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LGBTQ youth programs to benefit from $500,000 grant

LOS ANGELES -- Liberty Hill Foundation has selected five programs across the nation that serve LGBTQ youth to receive grants out of a $500,000 fund. The donor-initiated fund was established to advance safety, empowerment and justice for LGBTQ youth.

Founded in 2002, the Queer Youth Fund has been housed since 2003 at Liberty Hill, one of the nation’s leading social justice foundations. It gives substantial multi-year grants to small youth-led organizations that promote equality and justice for LGBTQ youth younger than 24. So far, $4.4 million has been awarded to groups in 21 states and Canada. Each grant is $100,000 and paid out over three to five years.

Unusual for a grants process, the Queer Youth Fund is a collaboration between the donors and an equal number of community activists who perform the site visits. All of them as well as a foundation representative have full voice and vote in the granting process.

This has created a vibrant and thoughtful process ensuring a high-quality decision is made. The funders are Ralph Alpert, the Johnson Family Foundation, Weston Milliken, The Palette Fund and the Threshold Foundation.

2011-12 Queer Youth Fund grantees

Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San Francisco receives $100,000 over three years to coordinate program activities for gender variant, transgender and questioning youth. The Center will focus on empowerment, community building, leadership development and inclusiveness. Youth leaders will implement a mentorship program and leadership academy for this at-risk population and promote social justice involvement.

The Gay & Lesbian Community Services Center of Orange County receives $100,000 over three years for its Youth Empowered To Act (YETA) program that focuses on social change through leadership development, community organizing, advocacy and activism. It will expand its after-school drop-in program and support the development of youth leadership programs including an Orange County GSA Hub.

Idaho Human Rights Education Center receives $100,000 over four years to promote school safety for Idaho’s LGBTQ youth and their allies. Programs will include youth leadership development, creating a network of Gay Straight Alliances, holding regional youth-led conferences to eliminate anti-LGBTQ bias in schools, developing curricula and training teachers. Furthermore, the center will create and publish an Idaho School Climate Report to influence policy makers.

Life Foundation of Hawaii receives $100,000 over three years to hire a part-time coordinator for its GSA Hawaii project. The coordinator will be responsible for organizing the activities, programs and projects of GSA Hawaii.

Out Now of Springfield, Mass., receives $100,000 over three years to support youth leadership in the QuEST project. The project includes leadership training for youth organizers, building grassroots power among LGBTQ youth, and organizing efforts to stop individual and systemic homophobia and racism in Springfield.

“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 said. “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.”

A list of Queer Youth Fund grantees can be found online. Additional information about the Queer Youth Fund is also available on Facebook.