Nonprofits Team Up to Transform Lives in LGBTQ Chicago

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When two world-class nonprofit organizations work together, they create new solutions with the power to transform communities.

That’s the guiding principle behind three Transformational Grants, totaling $350,000, awarded by the LGBT Community Fund at The Community Trust this week.

LGBT Community Fund grants $350K to collaborative projects: safe housing for trans women, #HIV prevention + more

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Each project selected for funding represents a deeply-rooted collaboration between two organizations dedicated to meeting health and human services needs for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the Chicago region.

“The LGBT Community Fund is proud to support change agents making profound improvements to the quality of life for members of the LGBT community,” says Fund co-chair Denise C. Foy.

“By investing in innovative, replicable projects that reach traditionally underserved populations within our community, we hope to achieve a truly transformational impact.”

The following projects were awarded Transformational Grants:

• Howard Brown Health Center and Advocate IL Masonic Medical Center
To develop the nation’s first LGBTQ-specific assault survivor advocacy and assault prevention program

The Survivor Advocate Program will create a safe, culturally competent environment of care for LGBTQ individuals, who are disproportionately at risk for sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Combining health care, education, and policy advocacy, this initiative has the potential for replication in community health centers across the country.

• Chicago House and Sarah’s Circle
To strengthen the safety net for transgender individuals living in poverty by providing expanded drop-in support services and interim housing.

Serving a highly vulnerable population—which includes transgender women living in extreme poverty, living with HIV/AIDS, and facing unemployment and homelessness—this unique collaboration will define a “trans-friendly” model for other area shelters to access. Chicago House will hire a full-time coordinator to coordinate its drop-in centers in Lakeview and Hyde Park. Sarah’s Circle will support the continuum of care by reserving four beds of interim housing for trans women at its Uptown residence.

• AIDS Foundation of Chicago and University of Chicago
To expand the PrEPLine, a phone hotline providing information, counseling and connections to health care providers for PrEP.

The PrEPline works to combat HIV transmission by providing individualized education about the benefits and availability of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). Targeting historically underserved LGBT individuals in higher-risk communities on Chicago’s south and west sides, the hotline will invest in additional training, new staff and technology upgrades, expanding its reach.


The LGBT Community Fund was established in 2010 to create strategic change by promoting effective philanthropy.

A Community Needs Assessment in 2011 helped the Fund identify assets, needs and challenges within the region’s LGBTQ community. Based on that research, the Fund’s grant making focuses on strengthening services in four priority areas of need: young adults age 24 and under; older adults age 55 and over; general healthcare; and community safety.

These Transformational Grants form the second of three giving cycles, which will infuse $1 million into the Chicago region’s diverse LGBT community. The Fund’s inaugural grant cycle awarded $282,500 in October 2015 with a focus on serving youth and seniors. A third cycle of grant making is planned for 2016.