Established in 2015, Borealis Philanthropy’s first-ever fund, the Emerging LGBTQ Leaders of Color (ELLC) Fund, proudly supports young trans and queer leaders of color and the organizations they lead to build inclusive, effective, and connected social justice movements. In the fall of 2023, the ELLC Fund awarded $2 million in grants to 29 leaders and organizations developing innovative and transformative approaches to organizing for queer and trans liberation, racial justice and bodily sovereignty, and other vital freedoms. 

Faced with a surge of anti-LGBTQ legislation, the reversal of Roe v Wade, and increased state-sanctioned violence—and on the verge of elections—ELLC grantee partners are creating systems to safeguard their communities while simultaneously strategizing for long-term resilience and advocating for systemic reform and liberation. A few of their efforts include,

  • The creation of a comprehensive, community-informed resource guide for healthcare practitioners and funders on how to expand abortion access across sanctuary states and to individuals in neighboring states where reproductive autonomy is criminalized.
  • Year-long organizing efforts to support the Stop Cop City movement.
  • The launch of a safety pilot initiative to provide alternatives to policing for trans folks in Atlanta.
  • The creation of policy and advocacy training offerings to expand the reach of LGBTQ movement-led initiatives in advance of the upcoming election cycle.

ELLC Fund’s latest awards also include its Young Trans Women of Color (YTWOC) Leadership grants, which invest in trans leaders who are organizing across movements and issues. Nine leaders from across the country were awarded $54,000 over two years to support their leadership development, supplement salaries, and participate in peer learning opportunities to strategize around their organizational priorities.

We are grateful to our ELLC grantees —the young, queer, and trans leaders of color who have worked on the frontlines of our movements for years, pushing us beyond single-issue and single-policy fights, toward a world where everyone has access to joy, safety, and wholeness. The grantees include:

Our Young Trans Women of Color (YTWOC) grantmaking program invests in trans leaders who are organizing across movements and issues. (Pictured: marching with Solutions Not Punishment ).
  1. A Better Chance, A Better Community
  2. Black Lives Matter Metro Phoenix
  3. Bold Futures
  4. California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
  5. Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd of TAKE Resource Center**
  6. Freedom, Inc.
  7. Gender Justice LA
  8. Jennicet Gutierrez of Familia:TQLM**
  9. Merrique Jenson of Transformation Youth Group**
  10. Taffy Johnson of United Territories of Pacific Islander Alliance**
  11. Kids Rethink
  12. Khmer Girls in Action
  13. Lavender Phoenix
  14. Mariposas Sin Fronteras
  15. Isa Noyola of Mijente**
  16. Providence Youth Student Movement
  17. Queer Crescent
  18. Nicole Santamaria of El/La Para TransLatinas**
  19. Solutions Not Punishments Collaborative (SNaP-Co) and Toni-Michelle Williams of SNaP-Co**
  20. Southeast Asian Freedom Network
  21. Southern Vision Alliance
  22. SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW
  23. Tiare Sua of Maui Aids Foundation**
  24. The Knights and Orchids Society
  25. Trans Queer Pueblo
  26. Phoebe VanCleefe of Bantu Safe Haven**
  27. Tarena Williams of Southeastern Transgender Resource Center**
  28. Aniery Zapata of Black LGBTQ Migrant Project**

In this overwhelmingly queer- and trans-antagonistic moment, funders must listen to, trust, and invest in BIPOC LGBTQ leadership—and provide long-term, stable, and flexible funding to sustain and strengthen the work of our next generation’s leaders. To learn more about partnering with Borealis Philanthropy’s Emerging LGBTQ Leaders of Color Fund, please connect with us at