The needs of New York City's LGBT community are so vast and varied, it is hard for any one person to try and support them all. Yet that is exactly what Stonewall Community Foundation
As the only public foundation focused on the needs of New York City's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, Stonewall Community Foundation (or SCF) has been raising and directing funds towards a diverse array of causes since 1990. Through philanthropic efforts like monthly giving circles and donor-advised funds, SCF awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of local organizations who each fight to bring equality to their small corner of our ever-changing community.
"New York's LGBTQ community is the largest in the country, so calling ourselves a community is easy. Functioning as one is really hard, especially when you consider that we probably have more differences than we have things in common," said Stonewall Community Foundation executive director Jarrett Lucas.
Because SCF is so knowledgeable about the needs facing the city's LGBTQ population today, it can effectively grant money from its fundraising efforts to both established causes, like homeless youth; and new grassroots campaigns, like the fight for transgender healthcare. Along the way, SCF also helps introduce the community to lifelong philanthropy, through giving circles like Stonewall Quarter Share, and trains next-generation community leaders, through programs like Out in Front.
"Gay people need to begin thinking about gay issues as community issues and become vocal in framing them as such, marriage equality included," said Lucas. "The vision Stonewall holds of a thriving LGBTQ New York is within reach, but only if philanthropy is in the hands of everyday people."
One of the places New York City's LGBTQ community has longed thrived is in the performing arts. So, in turn, the performing arts have played a significant role in shaping SCF. Lucas points to recents SCF grants for the BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance and Freedom Train Productions. And June 19, SCF will honor Marita Begley, longtime artistic director and drum major of the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps marching band, at their annual Vision Awards