Suicide prevention, companionship, healthier living, artistic expression and education. Those are some of the goals behind Our Fund’s donation of 78,750 in grants to 12 organizations in South Florida. Most are focused on LGBT causes but the ones that aren’t were given the money because it will be used to help LGBT individuals.
“We’re trying to make South Florida the most livable community in the country for LGBT people. We felt strongly the grant applications selected have the best chance at doing that,” said David Jobin, CEO/president of Our Fund.
Jobin said the grants, handed out twice a year, are funded by the iGive Society – individuals who donate a minimum of $1,500.
“Fifty percent of that gift supports our operations, fifty percent goes directly to our grants programs,” he said.
Mark Kent, executive director of the Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida, said the $5,000 grant his organization received will help in the search of a possible new location for performances. “We’re going to take a thoughtful look at that instead of just flying by the seat of our pants.” He estimates a decision could be reached by the end of June.
Kent said the Gay Men’s Chorus has been blessed in its relationship with Sunshine Cathedral, where its performances are currently held, but needs to expand. That could mean using Sunshine Cathedral more nights a week and/or moving to a larger facility. “We’ve got to have additional venue capacity.”
Lucy Hernandez, executive director of administration for the YES Institute, said her organization’s $7,500 grant will be used to teach “Safe to Be Me,” a suicide prevention program focused on gender and sexual orientation, in more schools in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. “Safe to Be Me” is aimed at students and teachers.
Umut Dursun, community liaison for YES Institute, says the organization works to prevent suicide and ensure the healthy development of all youth impacted by gender and orientation through education.
YES doesn’t tell students how they should feel or think about gender or sexual orientation. Instead, they ask questions and open up conversation: is anyone being bullied due to their gender expression? What are the slurs you hear in school? What would you do if your best friend came out as gay or transgender? “We’re there to let students and teachers authentically share what they do, see and hear, and support the school with education, ideas, and practices to have all students be safe,” said Dursun.
Other recipients include The Pride Center, Equality Florida, Stonewall National Museum and Archives, Latinos Salud, Humanity Project, Tuesday’s Angels, Miami Jewish Community Services, Gilda’s Club, Pet Project for Pets and South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble.
For more information about Our Fund, visit Our-Fund.org.