
  • Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition, Inc. $15,000, Two Spirit: Traditional Teachings
  • Omaha Theater Company/Rose Theater $5,000, Pride Players 2018-19
  • Planned Parenthood of Nebraska $10,000, Inclusive Care
  • River City Mixed Chorus $5,000, Rhythm of Change: 35th Anniversary
  • Trans Collaborations: Advocacy Workshops for TGNC Individuals [UNK] $11,050, Advocacy Workshops for TGNC Individuals
  • Women’s Center for Advancement $1,300, Prism Support Group Marketing

The Equality Fund for LGBTQIA+ is a collaboration between the Sherwood Foundation, Mutual of Omaha, Conagra Brands Foundation, Peter Kiewit Foundation, and is administered by the Omaha Community Foundation (OCF).

After seeing a need in the community, the organizations came together to create a grant program that would specifically foster and support a respectful community for the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, intersex, and non-binary individuals and families. Forty-one organizations requested more than $1 million in funding this grant cycle.

“MSHRC is excited to work with OCF and partners to invest this award, along with the time and talent of many individuals, in the growth and development of strong leadership within the LGBTQ+ community in Omaha,” said Dr. Sofia Jawed-Wessel, co-director of MSHRC. “All of the organizations receiving funding are offering unique, impactful services to this community, and we’re excited to be a part of this first round of grantees.”

In addition to awarding the first round of funding this fall, the committee is also working with a partner organization on a strengths and needs assessment within the LGBTQIA+ community. The assessment results will be used to determine the ongoing focus areas of the Equality Fund and help guide future grant cycles.

The next Equality Fund grant cycle will open in 2019. For more information and to view eligibility requirements for the grant program please visit, https://omahafoundation.org/nonprofits/equalityfund.

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