The Fund is supported by the annual block Parties and High Heel Dash.

Turning Fun Into Funds

Boston Pride Community Fund Gives
Unprecedented $43,000 in Grants in 2019

With the dissolution of the Boston Gay Rights Fund (BGRF) in June 2012, many small non-profit organizations and grassroots groups in our community lost funding critical to their mission. According to the Charity Navigator’s 2017 Metro Market Study, the Greater Boston area hosts over 265 associations, foundations, and institutions that disburse grants to other organizations. Add to this list the over 100 companies recognized by the Boston Business Journal in 2018 for being the most charitable Corporate Citizens in the region, and it becomes undeniable that a wealth of sponsorship funding and foundation grants is available. However, few are dedicated to supporting queer communities, and those that tend to be seized by established, mature, and large not-for-profit entities. The disappearance of the BGRF therefore left a gaping hole for focused, on-the-ground, up-and-coming endeavors.

Boston Pride has sought to close that gap by formalizing its annual giving to various community groups into a full program, with dedicated goals, resources, and oversight. Thus was born in 2015 the Boston Pride Community Fund, to provide small grants of up to $2,000 per year to local queer groups and organizations. From its inaugural cycle in 2016, the Fund is supported by a five-dollar allotment out of every door donation at the Back Bay and JP Block Parties (see respectively page 70 and 74), by the proceeds of the High Heel Dash for Charity (see page 34), and by 10 percent of all corporate sponsorship revenue that supports Boston Pride’s events and programs.

Thanks to the generosity of the public participating in our events and to the substantial financial backing of our corporate partners, Boston Pride raised over $80,000 in 2018 for the Fund, allowing the organization to more than double its Community Fund awards in 2019 compared to the prior year! After a thorough review by an independent evaluation panel, Boston Pride awarded over $43,000 in Community Fund grants to 24 organizations in the 2019 cycle (from $18,500 to 13 organizations in 2018). This significant increase brings the total disbursed by Boston Pride to local queer groups over the last four cycles to almost $96,000, granted to 48 recipient organizations. Leftover funds will be expended in an inaugural second round of grants post-June, and any unspent monies will carry over to the 2020 cycle.

Future Community Fund cycles will additionally benefit from an exceptional donation by Tito’s Handmade Vodka of $10,000 annually for the next three years. Further, the ticketing revenue of Boston Pride’s newly created Pub Crawl will be donated to the Fund.

The Fund is supported by the annual block Parties and High Heel Dash.

This year’s awardees, and their projects, are:

  • Improbable Players, to produce a theatre performance at the intersection of addiction and LGBTQ experiences, followed by a moderated discussion between the audience and the cast of actors on addition and sexuality;
  • Mass Bears and Cubs, for offsetting the costs of legal and other professional services required as the organization pursues 501c3 incorporation and designation;
  • The History Project, to design, produce, and install Stonewall 50 commemorative banners on iconic and historically-relevant buildings in Boston and Cambridge, where our community’s history was made;
  • Dancing Queerly, to hire Boston-based, LGBTQIA+ teaching artists, dancers, and choreographers for the 2019 edition of the eponymous shows and concerts;
  • SpeakOUT Boston, for hosting a training program for about 25 queer individuals from the Greater Boston area and MetroWest region, who will learn and enhance their public speaking skills;
  • Healing Our Community Collaborative, for providing a luncheon educational session as part of their third Transgender Women Health Program;
  • Arlington LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission, to support year-round Pride programming currently lacking in Arlington, including events to mark Asexual Awareness Week and the Trans Day of Remembrance;
  • Boston Ironsides Rugby Football Club, for launching a two-day youth experience where younger members of our community can practice team building, collaboration, communication, and self-discovery through the game of rugby;
  • Cape Cod Pride, to grow and ensure sustainment of the Cape Cod Pride Festival as the organization produces its fourth annual celebration for queer communities in Southeastern Massachusetts;
  • The Theater Offensive, for the production of MicroFest 2019, a micro-theater festival comprised of eight short plays providing a local, community-based, intersectional, and intergenerational perspective on the Stonewall Uprising and its legacy;
  • The List: Boston’s Queer Agenda, to cover the costs of the technological infrastructure required to maintain its grassroots newsletter reaching diverse segments of the queer community;
  • Arts Connect International, to finance honorariums to 15 artists and performers at the Arts Equity Summit of March 2019, a forum dedicated to examining and discussing how our community can move towards an ideal vision of social equity within and through the arts;
    The Open Theatre Project, for the production of the third annual Gay Shorts, a play festival featuring local LGBTQ playwrights, actors, and directors;
  • Trans Club of New England (TCNE, formerly the Tiffany Club of New England), to support outreach and training efforts for trans families, trans people of color, and non-binary trans individuals in the community;
  • Gay for Good, to purchase project supplies, as well as snacks and refreshments for their volunteers dispatched throughout the community, who work to assist many service projects;
  • Boston Dyke March, to compensate the performers, speakers, and interpreters at the 2019 edition of the event;
  • LGBT Asylum Task Force, to provide free housing, medicine, and basic necessities to queer asylum seekers;
  • Black & Pink, to set up and manage a weekly drop-in support space for formerly incarcerated people, so they may gather in community, get connected with other local resources, and receive services and care for their concrete basic needs;
  • PAWS New England, to provide special care needs, such as vet examinations, medication, or specialty food to dogs with medical or physical disabilities, prior to placing them up for adoption at queer events like the JP Block Party;
  • Womxn of Color Weekend, for the stipends of facilitators and speakers at WOCW workshops that curate spaces for the purpose of healing, restorative social justice, and community building;
  • Camp Lightbulb, to cover two full camper scholarships in their 2019 Summer Camp, which hosts queer youths in Provincetown and features learning and personal growth activities;
  • The Friends of the Plymouth Council on Aging, to organize intergenerational forums as part of the Plymouth Pilgrim Pride program, which seeks to bring together queer adults and seniors with their younger counterparts in shared experiences;
  • Quincy Pride, to support the sustainment of Q Pride Day in 2019, following a successful inaugural celebration last year; and
  • Dr. Feel Good, for convening yoga teachers of color for a two-day session with culturally-tailored physical activity programs primarily targeting queer women of color in Roxbury and Dorchester.

Notice of the opening of the submission period for the second 2019 round after Pride Week will be provided through our semi-monthly email newsletter. Interested applicants can learn more at www.bostonpride.org/fund. Visit our website at www.bostonpride.org/news to subscribe to the newsletter.

First photo: The Fund is supported by the annual block Parties and High Heel Dash. Credit: Marylin Humphries.
Second photo: Boston Pride announces the 2019 Community Fund Recipients at the Spring Open House. Credit: Ann Murphy.