Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Gay & Lesbian Task Force receives $3 million gift

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According to a press release from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (, the Arcus Foundation has gifted a combined $3 million over the course of three years to the group. The gift (the largest known award in the Task Force's history) will be used to help the Task Force in its "organizing, training and capacity building". According to the release:
The contribution comes at a crucial time for the LGBT community, which is facing a tough wave of ballot initiatives, constitutional amendments and other measures seeking to deny equal rights to LGBT people and their families at the state, local and national level. Basic job discrimination laws, domestic partnership laws, civil union and marriage laws, adoption rights and family recognition are all under fire from heavily financed right-wing groups and are likely to appear on ballots in November 2006 in Arizona, California, Wisconsin, Minnesota and many other states. The award consists of a 3-year grant for 2006-2008, of which $1 million reflects an individual contribution from Jon Stryker and $2 million from the Arcus Foundation. The award will be used to train leaders, organize local communities, strengthen coalitions between LGBT and non-gay allies, build the capacity of statewide LGBT organizations and strengthen the Task Force's own capacity. "We strongly believe in the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force its talented staff, and experienced board leadership," said Arcus Foundation President Jon Stryker. "This is an urgent moment in the LGBT movement's effort to achieve full human rights and dignity — the work at the state and local level has never been more important. This is the ideal time to increase our investment in one of our community's most effective organizations, and we hope other donors will do so as well." Over the past five years, Arcus has granted more than $1.6 million to the Task Force. Support from Arcus enabled the Task Force's Organizing & Training Department to become the LGBT community's most successful and experienced corps of trainers and organizers. Since 2001, the Task Force's organizing department has grown to more than 11 full-time organizers and trainers; directly trained more than 2,000 people; worked substantially with state and local organizations in 26 states; and provided meaningful education, research, training, community organizing and leadership development to support local organizations in 22 ballot initiative campaigns, of which six out of seven were successfully contested by the LGBT movement in 2002-2003 and 13 out of 22 were successfully contested over the full 5-year period.
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