The Allegan County Community Foundation launched the PRIDE Fund at the Dunes Resort in Douglas last month.
“The community is known for being affirming and inclusive and celebrating diversity, especially related to queer issues,” says Community Foundation Corporate and Donor Engagement Officer Sara Ruiter. “(Yet) there is no other funding source in Allegan County that specifically exists for services, resources, or programs for LGBTIAQ+ folks.”
Community leaders and allies from throughout Allegan County met this spring to establish a mission statement and funding priorities, including education, support with a focus on the youth and elderly, and developing resources and innovative programing for LGBTIA+ people.
“The Allegan County Community Foundation PRIDE Fund promotes safe, healthy, affirming environments for LGBTQIA+ communities within Allegan County by increasing visibility, allyship, multigenerational support, access to resources, and promoting physical and mental health,” the mission statement reads.
The fund officially launched Oct. 1. More than 100 community leaders, advocates, and allies of the local LGBTQIA+ community attended the launch party, according to the ACCF.
“Today could not have gone any better,” said Stephanie Calhoun, CEO and executive director of ACCF, at the time. “Gorgeous weather, generous donors, powerful speakers and a wonderfully supportive local community make this launch something we all can be proud of.”
More than 100 attended the launch last month of the Allegan County Community Foundation's PRIDE Fund.
Within two days, the fund had raised $100,000 in matching money.
“We knew that our LGBTQIA+ friends and neighbors in Allegan County do not have the support or resources that they need to thrive,” founding fund member George Stoutin says. “This fund will actively work to change that.”
The ACCF sought out a diverse group for its distribution committee, which will always include community members representing clergy, mental health, medical, educational professional, legal, and youth sectors from across Allegan County, Ruiter says.
The first applications will be due in February with the first grants being awarded later next year. The first round of grants will total an estimated $5,000 to $10,000. The number of grants will depend on the number and type of applications.
Organizers continue to fundraise for the endowment. For details, visit alleganfoundation.org
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