NEW YORK Today, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice announces "Fueling the Frontlines," a comprehensive three-year, $20 million campaign for global LGBTQI rights. The campaign will continue Astraea's long tradition of funding cutting-edge LGBTQI-focused organizations through supporting activism, education and philanthropy.
A significant component in Astraea Foundation's efforts is the Global LGBTI Human Rights Partnership, a partnership between Astraea and the U.S. Agency for International Development ( USAID ). This $3.9 million commitment represents the largest singular investment by the U.S. government to increase human rights, accountability, and protections to LGBTI individuals worldwide. More broadly, more than $6 million has already been committed in the silent phase of the campaign.
The $20 million investment will fund three critical and interconnected strategies to create change:
Build a global LGBTQI movement by funding powerful grassroots organizations and activists working in some of the most challenging environments on the planet. This funding will focus on groups with access to the fewest financial resources, such as lesbian of color organizations, groups run by/for trans* and intersex activists of color, and organizations based in rural or isolated areas.
Expanding philanthropic resources available to LGBTQI organizations internationally to help end the inequities in fundraising faced by these groups, reverse the downward trend in operating support for these organizations, and create a pool of capital for building technological, financial and physical infrastructure.
Shift discriminatory attitudes and behaviors through media and communications work. Astraea will dedicate resources to groups working to spark a global conversation that will shift cultural and societal attitudes to eliminate barriers to LGBTQI equality. This will include convening activists with technology and media experts in a series of regional communications labs to assess activists' needs and develop media tools for advocacy.
Efforts will concentrate in six key regions: Latin America, North America, Africa, China, India and the Balkans. Astraea's activist grantee partners in these regions are moving the needle forward, already seeding significant political and social change.
"We're fueling a global movement. In Ecuador, we're shutting down lesbian torture clinics. In India, we're fighting colonial laws that recriminalize same-sex relations. In the U.S., we are ensuring healthcare access for trans* people. In South Africa, we're exposing police tactics to prevent violence," said J. Bob Alotta, executive director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. "A growing epidemic of extreme violence and extreme rights violations clearly shows the desperate need for this type of on-the-ground investment."
"Fueling the Frontlines" will address this growing epidemic by propelling the work and priorities of LGBTQI organizations and forging coalitions across issues and borders to end the marginalization and persecution faced by LGBTQI people.
For more than 35 years, the Astraea Foundation has cultivated LGBTQI activists for human rights and social change around the globe, and fueled change as one of the top LGBTQI grantmakers in the United States, Global South and East. Astraea has supported the work of groups and individuals in more than 81 countries through its grant giving.
"Right now is a critical moment in the movement for LGBTQI rights. Even as we see some of our greatest wins, we're also faced with some of our greatest setbacks, like the ongoing oppression in Uganda, Nigeria and Russia," Alotta said. "It's time to end these onerous attacks on our rights and lives by pushing harder than ever to ensure LGBTQI people are free from violence, have equal access to much needed services and can live our lives with freedom and dignity."
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. We support brilliant and brave grantee partners in the U.S. and internationally who challenge oppression and seed social change. We work for racial, economic, social, and gender justice, because we all deserve to live our lives freely, without fear, and with dignity.