The Transforming Movements Fund Invests in U.S. South in Latest Round of Grantmaking

May 16, 2019

The Transforming Movements Fund’s (TMF) latest round of grantmaking focuses on supporting queer organizing in a region often under-resourced by philanthropy—the U.S. South.

This spring, the Fund awarded $421,000 in grants to seven organizations, including support for four young, trans women of color leaders.

Organizers in the South are facing an onslaught of threats–most recently, the laws attacking reproductive healthcare access in Georgia and Alabama. In the face of these conditions, the TMF is prioritizing deep investment in advocates on the ground who deeply understand what is at stake, how to win lasting victories, and who are strategizing to support vulnerable communities, including queer and trans people of color, who will be most impacted.

Southern Vision Alliance, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, and Women With A Vision, based in North Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana respectively, received renewal grants from TMF, which include support for general operating, leadership development, and organizational development. Both SPARK and Women With a Vision continue to advocate for and contribute to the passage of reproductive justice legislation, while Southern Vision Alliance is organizing to pass school policies that protect immigrant youth and families from harassment and deportation.

“The vibrant culture and organizing led by LGBTQ people in the South defies popular notions of LGBTQ communities thriving solely in coastal cities.  Such ideas have contributed to philanthropic under-investment in the region,” said Luna Yasui, Senior Program Officer for Civic Engagement and Government at the Ford Foundation. “Despite limited resources, young, queer organizers based in the South lead visionary and effective organizing. The Transforming Movements Fund offers funders an important means to support such leaders that will help them continue to make an outsized impact.”

According to Funders for LGBTQ Issues, 1 in 3 LGBT adults live in the South, and the region is “home to more LGBT adults than any other region in the country.” However, only 8% of domestic LGBT funding each year goes towards the South.

Through its Young Trans Women of Color (YTWOC) grantmaking program, the TMF addresses another funding gap in philanthropy: the lack of resources supporting women of color leaders who are organizing on trans issues. In April, the TMF awarded $136,000 to four YTWOC grant recipients.

“The support of the Young Trans Women of Color grant has created the space for me to have more of a voice and a platform. I’ve been able to take on a management position at my organization and be better recognized for the work I do in my community on housing, mental health, and incarceration issues,” said Cathy Kapua, a YTWOC grantee who is the Transgender Service Coordinator at Hawai’I Health & Harm Reduction Center. “Before this support, I was burning out, underpaid for my work, and knowing my people need more. YTWOC support has helped free up space for me to take care of myself and to actually plan out how I want to grow in my leadership.”

About the TMF’s renewal grantees:

Southern Vision Alliance: The Southern Vision Alliance (SVA) is a grassroots intermediary organized for the charitable and educational purposes of providing infrastructure, capacity-building, and assistance to youth-centered organizations and programs. SVA supports leadership development and base-building work for social, racial, and environmental justice, along with gender equity, LGBTQ rights, and education justice in the US South.

SPARK Reproductive Justice Now: SPARK Reproductive Justice Now seeks to build new leadership, change culture, and advance knowledge in Georgia and the South to ensure individuals and communities have resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about our bodies, gender, sexualities, and lives.

Women With a Vision: The mission of Women With A Vision is to improve the lives of marginalized women, their families, and communities by addressing the social conditions that hinder their health and well-being. We accomplish this through relentless advocacy, health education, supportive services, and community-based participatory research.

Learn more about the Young Trans Women of Color Leadership grantees:

  • Cathy Kapua (Hawai’i Health & Harm Reduction Center)
  • Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd (Trans United)
  • Toi Washington (TAKE)
  • Monserrat Padilla (Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network)

The TMF is a donor collaborative housed at Borealis Philanthropy which invests in organizing led by young, LGBTQ people who work across issue areas and build inclusive movements. Current TMF donors are the Arcus Foundation, Cricket Island Foundation, Ford Foundation, Foundation for a Just Society, The Overbrook Foundation, and Anonymous Donors.