Metro Weekly

Campaign for Southern Equality opens up second round of grants for LGBTQ Southerners

Regional organization will issue $125,000 in additional funding to those negatively impacted by COVID-19

campaign for southern equality

CSE organizers help potential recipients fill out the application for grants – Photo: Campaign for Southern Equality.

The Campaign for Southern Equality is now accepting applications for a second round of grants to be offered through its COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Program.

CSE plans to give out an additional $125,000 in grants through the program, which was created as a part of the organization’s Southern Equality Fund, with the intent of providing direct assistance to LGBTQ Southerners struggling with the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will bring the total amount of money offered through the program since March to $200,000.

More than $100,000 of the upcoming grant money will be earmarked for Emergency Assistance Grants, which provide $100 in immediate financial support to LGBTQ Southerners in need. That money is intended to help people buy groceries, cover rent or mortgage payments, purchase prescriptions, cover medical bills, or purchase prevention supplies.

The remainder of the money will support Community Response Grants, which provide up to $500 for community projects dedicated to providing support to the LGBTQ community amid the pandemic, and Frontline Grants to Direct Service Providers, which provide more than $500 to worthy organizations. CSE will determine worthy grantees based, in part, on their record of reaching out to vulnerable communities, particularly people of color, transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals, people with low incomes, and rural residents.

Of those who have benefitted from CSE’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Program, 60% of recipients have been people of color, and 72% were transgender or gender-nonconforming. In their applications, recipients described the hardships they were facing amid the pandemic, with many reporting that they were out-of-work gig economy or hourly workers who were considered non-essential. Other recipients described living with chronic health conditions or needing the money to fill prescriptions, including transgender individuals on hormone therapy.

“With these grants, we are moving money directly to individuals and families, because that is what people have told us will most effectively address their immediate needs,” the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, said in a statement.

This second round of grants is being made possible through financial support of community partners like We Are Family, the Amy Mandel Fund, and the Families and Workers Fund, a collaborative hat includes the Ford Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and Open Society Foundation, among others. Money for grants has also come in the form of financial support from individuals who donated to CSE in recent months.

“Right now, LGBTQ people across the South are hurting, worrying about how they’ll make it through the next month financially while also doing everything they can to remain healthy, save their jobs, and care for their loved ones,” Beach-Ferrara added. “Folks who have received grants already have let us know that these $100 emergency assistance grants not only allow them to buy food and make rent, but also let them know that there’s a community that cares about them and is ready to support them.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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