The newly created LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi raises money and awards grants to organizations providing needed services to Mississippi’s LGBTQ citizens. The Fund’s investments are focused on ensuring that all LGBTQ Mississippians can live safely and openly, without alienation, isolation, prejudice and/or discrimination.
$50,000 has been received from Out in the South as a contribution to the first round of grants, but there is a 1-to-1 match requirement attached to the Out in the South grant. That means we must raise $50,000 locally in order to meet the requirements of the grant. A founding donor and other individual contributors, including the first grant to be awarded from the Stonewall Gives Back Initiative have contributed toward raising the required match, but more support is needed.
The initial fundraising goal, including the Out in the South grant noted above, is $100,000. Once this threshold is met the first round of grants will be made from the Fund. Reaching the first goal of $100,000 will also trigger two other major actions: (1) a public launch of the Fund, involving media, special events, and celebrations; and, (2) an endowment fund at The Community Foundation for Mississippi that will receive 10% of all future contributions, with 90% going directly into the grant-making funds. This action will ensure long-term sustainability and grant-making capability for the Fund.
A statewide LGBTQ needs assessment has been completed by a team of doctoral students at Mississippi State University. This assessment, sanctioned by the Institutional Review Board at Mississippi State, provides the most comprehensive information about Mississippi’s LGBTQ population that has ever been assembled. The Needs Assessment report is available at: www.mslgbtq.com.
Direct participants’ quotes from the needs assessment are real and gut-wrenching:
“We are scared” ~ “We need saving” ~ “The state is frightening and violent”
“Living here keeps you in a constant state of paranoia about who might know what.”