Arcus and Novo Foundations pledge $20 million for trans organizations

Today, the Arcus Foundation and the NoVo Foundation announced a Global Trans Initiative that will donate at least $20 million over five years to transgender-focused organizations and activists. Beginning later in 2016, the money will be awarded to organizations led by transgender individuals, rather than to groups that include transgender work as part of a broader mission. Most recipients will be based in the U.S., but the funding will reach organizations internationally.

Roz Lee, director of Arcus's social justice initiatives, told BuzzFeed:

“We can increase the visibility of work that has been going on for decades but has been underfunded. We are trying to take the long view. You need to combine policy change with cultural change if there is going to be any shift in lived experience.”

This unprecedented donation comes after a February report from the Funders for LGBTQ Issues found that only 7% ($13.6 million) of funding awarded to LGBT issues generally in the U.S. between the years 2011 - 2013 went to transgender issues. In addition to being directed toward transgender-led organizations, this new donation will mostly go to groups with budgets of $100,000 or less. The funders will begin accepting applications for proposals in mid-2016 and begin dispersing funds later that year.

According to their press release, the Arcus Foundation has granted more than $10 million dollars to transgender issues since its founding in 2000 and will, apart from this initiative, continue to support this work under its current funding strategy.