By: Andrew Wallace on December 17, 2018
December 19, 2018
As a community of funders dedicated to creating a more inclusive world for LGBTQ communities and other marginalized communities we spend much of our time focused on the challenges ahead of us. In this political moment, when the forces of hate and repression wield immense power and often dictate the news we consume and the conversations we have, it is easy to lose hope. One way to combat this malaise is to recognize the the inspiring leadership – from institutions as well as individuals – leading the path for philanthropy to be more impactful and transformational in advancing equality, social justice, and improving lives for LGBTQ people. As we end the year and look ahead to 2019, there is no better time to celebrate all that our membership has accomplished, and reflect on all that remains to be done.
We were reminded of the power of celebrating the inspiring leadership we witness in our community when we launched the Pride in Philanthropy Awards at our 35th anniversary celebration. It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect back on the incredible history of LGBTQ philanthropy and recognize some of the founders, trailblazers, and change makers that propel our work forward today. We are so excited to continue the tradition with another round of awards in 2019.
As such, we are excited to announce the recipients of the 2019 OUT for Impact Award and the The Reed Erickson Award for Trailblazing Leadership. The awards will be presented at our 9th annual Funding Forward conference in Tucson, AZ on March 21st, 2019. We hope you will join us in celebrating these amazing leaders and thanking them for inspiring us to recommit to our work in the new year.
We are pleased to recognize The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice as the 2019 recipient of the The OUT for Impact Award, for a philanthropic institution that has been a trailblazer for impactful grantmaking addressing urgent needs in LGBTQ communities and for bold strategies to advance social change.
The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, founded in 1977 by a small group of women in New York City, has grown to become a global leader advancing the rights of LGBTQI communities. As the first public LGBTQI foundation, Astraea has truly paved the way as a trailblazing institution willing to take risks, funding grassroots organizations and activists around the world fighting on the front lines for social change. Astraea started with an ambition to fill a gap in funding for progressive organizing led by lesbian women and women of color, in particular. The foundation quickly grew in scope and impact, becoming the first U.S.-based foundation to make a grant to an LGBTQI group outside the United States in 1996.
To this day Astraea continues to be a trailblazer in grantmaking for LGBTQI justice, remaining true to its founding feminist vision while evolving to imaginatively tackle the challenges of our time. Recognizing the essential connection between technology and activism, Astraea launched its CommsLabs initiative in 2014 to ensure activists can securely organize and advocate in online spaces. Responding to the lack of concerted philanthropic support for intersex communities, Astraea launched the world’s first Intersex Human Rights fund in 2015.
Throughout all of its work, Astraea prioritizes grants to groups led by lesbians and queer women, trans and gender non-conforming people, intersex people, and people of color. Astraea is consistently recognized in our own research as a top funder of some of the most pressing issues facing the LGBTQI community, including LGBTQI criminalization and criminal justice reform, immigration rights, and issues facing transgender communities and women, to name just a few. In Astraea’s 41-year history the foundation has awarded over $40 million in grants to over 1,800 grantee partners in 101 countries and 45 U.S. states.
We are pleased to recognize Cindy Rizzo as the 2019 recipient of the Reed Erickson Award for Trailblazing Leadership for a philanthropic professional who has demonstrated notable leadership for LGBTQ philanthropy.
Cindy Rizzo is the Evaluation & Strategy Senior Advisor at the Arcus Foundation in New York City and is being recognized for her decades of work in service to LGBTQ philanthropy and innumerable contributions to the broader movement for LGBTQ justice. Rizzo’s esteemed career began as an activist in Boston where she was also a writer for Gay Community News. She is a founder of GLAD (GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders) and worked as a fundraiser for the Fenway Health Center. Rizzo’s service in philanthropy began at the Boston Foundation where she served as Director of Grantmaking and oversaw funding in the areas of health and human services, homelessness prevention, LGBTQ rights, and HIV/AIDS. Upon joining Arcus in 2006 she helped build the foundation’s social justice portfolio and now oversees foundation-wide impact assessment and the development of an evaluation framework for the Social Justice Program. Additionally, Rizzo played a critical role leading the philanthropic response to the Pulse Nightclub Massacre.
Rizzo has served on numerous boards for a range of causes including SAGE, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, and Funders Concerned About AIDS, to name a few. For six years Rizzo served on the board of Funders for LGBTQ Issues, including two years as chair. While at Funders, she oversaw the development of an ambitious strategic plan to increase the scale and impact of funding for the LGBTQ community. In addition to her work within philanthropy, Rizzo is a published author of fiction and essays.
Please join us in celebrating the recipients of the 2019 Pride in Philanthropy Awards! (Click here to learn about sponsorship opportunities, or place an ad in the Funding Forward program in honor of an honoree.)
The honors will be presented at an awards ceremony to be held at the 9th annual Funding Forward conference in Tucson, AZ on March 21st, 2019. We hope to see you there!