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LGBT Community Fund grants support collaborations in health, housing services
From a The Chicago Community Trust press release
2016-03-31

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The LGBT Community Fund at The Chicago Community Trust is pleased to announce three Transformational Grants, supporting projects to significantly advance Chicago's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community towards a better quality of life. Each project selected for support represents a collaboration of two organizations dedicated to meeting health and human services needs for LGBT individuals in the Chicago region. The LGBT Fund will award $350,000 in this Transformational Grant Round.

"The LGBT Community Fund is proud to support change agents making profound improvements to the quality of life for members of the LGBT community," says Fund co-chair Denise C. Foy. "By investing in innovative, replicable projects that reach traditionally underserved populations within our community, we hope to achieve a truly transformational impact."

The following transformational collaborative projects will receive funding:

- Howard Brown Health Center and Advocate IL Masonic Medical Center

To develop the nation's first LGBTQ-specific assault survivor advocacy and assault prevention program.

The Survivor Advocate Program combines complementary resources from both organizations to create a safe, culturally competent environment of care for LGBTQ individuals, who are disproportionately at risk for sexual assault and intimate partner violence. The program will equip community members with the tools to prevent assaults; with trauma care in non-emergency room settings that are less costly and better suited to their unique needs; and with personal advocates for their rights as patients. Combining health care, education, and policy advocacy, this initiative has the potential for replication in community health centers across the country.

- Chicago House and Sarah's Circle

To strengthen the safety net for transgender individuals living in poverty by providing expanded drop-in support services and interim housing.

Chicago House and Sarah's Circle will strengthen the safety net of services for members of a highly vulnerable population, which includes transgender women living in extreme poverty, living with HIV/AIDS, and facing unemployment and homelessness. Through this grant, Chicago House—a human services agency serving individuals and families disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity—will hire a full-time coordinator to coordinate its drop-in centers in Lakeview and Hyde Park, providing support services for transgender individuals. Sarah's Circle, which has served women who are homeless or in need of a safe space for 35 years, will support the continuum of care by reserving four beds of interim housing for transgender women at its Uptown residence. In addition, this unique collaboration will define a "trans-friendly" model for other area shelters to access.

- AIDS Foundation of Chicago and University of Chicago

To expand the PrEPLine, a phone hotline providing information, counseling and connections to health care providers for PrEP.

Established in 2015 as a pilot project, the PrEPline works to combat HIV transmission by providing individualized education about the benefits and availability of PrEP ( pre-exposure prophylaxis ). Targeting historically underserved LGBT individuals in higher-risk communities on Chicago's south and west sides, the hotline also works to expand access to health care through multiple community-based providers, and to expand information about insurance options. This grant will support additional training for Hotline staff, a Project Director, Coordinator and Clinician as well as upgrades to technology, and expanding capacity and reach.

The LGBT Community Fund, a donor advised fund at The Chicago Community Trust, was established in 2010 to create strategic change for the LGBT community by promoting effective philanthropy. Unlike traditional fundraising campaigns, The LGBT Community Fund is using a one-of-a-kind venture capital fundraising model. While the volunteer Steering Committee of the Fund continues to fundraise, this model provides distribution today of the dollars to worthy organizations providing important services to the LGBT community.

A Community Needs Assessment in 2011 helped the Fund identify assets, needs and challenges within the region's LGBT community. Based on that research, the Fund's grant making focuses on strengthening services in four priority areas of need: young adults age 24 and under; older adults age 55 and over; general healthcare; and community safety.

Transformational Grants were designed to achieve significant benefits on behalf of underserved communities. In order to make the most innovative and impactful use of deep local expertise about community needs, the Fund chose to seek out and support projects that are collaborative: reflecting a meaningful partnership between two or more complementary organizations throughout the planning, implementation, evaluation and communication stages.

This marks the second of three giving cycles, which will infuse $1 million into the Chicago region's diverse LGBT community: the Fund's inaugural grant cycle in October 2015; this second round of Transformational Grants; and a third cycle of grant making in 2016.


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