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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 28, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 52
New funding announced to address poverty in LGBT community
Section One
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New funding announced to address poverty in LGBT community

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Pride Foundation has been awarded a grant of $400,000 over four years by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The foundation will re-grant the funds through a special Request for Proposals (RFP) process to nonprofit organizations that propose innovative approaches to addressing poverty in the LGBTQ community in Washington state and Portland, Oregon, with particular emphasis on proposals and partnerships that focus on homeless LGBTQ youth, according to Philip Wong, communications director for Pride Foundation.

'LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented among homeless youth, and may make up as much as 50 percent of the total homeless youth populations in Portland and Seattle on any given night,' said Kris Hermanns, Pride Foundation's executive director.

'These youth are more likely to come from low-income backgrounds and are at high risk of serious educational, health, and employment setbacks, as well as justice system engagement. All this can have a significant impact on their economic futures and overall ability to be safe and thrive,' added Hermanns.

Pride Foundation is a donor-supported LGBTQ community foundation serving the U.S. Northwest.

According to Wong, the other re-granting partners are Blue Mountain Community Foundation, Community Foundation of North Central Washington, Greater Everett Community Foundation, The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties, and United Way of Snohomish County.

WHY ARE YOUTH HOMELESS?
'Poverty in the LGBTQ community is a complex, multifaceted issue on which accurate state and local data can be hard to find,' Wong said in a media release. 'Sexual orientation and gender identity are not uniformly collected in standard data sets, and reluctance to self-identify may hamper accuracy where data is collected.'

Various data sources over time have found that 20% to 40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and service providers over the past decade increasingly recognize that they are serving LGBTQ youth, said Pride Foundation officials.

The most recent survey of service providers identified the following as the top five reasons that LGBTQ youth are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:

o Running away because of family rejection based on sexual orientation or gender identity (46%),

o Forced out by parents because of sexual orientation or gender identity (43%),

o Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse at home (32%),

o Aged out of the foster care system (17%), or

o Financial or emotional neglect from family (14%).

In the last decade, the Gates Foundation has selected local community foundations to lead local re-granting initiatives through its Building Community Philanthropy program, leveraging the expertise of local community foundations to achieve immediate and long-term solutions to social problems.

WATERING THE GRASSROOTS
'The Gates Foundation has a longstanding commitment to supporting community philanthropy,' said David Bley, the Gates Foundation's director of the Pacific Northwest program. 'These organizations have established networks of nonprofits that serve families and children quickly and efficiently. Local partners know their community needs.'

In all, seven community philanthropic partners in the Northwest have been granted $2.5 million to support reducing intergenerational poverty. Local partners are distributing the grants through community-defined strategies, including education supports for children and youth, assistance in reaching self-sufficiency for families, and other strategies that build stronger communities.

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