Millions have been raised for the victims of June’s Pulse nightclub shooting. Now, Our Fund has been chosen to manage $1.5 million for non-profit organizations in Orlando and Central Florida.

“Following the Pulse shooting, there was very quickly $7 million really crucial money donated. But the non-profit sector had no resources devoted to it,” said David Jobin, president and CEO of Our Fund. Founded in 2010 and based in Wilton Manors, Our Fund was established to help tap into the wealth of the LGBT community and manage donations to the LGBT community.

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The purpose of the $1.5 million CONTIGO Fund is to honor the lives of those who were murdered, recognize and address the fact that the LGBT Latino community and the LGBT community at large faces hatred and discrimination, and to build bridges to raise awareness about “homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry that divide our communities rather than bring them together.”

Contigo means “with you” in Spanish. The Latino focus stems from the fact that most of the victims were Hispanic and the shooting occurred on Latin Night. “Nearly half of the Pulse victims were Puerto Rican. Many more were Cuban, Dominican, Ecuadorian, Mexican, Salvadoran, Venezuelan, and from other Latinx and African diaspora. Some were undocumented. Over half were under 30, with the youngest victim being just 18 years old,” said Marco Antonio Quiroga, program director for the CONTIGO Fund.

“Following the Pulse shooting, there was very quickly $7 million really crucial money donated. But the non-profit sector had no resources devoted to it.” — David Jobin

Jobin said CONTIGO has a three to five-year lifespan and Quiroga was hired to be “on the ground” in Orlando. In addition to helping Orlando, Jobin also hopes the fund leads to partnerships between Our Fund and some Orlando organizations.

The focus right now is find a group of individuals who will help create an application process and determine how the funds will be distributed. That group will be 100 percent from the Orlando area, over 50 percent LGBT and at least 25 percent won’t be formally affiliated with a local non-profit. “We want them as rooted to the community that was affected as possible so we can have that perspective of what that community needs. This will be driven and led by that community,” said Quiroga.

The goal is to have the application process completed by October and the first funds distributed in December. It will be Quiroga’s job to help organizations with the application process. For many organizations that apply, Jobin expects it to be their first time requesting grants.

The $1.5 million came from several organizations: Arcus Foundation, Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.

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