The Equality Fund announces $372,500 in grants, welcomes new Advisory Committee co-chairs and members

Grants include new co-funding efforts with New Commonwealth Fund; Mike Dillon, Alex Schuman named co-chairs to replace Elyse Cherry and Fund co-founder Catherine D’Amato

June 6, 2024

Boston – The Equality Fund at the Boston Foundation today announced $372,500 in grants to 31 LGBTQ-led or -serving organizations in Massachusetts. The nonprofits were chosen from among 89 applicants, also a new record for the Fund, demonstrating both the fund’s growth and the continued needs in the community.

“This year, our nonprofit partners represent the wide-ranging needs of LGBTQ+ people of all ages and backgrounds, with grants going to support organizations whose services include securing housing for queer asylum seekers, providing trans and gender expansive health care services in the Merrimack Valley, offering free legal aid for LGBTQ+ youth of color in Greater Boston, and organizing statewide advocacy and education campaign in support of the transgender community,” said M. Scott Knox, Director of the Equality Fund at the Boston Foundation. “We hope that we can continue to expand our grantmaking alongside our research, advocacy and community building this year and beyond.”

The Equality Fund welcomes new co-chairs

The grants, which bring the total grantmaking from the Fund to over $2.2 million since 2012, come at a time of historic change, as the Fund is also announcing the appointment of two Advisory Committee members to replace Elyse Cherry and co-founder of the Equality Fund, Catherine D’Amato, as co-chairs. They are Mike Dillon, a former partner and Chief Diversity Officer at PWC, and Alex Schuman, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Schrödinger.

“I’m not sure there are words to describe the impact and leadership Catherine and Elyse have brought to their work for the Equality Fund over the past decade,” said Kate Guedj, Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropic Officer at the Boston Foundation. “Catherine and Scott E. Squillace. Esq. co-chaired the launch of the Fund in 2012, and over the past five years together as co-chairs, Catherine and Elyse have led the Equality Fund to new heights in recognition and grantmaking.”

“Over the past 12 years, it has been a wonderful opportunity to help the Equality Fund grow and partner with nearly 100 organizations to improve the lives and protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people and families in Massachusetts,” said Catherine D’Amato. “I look forward to seeing the Fund’s accelerating growth continue with Mike and Alex’s guiding hands, and Scott Knox’s day-to-day leadership.”

“This latest group of nonprofit partners builds upon the strong legacy of the Equality Fund as a responsive, community-focused grantmaker,” said Elyse Cherry. “I am proud that the Equality Fund works to promote intersectionality and partnerships to ensure that LGBTQ+ people are supported as they embrace the richness of all of their identities, such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or gender, for example. I look forward to continuing this work with Mike and Alex in the years to come.”

In recent months, the focus on intersectionality and partnerships has included joint efforts with the New Commonwealth Fund, the Asian Community Fund, and the Latino Equity Fund at the Boston Foundation.

New Advisory Committee members

In addition to the new co-chairs, the Equality Fund is also pleased to announce the addition of four members to the fund Advisory Committee. They are:

Cheryl Katon, Vice President of Resource Development and Donor Engagement, Fenway Health

theo tyson, Curator of Fashion Arts, Museum of Fine Arts

Ying Wang, Esq., Associate General Counsel, Massachusetts Gaming Commission & Captain, Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officer, United States Army Reserve

Derrick Young, Jr., Co-founder & Executive Director, Leadership Brainery

The Fund will celebrate Catherine D’Amato and Elyse Cherry’s leadership, welcome Mike Dillon and Alex Schuman as co-chairs, recognize the new Advisory Committee members, and bid thanks and farewell to Dean Hara, an original member of the Advisory Board who is also stepping down this year, as part of its 12th anniversary later this month at the Boston Foundation.
Equality Fund LOGO

Release Highlights:

2024 Grants:
$372,500 in grants to 31 organizations.

New co-chairs:
Mike Dillon and Alex Schuman named Advisory Committee co-chairs, replacing Catherine D'Amato and Elyse Cherry

New Committee members:
Four members join Advisory Committee; charter committee member Dean Hara steps down

The Equality Fund 2024 grants include:

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center: $25,000
The Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Inc. (GLFHC) is a Federally Qualified Health Center, located in Lawrence, Massachusetts, providing comprehensive primary health care services to patients from Lawrence and the surrounding communities. Since 1980, GLFHC has been fulfilling its mission to “improve and maintain the health of individuals and families in the Merrimack Valley by providing a network of high quality, comprehensive health care services and by training health care professionals to respond to the needs of a culturally diverse population.”

Lawyers for Civil Rights: $25,000
Lawyers for Civil Rights works with communities of color and immigrants to fight discrimination and foster equity through creative and courageous legal advocacy, education, and economic empowerment. In partnership with law firms and community allies, we provide free, life-changing legal support to individuals, families, and small businesses.

LGBT Asylum Task Force: $25,000
The LGBT Asylum Task Force operates under the umbrella of Hadwen Park Congregational Church’s Missions and Social Justice Committee. Our mission is to provide support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals who are seeking asylum in the U.S. because of homophobic persecution in their home countries.

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition: $25,000
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition works to ensure the wellbeing, safety and lived equity of all trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive community members in Massachusetts. We educate the public; advocate at state, local, and systemic levels; and through collective action, we mobilize community, engage in capacity building, and advance community wellness and prosperity.

BAGLY: $15,000
BAGLY: The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, is a youth-led, adult-supported social support organization, committed to social justice and creating, sustaining, and advocating for programs, policies, and services for the LGBTQ+ youth community.

Boston Pride For The People: $15,000
Boston Pride For The People's (BP4TP) mission is to amplify the beauty, rich diversity, unique culture, and intersectionality of the LGBTQ+ community.  BP4TP produces and operates Boston's annual LGBTQ+ community celebration during PRIDE month, as well as LGBTQ+ educational programming throughout the year.

GLAD: $15,000
Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

LGBTQ Senior Housing: $15,000
LGBTQ Senior Housing's mission is to facilitate access to welcoming, safe and affordable housing for low-income LGBTQ seniors, including through a formal role in the development of such housing; to define onsite housing services and programming that addresses the needs of LGBTQ seniors; and to support a community space to serve seniors in the Greater Boston community.

Prisoner Legal Services: $15,000
Prisoner Legal Services' mission is to challenge the carceral system through litigation, advocacy, client counseling, partnership with impacted individuals and communities, and outreach to policymakers and the public to promote the human rights of incarcerated persons and end harmful confinement.

826 Boston: $10,000
826 Boston is a nonprofit writing, tutoring, and publishing organization where students in grades K-12 and beyond can share their stories, amplify their voices, and develop as leaders in school and in life.

Boston Lesbigay Urban Foundation: $10,000
The mission of the Boston Lesbigay Urban Foundation is the development of strong, sustainable, LGBTQIA+ community functions and relationships. We are committed to improving social and emotional outcomes for our BI-POC LGBTQIA+ community by providing wellness support, coordinated services, safe space and trauma-informed care.

Boston LGBTQ Museum of Art, History, and Culture: $10,000
The mission of the Boston LGBTQ+ Museum of Art, history & culture is to research, collect, conserve, interpret, and exhibit arts that honor the history of the LGBTQ+ community in Boston and in Massachusetts, and celebrate the lives and narratives of LGBTQ people through the arts and culture by working with and creating opportunities for queer artists.

Chastity’s Consulting & Talent Group: $10,000
Chastity’s Consulting & Talent Group (CCTG) is two fold; our mission is to invest in the future, success, and leadership of Transgender and Gender Expansive Communities, with an emphasis on Transgender Women of Color, while also educating and transforming businesses and organizations to weave the community into the fabric of society.

Ethos: $10,000
Ethos' mission is to promote the independence, dignity, and well-being of the elderly and disabled through the coordination and delivery of high-quality, affordable home and community-based care. In all aspects of its work Ethos supports family caregiving, fosters social interaction, and respects cultural diversity.

Greater Boston PFLAG: $10,000
Greater Boston PFLAG’s mission is to advocate for and advance equity and societal affirmation of LGBTQ people by building and strengthening loving families, safe communities, and a diverse and inclusive society.

Health Law Advocates: $10,000
Health Law Advocates (HLA) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm whose mission is to provide pro bono legal representation to residents in low-income situations experiencing difficulty accessing or paying for needed medical services. HLA is committed to ensuring universal access to quality health care in Massachusetts, particularly for those who are most at risk due to such factors as race, gender, disability, age, or geographic location.

Home for Little Wanderers: $10,000
Our mission is to help vulnerable children and their families build permanent, positive change.

Keshet: $10,000
Keshet works for the full equality of all LGBTQ Jews and our families in Jewish life. We strengthen Jewish communities. We equip Jewish organizations with the skills and knowledge to build LGBTQ+ affirming communities; create spaces in which all queer Jewish youth and queer Jews of color feel seen and valued; and advance LGBTQ+ rights nationwide.

LGBTQ Elders of Color: $10,000
The mission of LGBT Elders of Color is to empower LGBTQ+ older adults who identify as BIPOC, by building community through creative programming that promotes social engagement, while providing access to resources for needed health care and aging services.

NAGLY: $10,000
The mission of the North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth, Inc. (NAGLY) is to honor, respect, educate, and empower LGBTQ+ youth.

Out MetroWest: $10,000
OUT MetroWest builds communities where LGBTQ+ youth thrive.

Pride in Our Workplace: $10,000
Pride in Our Workplace helps all LGBTQ+ professionals and allied businesses drive positive change in the workplace.

The History Project: $10,000
The History Project is a volunteer-driven community archives dedicated to documenting, preserving, and sharing the history of Boston and New England’s LGBTQ+ communities. We acquire, care for, and provide access to LGBTQ+ archival collections, support research about local queer histories, and interpret and educate through public outreach, exhibits, events, and collaborations with local and national organizations. The History Project honors queer joy, supports the ongoing fight for liberation, and preserves the work of the past and present to inspire the future.

The Theater Offensive: $10,000
The Theater Offensive's mission is to present liberating art by, for, and about queer and trans people of color that transcends artistic boundaries, celebrates cultural abundance, and dismantles oppression.

Trans Community of New England: $10,000
The Trans Community of New England provides a range of community supports to Trans/Gender Diverse (T/GD) populations including monthly support groups, educational groups, employment groups and First Event (the largest T/GD conference in the country). Our mission this year is to extensively expand outreach to and involvement of minority and economically disadvantaged T/GD groups.

Transgender Emergency Fund: $10,000
The mission of the Transgender Emergency Fund is to provide critical assistance and support for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming individuals in Massachusetts.

Victory Programs: $10,000
Victory Programs’ mission is to open doors to recovery, hope, and community to individuals and families facing homelessness, addiction, HIV/AIDS, and/or other chronic illnesses. VPI began in 1975 as a halfway house for men returning from the Vietnam War with alcohol and other addictions. Today, we operate 25 programs in the areas of housing/shelter, health and recovery, and prevention.

Wily Network: $10,000
The Wily Network works to ensure students navigating life on their own have the tools and networks necessary to thrive in four-year residential colleges and transition successfully into post-college life.

Silver Lining Mentoring: $5,000
Silver Lining Mentoring empowers youth in foster care to thrive through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills.

Boston Dyke March: $2,000
The Boston Dyke March offers a non-commercial, intersectional, grassroots alternative to traditional Pride events.

Fontbonne Academy: $500
The Queer-Straight Alliance club at Fontbonne aims to create a safe and nurturing environment for LGBTQ+ students. Through discussions, club meetings, and community engagement, the club amplifies the diversity of our student body.