Rising Stars Grants

The GLAAD Rising Stars Grant Program celebrates young people’s commitment to enhancing LGBTQ representation within their communities and culture at large.

Grants are offered to support young people in their initiatives to enhance intersectional LGBTQ advocacy and representation in their community.

Rising Stars Grant

GLAAD will award 2018 Rising Stars Grants of $2,500 to young people (ages 18-30) for their commitment to enhancing LGBTQ inclusion and representation in music.

The Rising Stars grant, named after out country music star, Ty Herndon, is eligible to LGBTQ young people who are working to accelerate acceptance in the music industry.

In addition to the $2,500 grant, Rising Stars Grant recipient be honored by GLAAD with an all-expense trip to be determined later. 

Former Rising Stars Grant recipients have been honored for their thoughtful work to address many issues facing their local communities, including:

  • producing music videos to feature LGBTQ storylines and hire LGBTQ actors and production members
  • increasing diversity of performers on college campuses by funding transgender entertainers and speakers
  • fostering conversation around diversity and inclusion in business through launching a podcast
  • and more!

Applications open for submissions on June 7th, 2018 and close July 15th, 2018 at midnight PST. All applicants and recipients will be notified via email by August 1st, 2018.

Apply for a Rising Stars Grant

Apply for a Rising Stars Grant (2018 Music)

To apply for a Rising Stars Grant, applicants must complete the application form below and submit a video of no longer than 90-seconds responding to the prompt below.

Short video prompt (90-second time limit):

Why is it important to have LGBTQ inclusion and representation in music?

  • How would you use this grant to improve LGBTQ inclusion and representation in the music industry?
  • How and in what ways would you use the media to amplify your mission and increase your initiative’s impact?

Please provide a clear goal for your initiative as well as what strategies you plan to reach that goal.

Key dates for applicants:

  • Thursday, June 7th, 2018: applications available.
  • Sunday, July 15th, 2018: applications due by midnight PST.
  • Wednesday, August 1st, 2018: All applicants are notified of status; recipients notified.

Rising Stars Alumni

Aisha Bibbs

Delta Air Lines Accelerating Acceptance Grant

Akila Prayaga

Barilla Cultivation Grant

C Mandler

Barilla Cultivation Grant

Dani Marrero Hi

Target Trailblazer Grant

Gio Bravo

Barilla Cultivation Grant

Joon Park

Turner Visionary Grant

Kosoko Jackson

Delta Air Lines Accelerating Acceptance Grant

Kylan Kester

Coca-Cola Innovator Grant

Leah Juliett

Delta Air Lines Accelerating Acceptance Grant

Lindsay Amer

Barilla Cultivation Grant

Lizeth Urdiales

Delta Air Lines Accelerating Acceptance Grant

Monique Swirsky

Coca-Cola Innovator Grant

Prince Shakur

Turner Visionary Grant

Priscila Alegria Nunez

Telemundo Innovation Grant

Shayna Warner

Turner Visionary Grant

X

Aisha Bibbs is a senior, Communication major at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. She currently serves as the marketing director for U of L’s LGBT Center, an organization dedicated to meeting the needs of LGBTQ identified students in the city. She plans to continue her professional development and career in an MBA program this upcoming fall. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient, she will work to create mass media content, such as design of branding, training, and student resource materials, for the both the university and the city of Louisville to further promote equality and inclusivity in the workplace.

X

C Mandler is a junior, double major in Philosophy and Written Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. They run a campus DIY music venue called the Root Cellar, sing in their school’s sole a cappella group, and work as an Event Coordinator at the Difference and Media Project. They recently presented at Princeton University’s Compass Philosophy Workshop, which was specifically held for women, non-binary, and trans people in Philosophy, and are in the process of self-publishing their third book of poetry. C will use their role as a Rising Stars Grant recipient to continue to bring queer and trans musicians of color to Bard to perform, lecture, and workshop with students and faculty on campus and beyond.

X

Dani Marrero Hi is a Mexican immigrant raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. She is the creator of Neta, an online multimedia platform for citizen journalism to amplify the voices of border residents on social and political issues. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient, Dani will continue working with the dedicated team of storytellers in the Rio Grande Valley to keep creating positive and authentic media representation for border residents.

X

Joon Park is a junior, Economics major at Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts. Intersectionality is Joon's favorite word: they believe that the intersections of being a first generation college student from an immigrant family and their gender non-binary, queer, Asian, and Korean-American identities have played a pivotal role in shaping their lived experiences. Much of their activism focuses on fostering intersectional spaces, specifically for Queer/Trans People of Color. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient, Joon plans on strengthening the relationship between the queer alumni network and the current undergraduate LGBTQ+ student body at Boston College, and creating a robust, united front that can help facilitate the ongoing creation of intersectional and LGBTQ-inclusive spaces at their university.

X

Kylan Kester is a junior majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in International Affairs at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. On campus, Kylan serves as a fierce advocate for innovation and inclusion, and serves as an editor at large with LinkedIn’s Student Voices platform and The Huffington Post. Kylan prides themself as a global citizen who has been recognized for intersectional leadership and outstanding achievement by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Apple, Proctor & Gamble, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Black College Hall of Fame. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient, Kylan will build a holistic multimedia platform that speaks to the mission of diversifying the LGBTQ narrative by covering underrepresented stories on politics, entrepreneurship, world-travel, and technology.

X

Prince Shakur is a queer Jamaican American artist born and raised in Cleveland, OH, and holds a degree in Creative Writing from Ohio University. After the shooting death of Michael Brown, he dove headfirst into activism, including visiting Ferguson, marching for NUIT DEBOUT in Paris and protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, ND. The Rising Stars Grant will support his work as a freelance writer for publications like Teen Vogue, and his project Two Woke Minds, a travel series highlighting social issues abroad and in the U.S.

X

Lindsay Amer is a queer activist, artist, storyteller, and educator based in New York City. They create and host Queer Kid Stuff, an LGBTQ+ educational web series for all ages on YouTube. Lindsay strongly believes that queer-inclusive media representation for kids helps create a kinder and more equal future. As a Rising Stars Grant Recipient, they will produce a third season of Queer Kid Stuff, focusing on age-appropriate queer-inclusive sex education and introducing new vocabulary and concepts to the series, like "non-binary," and how to think about gender and sexuality as spectrums.

X

Lizeth Urdiales is a senior majoring in Mexican American Studies with a certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofits at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. Lizeth is a Queer, Undocumented, Latinx, differently-abled student, and her work at UT Austin has predominantly surrounded assistance for Undocumented communities. Upon graduation, Lizeth will pursue an MBA in Entrepreneurship, and will use her role as a Rising Stars Grant recipient to empower Undocumented communities in the workplace by by creating awareness for workers’ rights abuses, and by building stronger relationships between Undocumented and U.S. Resident and Citizen allies regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, class, nationality, ability, and citizenship status.

X

Monique Swirsky is a junior, Environmental Studies major with a focus in sustainable food production and minors in entrepreneurship, leadership studies, and philosophy at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. In her community, Monique is a member of the NAACP, and is currently doing research on how to create more empowering college campuses for LGBTQ+ students in NC in the wake of House Bill 2. As a Rising Stars grant recipient she will establish an online and print news source focused specifically on highlighting marginalized communities, such as LGBTQ people, people of color, and religious minorities, and highlight what allies of these communities can do to get involved and help combat active hate groups in her university hometown.

X

Shayna Maci Warner (she/her/hers) is an enthusiastically queer artist and scholar graduating from UCLA this June with a major in World Arts and Cultures, and a minor in Film. She is the managing editor of OutWrite Newsmagazine, an Assistant Programmer for Outfest Los Angeles, and a documentary filmmaker whose first short doc will premiere this spring. The Rising Stars Grant will allow her to expand her print and video interview series ‘The First Time I Saw Myself,’ a collaboration with OutWrite Newsmagazine that chronicles individual reactions to LGBTQ story lines in an effort to show the tangible impacts made by missteps and triumphs in queer representation.

X

Gio Bravo “El Transformer” (he/him/his) is a Mexican-American trans man, born and raised in the beautiful city of Long Beach in Southern California. He is the first trans person in the Regional Mexican music genre, and also founder of ‘Insurgent Couture’ an LGBTQ based clothing brand. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient, Gio will continue to strive for trans/LGBTQ visibility on mainstream media through his passion for music.

X

Kosoko Jackson (he/him/his) is a Maryland native. He is the author of A Place For Wolves, a diverse Historical Thriller Young Adult Novel, coming out Summer 2019 by Sourcebooks Fire, and advocates for an increase in diverse authors and characters within the YA literary canon. Kosoko will continue championing literary diversity by using the Rising Stars Grant to create a mentorship program for queer authors, who can learn from a published queer author about craft, brand management, and the world of publishing for two months, culminating in a pitch event to literary agents & sponsored attendance at a literary convention.

X

Akila Prayaga (she/her/hers) is a senior at Cornell University. On campus, she has helped lead several LGBTQ+ organizations and events. Akila has continued her outreach off campus through her involvement in diversity organizations and conferences like Grace Hopper and Out for Undergrad. As a Rising Star grantee, Akila will expand her website, “The LGBTQ Agenda,” that promotes opportunities, conferences, and other resources for queer students interested in professional careers. to include interviews with queer professionals from a variety of backgrounds, professional skills webinars, and broadening the scope of the website to be the best resource it can be for queer students. She hopes to empower LGBTQ+ students to be the representation that the corporate world currently lacks.

X

Priscila Alegria Nunez Priscila a.k.a. Pea (they/them/theirs) is a non-binary cinematographer and documentarian. Born in Trujillo, Peru, Pea grew up with with an activist mom, who brought them to the streets to protest corruption and unemployment, the aftermath of an era of terrorism and dictatorship they were born into. In search for greater opportunities, Pea arrived in the U.S. at 15 and they began their journey as a visual storyteller. Now a proud graduate of UCLA’s film school, Pea has shot documentaries, short narratives, and is about to embark on their first VR docudrama with their team and the generous contribution of GLAAD’S Rising Stars--all to make their mama and Pachamama proud.

X

Leah Juliett (they/them/theirs) is an award-winning speaker, writer, and political changemaker from Connecticut. Leah is the Founder and Executive Director of the #MarchAgainstRevengePorn, an internationally-acclaimed cyber civil rights organization dedicated to combating revenge porn through a series of nationwide protest marches. Leah has discussed social issues on CNN, MTV, Buzzfeed, Teen Vogue, and Seventeen Magazine. Leah currently serves as an Intern for United States Senator Chris Murphy. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient, Leah will organize and host the National LGBTQ+ Youth Town Hall in New York City to connect legislators with young voters before the 2018 Midterm Elections.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for the 2018 Rising Stars Grants for music?
The 2018 Rising Stars Grants are available to a person or team of people, between the ages of 18 and 30, who are working to enhance LGBTQ representation within their communities and culture at large, specifically in the music industry.
Applicants can apply as individuals or as a team. However, only one grant will be given per initiative/project.
When are the applications due?
The 2018 Rising Stars Grants application is due Sunday, July 15th, 2018 by midnight PST.
When will the recipients be announced?
The 2018 Rising Stars Grants recipients will be announced by Wednesday, August 1st, 2018.
All applicants will be notified of their status via email. If you believe you have not been contacted regarding your application status by 8/1/18 please check your spam or social folders on your email account.
When will the awards be received?
Recipients will receive their grant (in the form of a check) via mail and be invited to attend a GLAAD event to be named later.
How are the recipients selected?
A GLAAD-appointed committee will select recipients based on the strength of the following criteria:
  • Applicant’s initiative works to accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people in the music industry.
  • Applicant’s initiative positively affects marginalized communities, particularly LGBTQ people.
  • Applicant’s initiative uses media advocacy to enhance representation for LGBTQ people.
  • Applicant’s initiative uses an intersectional approach to LGBTQ advocacy.
Why would you like to know my Demographic Information (gender identity, sexual identity, and racial identity, etc.)?
Even though giving us this information is purely on a voluntary basis, we would like this info in order to make sure we are reaching a wide and diverse population of potential entrants, especially within the LGBTQ community. NOTE: Providing or not providing us with this information will not in any way prejudice our decision-making/judging process.

Terms and Conditions for Rising Stars Grants

By applying for the Rising Stars Grants, you agree to these terms:

  • Only applicants who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of application are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants are only eligible to apply for one grant.
  • GLAAD reserves the right to change the grant programs at any time, including available grants, deadlines, requirements, award amounts or other program details.
  • Grant recipients are not to use scholarship funding in a way that runs opposition to GLAAD’s mission of advocating for the LGBTQ community.
  • Grant recipients are required to submit a current photo and submit a release granting GLAAD permission to use their photo on glaad.org and in other marketing communications.•Grant recipients are required to submit a current photo and submit a release granting GLAAD permission to use their photo on glaad.org and in other marketing communications.
  • In accepting a grant from GLAAD the applicant agrees to waive and release, GLAAD, its officers, associates and partner organizations from any and all liability, including but not limited to, any liability arising from the negligence or fault of the entities or persons released, for death, disability, personal injury, property damage, property theft, or actions of any kind which may occur to you during or after the grant is received, including during or after any travel undertaken as part of the grant
  • Officers, directors, employees and members of the selection committee of GLAAD and any parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies (all such individuals and entities collectively referred to herein as the “Entities”), are ineligible to apply.
  • The selection committee’s decision is final.