A Year of Clarity: Changes to Our Community Grants Program

Last November when I started this role, I had no idea what would be ahead for us.

During my first year, I had hoped to take the time to dive deep into our program areas—learning more about our community grants and other programs, and meeting with grantees and community partners across our region. I, like the rest of us, didn’t know how this year would unfold and that we’d be facing a global pandemic and arguably one of the most pivotal social movements in our country’s recent history.

Despite it all, I have been in awe of the collective movements across our country and the Pacific Northwest: Demands to end police brutality, anti-Blackness and racism in all of our communities and institutions. Across social media, I see friends, family, colleagues and peers of all races and social identities share their outrage and cries for systemic policy changes at the local, state, and federal level. Collective calls to defund police departments and put money into Black communities and other communities of color and to support community-led efforts for public health programs, housing, and education. 

Pride Foundation’s work has long been motivated by the fundamental belief that the humanity of every single person deserves to be recognized, protected, and valued—and all we are facing in this moment has shined a light on the deep inequities within our community. While we know all LGBTQ+ people are confronted with discrimination, LGBTQ+ Black and Indigenous and other people of color face systemic and structural racism that creates significant barriers to opportunities and resources.

This year has called Pride Foundation to get very clear about what our purpose is, who we are doing this work for, and what it will take to see equity and justice within all our communities.

As our 2020 Community Grants cycle approached, we knew that bold systematic changes needed to happen, and that meant we needed to shift our community grants process and funding priorities in ways that directly support the intersectional work happening across our LGBTQ+ communities.

Shifting our community grants to be more responsive and aligned with our racial justice values was already a part of our strategic plan, and the events of this year made it clear the time for these changes was now.

With all this in mind, we have shifted our Community Grants to prioritize funding for LGBTQ+ groups and organizations that are:

  1. Serving and led by Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) trans women and femmes, non-binary/non-conforming/gender diverse folks, immigrants, Disabled folks, and elders.
  2. Innovatively supporting communities when or where nobody else is, especially grassroots organizations in rural areas, and groups that are not necessarily LGBTQ+ focused, but that are led by queer and trans BIPOC who are leading inherently from an intersectional perspective.
  3. Smaller, grassroots, and who don’t have access to mainstream funding sources, especially organizations and groups that are focusing on issues that are impacting LGBTQ+ folks at the intersection of social identities.

We’ve also made changes to our grant process. Our application has been simplified to reduce the burden on organizations applying and to make the process easier and faster. We know that time, resources, and energy are limited, and we want to make sure that we are reducing as many unnecessary barriers to applying. We have also shortened our turnaround time from a December award announcement date to this year planning to make our Community Grants award announcement in early fall. We know, now more than ever, that it is imperative for us to get resources out to our communities in a timely and responsive manner.

The Rest of 2020 and Beyond

Moving forward, we know there will be even more change.

So far in 2020, we have intentionally focused on getting clear about our community grant priorities and shifting our process to be responsive to community needs. One of those priorities was to get resources out as quickly as possible, knowing that the realities of this moment have hit our communities hard.

Throughout the next year, we will work to develop strategies to deepen community participation throughout our granting decision-making, with the goal of inviting participants that are reflective of our community grants priority populations. We seek to ensure that our grantmaking process is one that is community-informed and collaborative.

I hope you take a moment to learn more about our Community Grants Program guidelines and FAQs. We look forward to sharing our 2020-2021 Community Grant awardees with you all this fall!


Jeremiah J. Allen is Pride Foundation’s Director of Programs.

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