Pride Fund awards $15K to support Allegan County groups

The Allegan County Community Foundation has completed its first Pride Fund grant cycle, distributing $15,000 to five local organizations. 

The Pride Fund aims to promote safe, healthy, and affirming environments for LGBTQIA+ communities within Allegan County by increasing visibility, allyship, multigenerational support, access to resources, and promoting physical and mental health.

Grant awards ranged from $2,000 to $5,000. The recipients are Allegan, Speak Up!, Out On the Lakeshore, Fennville District Library, Arbor Circle, and Red Horse Center for Collaborative Leadership.

The Pride Fund was established in spring 2023 after a diverse group of local leaders identified significant needs within the community. Initial contributions from five main donors, totaling $100,000, inspired further donations.

“We had six organizations apply for funding. Like all of our grant cycles, this is a competitive process,” says Amanda Chappell, the foundation’s community engagement officer. “A volunteer committee, with representatives from education, healthcare, the judicial system, and the financial sector, independently reviews and scores applications before determining final grant amounts.”

Grant recipients

The funded organizations will use the grants as follows:
  • Allegan Speak Up!: Supports the annual Pride celebration, providing live entertainment, community engagement, and resources for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
  • Out On the Lakeshore: Offers monthly support group meetings for queer teens and youth, addressing isolation, discrimination, and mental health disparities.
  • Fennville District Library: Expands its collection of media by or about LGBTQIA+ individuals, representing a variety of identities.
  • Arbor Circle: Enhances school-centered mental health services and summer outreach programs for students and families.
  • Red Horse Center for Collaborative Leadership: Supports the Gay-Straight Alliance Club in Fennville, promoting visibility, allyship, and mental wellness.
“We know that our LGBTQIA+ friends and neighbors in Allegan County do not have the support or resources they need to thrive. This fund will actively work to change that,” said George Stoutin, a founding fund member.

The foundation aims to foster a long-term, supportive environment for LGBTQIA+ community members and their families. Donations to support these efforts can be made online at
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.