Yesterday, The DC Center for the LGBT Community, the Center for Black Equity, Casa Ruby, SMYAL, Us Helping Us, HIPS, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) expressed their deep disappointment that not a single local LGBT organization received funding under the City Fund, a $15 million fund proposed by District Mayor Vincent C. Gray and supported unanimously by the DC Council, out of 58 organizations selected in the first round.
Currently, very few services specifically targeted to the LGBT community are publicly funded in Washington, D.C. This lack of targeted funding is particularly problematic as the LGBT community is dealing with a variety of challenges around HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and stigma; youth homelessness; healthcare access – including mental health services; disproportionate levels of anxiety, depression and substance abuse; and high levels of unemployment in the transgender community.
“We are extremely disappointed. From HRC’s anti-bullying initiatives to the DC Center’s work with mental health disparities, there is so much great work comprised in all of these grants that we wrote,” says Michael Fowler, Chairman of the Board of The DC Center. “We’d like to see a dedicated stream of funding for the LGBT community. We can’t fall through the cracks, and we can’t stand for it when we do fall through the cracks.”
The joint organizations are hopeful that the Community Foundation will take a hard look at this issue, and urge the Foundation to learn more about the needs of the LGBT community. All organizations agree that a dedicated public funding stream needs to be made available for programs and services for the LGBT community.
On April 16, The Community Foundation officially announced the 58 non-profit organizations that will receive the first round of City Fund’s grant awards. Some of these recipients include AARP Experience Corps DC, Christ House, DC Jazz Festival, National Building Museum, and The Shakespeare Theatre. For a full list of all City Fund grant recipients, visit http://thecityfund.org/.