The Leonard-Litz Foundation is pleased to announce it has awarded Covid Relief grants to two nonprofit organizations in Vermont: Out in the Open Inc. and Outright Vermont. These recipients’ innovative LGBTQ+ programs and services are focused in rural New England, where the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on an already marginalized community. The organizations were each awarded a grant in the amount of $15,000 to assist their ongoing efforts.
The Leonard-Litz Foundation’s mission is to fund partner organizations in the northeast U.S. that improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ population, with an emphasis in intersectional LGBTQ+ advocacy. Out in the Open and Outright Vermont exemplify the types of organizations the Foundation seeks to support, because they are empowering LGBTQ+ people, including subsegments of the LGBTQ+ youth population, in isolated regions and during a period in which it is particularly challenging to come by funding.
Out in the Open fosters connections and advocacy for LGBTQ+ people in Brattleboro, Vermont and, in addition, operates throughout the region of New England to amplify visibility and support for rural LGBTQ+ people.
Ain Thompson, Director of Development and Outreach at Out in the Open, notes, “Our already isolated community of rural LGBTQ people became more isolated with many having no or little internet access. Folks are losing housing, and other basic needs.”
The grant will be used to help fund the Rural Queer Community Care Network, which mitigates the impact of the pandemic by reestablishing connections among those isolated and distributing financial resources. Out in the Open provided direct aid to those affected by Covid-19 last year of whom more than half were trans people.
Outright Vermont promotes hope, equity and empowerment to LGBTQ+ youth. The organization is built on youth-adult partnerships and leverages queer and allied connections to share resources, combat discrimination and bigotry, and cultivate safe spaces wherever youth go. Their programming integrates queer youth spaces, statewide education and outreach, and annual large-scale events for queer youth.
“The pandemic worsened the disparities as quantified through our Needs Assessment. Youth shared concerns such as safety at home, triggering of substance use issues, and lack of access to medical care,” says Dana Kaplan, Executive Director at Outright Vermont.
The funding will allow Outright to complete a new Needs Assessment, distribute prepaid devices to at-risk youth in rural areas to access online programs and continue expanding social support services.
We invite you to learn more about these organizations and help us support the important work they are doing for our community.