We are excited to announce that the Mama Bears Giving Circle has granted the following amounts to our Fall 2022 Grant Winners through funds collectively donated over the past 6 months!
- Resource Center $18,500
- Kind Clinic $18,500
- Covenant House Greater Washington $18,500
- Keshet $15,000
Learn more about the great work of these organizations below.
Youth First is the only LGBTQIA+ focused program in North Texas offering activities and services that address the specific challenges and health risks faced by LGBTQIA+ youth. Furthermore, the program offers immediate access to unique LGBTQIA+ specialized mental health counseling that allows youth to explore issues of concern (e.g., anxiety, depression, self-harm or suicidal ideation) without fear of being misunderstood or encountering prejudice.
Funding will support the Center as it provides 450 LGBTQIA+ youth with affirming and trauma-informed programming over the course of 12 months.
The participants served in Youth First are significantly diverse. While collectively the community shares a need for wellness services offered in a queer-friendly environment, measures of success are unique to each individual and family. The carefully designed Community Member Journey followed by an individual engaging in Youth First allows community members to outline what successful service means to them and to their family, uniquely, while providing a service plan, mentorship, and milestone check-ins to maintain engagement and forward progress. Additionally, this model naturally inspires active and intentional healing and growth, while drop-in-style programs rely on passive impact. Below is a brief summary of the program’s short, medium, and long-term anticipated outcomes:
Short Term: Changing Circumstances
Individual community members and family units will articulate their version of success, set attainable goals, and gain access to wellness services and opportunities for positive peer-connection.
Intermediate: Changing Behaviors
Individual community members and family units will become actively engaged in their own development of meaningful connections, skillbuilding, and self-advocacy, laying the foundation for an active culture of wellbeing within the collective community.
Long Term: Changing Lives
The cumulative DFW queer community and network of families will actively perpetuate a cycle of community reinvestment, creating a long-term sustainable culture of wellness.
A $25,000 grant from the Mama Bear Giving Circle would enable the Center to continue delivering these life-saving and life-changing programs. Over the course of 12 months, Youth First would additionally measure success through the ability to provide participants with items purchased via this grant, including but not limited to: trauma-informed training materials and curriculum, sensory-friendly instruments and equipment; food; books, and other program various program supplies. This grant would also support the Center as it continues to provide valuable resources to LGBTQIA+ children and families, such as legal assistance re name changing and gender-markers and support systems found in schools and local communities (e.g., OUT For Safe Schools in Dallas ISD and Uplift Education, Rainbow RoundUp, Born This Way Foundation, etc.)
Texas Health Action (THA) was founded as a volunteer-run organization in 2015 by clinicians and community members. The organization’s mission statement is: “Texas Health Action is a community informed non-profit organization dedicated to providing access to culturally affirming, quality health services in a safe and supportive environment with an expertise in serving LGBTQIA+ people and people impacted by HIV.” THA’s fledgling program was Kind Clinic, providing PrEP, PEP, STI Testing and Treatment, HIV Testing and Care, and Gender-Affirming Care. All services are provided at no cost to the patient. Kind Clinic sees patients regardless of insurance status, and sometimes even offers financial assistance with medications. This is possible through the Kind Patient Assistance Program (KPAP). Patient Advocates work to get patients insured and in turn provide assistance with paying premiums so patients are not only able to get low cost medication from the pharmacy and free medical care with Kind Clinic, but are also able to access other healthcare providers for primary or specialty care!
With additional funding for KPAP, Kind Clinic would be able to provide more insurance premium assistance to more patients thus allowing those patients to access medical care, not just with Kind Clinic, but with other healthcare providers! By helping patients access primary care, we are assisting in expanding access to medical care thus reducing health disparities and increasing quality of life for patients by being able to detect and treat other illness and health conditions. Currently, Kind Clinic averages around $200 per patient per month in premium assistance. With a gift of $10,000 we would be able to serve an additional 50 patients with premium assistance; with a gift of $25,000 we would be able to assist 125 additional patients!
SHINE, a program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and or questioning, intersex, asexual and/or allied (LGBTQ+) consists of 24 beds, case management services, and an array of support from various community-based organizations currently working with LGBTQ+ youth. These trauma-informed services were created with the goal of positive youth development and are culturally appropriate and specific to LGBTQ+ youth.
LGBTQ+ young people who experience homelessness at a rate 120% higher than that of their peers. Covenant House Washington has done a great deal of work with the community to make this happen, and SHINE is a program that our amazing LGBTQ+ young people will benefit from, and most importantly, something that will create lasting impact in their lives.”
Services provided within the program will work to provide housing stability, promote self-esteem, increase social connectedness and resilience, and decrease risk for suicidal behaviors and self-harm. All services are housed within a setting that provides safety, support, and allows youth to be their whole-selves within the space; not having to compartmentalize their various identities to fit in or feel safe.
Additionally, SHINE will provide social and emotional support for LGBTQ+ youth who may be particularly vulnerable to or at elevated risk for violence, by connecting LGBTQ+ youth to needed services identified through individual assessment. Self-esteem and resilience are promoted among participating youth through the development of leadership skills, event planning, and opportunities for community engagement.
Keshet envisions a world in which all LGBTQ+ Jews and our families can live with full equality, justice, and dignity in Jewish life. We create spaces for LGBTQ+ Jewish youth to feel valued and empowered, equip Jewish organizations with tools to build LGBTQ+ affirming communities, and mobilize the Jewish community to fight for LGBTQ+ equality nationwide. Through our Community Mobilization (CM) work, we work with secular partners to bring a Jewish voice to LGBTQ+ rights campaigns. Keshet’s two-person CM team was created in recent years after Keshet helped with notable state-level breakthroughs around marriage equality and transgender rights.
Funding will support Thrive, The Jewish Coalition to Defend Trans and LGBQ+ Youth, building on Keshet’s growing national and state-level CM work. Developed in partnership with SOJOURN, this national coalition of Jewish organizations works together to protect and defend trans and LGBQ+ youth. Thrive launched in June 2022 and already has 150+ member organizations representing national and local Jewish agencies, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Religious Action Center, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and a number of Jewish federations and Jewish Community Relations Councils. This participation demonstrates a substantially increased commitment to prioritizing LGBTQ+ equality within their respective agendas.
As a result of your support for Thrive, Keshet will educate, coordinate, and support Jewish organizations to prioritize and effectively advocate for LGBTQ+ equality. Consistent with Keshet’s broader efforts over 20 years to train and educate Jewish institutions to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion within their communities — including support for a significant increase in the number of LGBTQ-identifying Jewish youth– we are today working in a context where a significant and growing number of Jewish communal institutions are ready and willing to advocate for LGBTQ+ equality. This coalition will strengthen and lift up the American Jewish community as a leading faith-based voice on issues where too often faith is used to justify inequality and oppression.
Keshet’s Community Mobilization Goals:
- Goal 1: Educate and motivate Jewish communities to make LGBTQ+ rights a Jewishly rooted and core piece of their leadership and institutional priorities. We partner with organizations on programs to educate and mobilize Jewish communities and engage with community members through education and mobilization programs.
- Goal 2: Activate Jewish communities and institutions to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights with elected officials. We organize legislator meetings, build legislator and constituent connections and engage community members in related advocacy actions.
- Goal 3: Increase Keshet’s visibility & visibility of LGBTQ+ Jews and allies to bolster our influence and impact within both Jewish and LGBTQ+ advocacy sectors. We partner with different Jewish and/or LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations on campaign events and programs, engage community members through Keshet-created content and resources, and distribute resources about LGBTQ+ rights and how to take action for LGBTQ+ rights.
We measure the impact of Thrive as follows:
- # of times that Keshet educates Jewish community members to take action for LGBTQ+ rights
- # of actions taken, including calls, postcards, emails, to elected officials, and direct meetings with legislators
- # of Jewish organizations, from day schools to national organizations, prioritizing LGBTQ+ inclusion and advocacy in their work because of Keshet