The Southern Equality Fund is a project of the Campaign for Southern Equality, an advocacy organization working for full lived and legal equality for LGBTQ Southerners. The Southern Equality Fund leverages CSE's access to institutional resources by redistributing a percentage of our funding to grassroots leaders doing vital and transformative work in their communities across the South. The fund prioritizes groups and individual leaders whose access to funding and support is limited due to barriers such as not having 501c3 status, or being located in a rural area.
Through our work we have witnessed the resilience, creativity and resourcefulness of LGTBQ grassroots groups and leaders across the South. Support offered through the SEF—whether through funding, leadership support or network-building—seeks to build on existing assets in order to help grassroots groups move beyond fragility into strength and sustainability. We believe that the organizers on the front lines of the Southern LGBTQ movement can transform our region—but they need the funding and support to do so.
Too often, grassroots Southern organizers face significant structural barriers to accessing the resources and support necessary for long-term organizing—from funding to training to a network of supportive peers. dOverall the South receives less than 8% of national LGBTQ funding and the vast majority of that funding goes to established non-profit organizations in large metropolitan areas. This is especially true in small towns and rural areas, as well as for historically marginalized communities—Queer People of Color (QPOC), disabled, elderly, transgender individuals, youth and immigrants.
Through the Southern Equality Fund, we work alongside grassroots leaders to dismantle these entrenched structural barriers.
The work of the Campaign for Southern Equality is rooted and shaped by the following commitments:
- Advocating for racial, gender and economic justice in all aspects of our work;
- Uplifting the voices and leadership of Trans individuals and POC (people of color) within the LGBTQ community;
- Being responsive to immediate and urgent community needs while working toward long-term change; and
- Practicing empathy in all our interactions as we actively resist unjust laws and work to overcome discrimination
The Southern Equality Fund provides grassroots grants of up to $500 to groups and individuals across the South that are working to promote equality, safety, and/or visibility of LGBTQ people.
There’s a lot involved in grassroots organizing for LGBTQ groups in the South, so the Southern Equality Fund doesn’t just provide funding for projects – we also connect leaders with training and support.
The Trans Leadership Initiative provides expanded funding, training and support to a cohort of trans leaders from across the South.
Bringing leaders together to share skills, strategy and experience, is essential to creating lasting change. Whether it's through storytelling, supporting grassroots gatherings, or hosting an annual grantee convening, we are committed to helping grassroots leaders build the relationships they need to sustain them in their work.
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