Services Focused on Healing for:
LGBTQ+ FARMWORKERS, YOUTH, AND PARENTS IN APOPKA
26Health is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that all LGBTQ+ and allied communities in Central Florida have access to comprehensive wellness, including affordable healthcare, mental health care, adoption services, and aesthetic services. As a result of COVID lockdowns and social distancing restrictions, 26Health pivoted their 2020 programming to address the ever more pressing needs of mental health and wellness for the Apopka farmworker community as a whole, with a clear and special focus on the LGBTQ+ members of this population that were suffering from isolation before and during the pandemic. Partnering with Hope CommUnity Center in 2021, 26Health will provide culturally competent services and support, addressing physical health, emotional well-being, and social wellness at no cost. Grant funds from Contigo will allow 26Health to respond to the overlapping crises of HIV and COVID, provide culturally and linguistically competent medical and behavioral services, and facilitate educational grassroots trainings and skills building workshops.
LGBTQ+ YOUTH AND ADULTS OF COLOR EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS AND AFFECTED BY HIV
Helping Oppressed & Marginalized Communities to Elevate, Inc., fondly known as HOME, is proudly a 501(c)(3), grassroots organization that serves, empowers, and uplifts underserved communities. HOME’s formation was a result of community-wide inequities in healthcare that disproportionately impact people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people at the intersections of other identities that face health disparities rooted in social factors, such as implicit bias and discrimination. HOME, Inc. responds to those disparities and the situations in which they arise to create a healthcare system inclusive of all communities. Despite being one of the most heavily impacted by the HIV epidemic, the Pine Hills community has neither direct HIV-focused care or LGBT inclusive services housed within its local neighborhood. Grant funding from Contigo will provide HOME with the resources needed to deliver community development services, cultivate local leadership, and develop HOME’s LGBTQ+ HIV Justice program. With a focus on people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals in Pine Hills, HOME fills a gap in traditional services and aims to create a movement for HIV-focused education and advocacy, including the formation of a Community Advisory Board. This board will consist of community leaders, consumers, and other change agents, including sex workers and those that utlize sex in exchange for money, housing or favors, and will coordinate development strategies for Pine Hills LGBTQ+ community and advance systemic change for HIV justice.
Zebra Coalition is a network of organizations that provide services to LGBTQ+ and all youth ages 13-24. The coalition assists young people facing homelessness, bullying, isolation from their families, physical and sexual abuse, and substance addiction with individualized programs to guide them to recovery and stability. Since the Pulse massacre, the need for culturally competent mental health services has continued to grow. In October 2017, with support from The Contigo Fund, the Zebra Coalition opened a counseling office in Osceola County to help meet the growing needs of the community. Since then, the Coalition moved into The LGBT Center – Kissimmee and expanded mental health services, providing access to bilingual counseling services, group meetings and youth activities. In 2020, as a result of the increased demand for counseling during the ongoing pandemic, the Coalition increased counseling hours in order to reduce the client wait list and wait times. In 2021, with grant funding from Contigo, the Coalition will now conduct targeted outreach beyond Kissimmee into the tri-county area (Orange/Osceola/Seminole) to reach more Latinx LGBTQ+ youth, people
of color and other marginalized populations, which are identified by the 2019 Central Florida Community Health Needs Assessment as underserved.
PEER-TO-PEER SUPPORT GROUP MEMBERS AND LEADERS
Peer Support Space (PSS) is a peer-led 501(c)3, located in Central Florida. Its mission is to build, and be a local hub for, diverse peer-led recovery communities, with a particular focus on Black, Latinx, immigrant, LGBTQ+, disabled folx, and other communities that face statistically higher rates of mental health challenges and/or lack of access to affordable and accessible mental wellness options that practice cultural humility. In PSS’s first two years, under the leadership of Yasmin Flasterstein and with the support of Contigo Fund, the organization has built a community of over 8,000 individuals. Well over 10,000 additional individuals were educated on and began conversations about mental health as a result of PSS’s speaking engagements. Additionally, PSS hosted over 800 events. In 2021, PSS will launch a series of lived-experience-led advocacy initiatives, supporting upcoming leaders in having the creative freedom to amplify their voices. With grant funding from Contigo, PSS will continue to transform the local mental health system, in a way that doesn’t forget but centers Pulse-affected communities, creating an example and ripple effect for other developing peer communities nationwide.
Initiatives Focused on Education for:
BROADER PULSE-AFFECTED COMMUNITIES
The Orange County Regional History Center serves as a gateway for community engagement, education, and inspiration by preserving and sharing Central Florida’s continually unfolding story. With deep roots in Orange County, the History Center opened in 2000 and is operated by Orange County and the nonprofit Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc. Grant funds from Contigo provide the critical resources for the History Center to continue the One Orlando Collection Initiative, particularly the annual remembrance exhibitions including the major fifth-year remembrance exhibition, “Community: Five Years After the Pulse Tragedy.” This project has both lifted up and preserved the voices of our local LGBTQ+ and communities of color. This initiative has diversified to include seeking and telling the stories of recent immigrants to our area, on uncovering and calling attention to injustices and inequities for our communities who continue to be marginalized, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and continues to serve as a source of healing from the long and difficult history of our Central Florida region. This initiative provides ongoing healing to Pulse-affected communities through oral histories and exhibition.
Efforts Building Capacity and Empowerment for:
GBTQ BLACK MEN AFFECTED BY HIV/AIDS
The Bros in Convo Initiative (TBICI) is a Black, Queer-led community-based organization, fiscally sponsored by Miracle of Love, providing Black gay, bisexual, queer, and same-gender-loving communities ages 18-35 in Central Florida with capacity building, community resources, emotion and mind wellness, health education, life skills buidling, linkage to HIV/STI prevention and treatment services, and peer support. Bros in Convo engages and mobilizes Central Florida’s Black gay, bi, queer (GBQ) community through initiatives that educate, empower, and support Black GBQ existing and emerging leaders. In 2020, their emotion/mind wellness, health education, and HIV status neutral preventative care in the Metro-Orlando community increased in spite of and due to COVID. Grant funds from Contigo will provide vital general operating support to grow Bros in Convo’s internal structure and capacity and allow the organization to continue to meet the community’s needs.
LGBTQ+ AND ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER COMMUNITIES
The Orlando Queer & Trans Asian Association (OQTAA, pronounced ”octa”), fiscally sponsored by the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, brings together LGBTQ individuals of Asian descent in the Central Florida area. OQTAA’s vision is to provide a community for queer and trans Asians to celebrate their experiences and intersections, while simultaneously finding resources and affirmation relating to the queer and trans Asian identity. Grant funds from Contigo will expand The Orlando Queer and Trans Asian Association’s (OQTAA) commitment to addresssing the needs of the LGBTQ+, AAPI communities in Central Florida. Against a backdrop of increasing APPI hate crimes in 2020, OQTAA launched a COVID relief fund for queer and trans sex workers, providing critical support for underresourced LGBTQ+ Asian communities in the region. Meeting the needs of the community in this moment and beyond, OQTAA works to establish civic engagement and community-building programs that are multiracial and strongly intersectional.
LGBTQ+ AND IMMIGRANTS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
Hope CommUnity Center (HCC) is a service learning community dedicated to the empowerment of Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor communities through education, advocacy and spiritual Growth. Hope CommUnity Center serves and cultivates self-determined communities through personal, social and communal transformation. The Center’s vision is to be the premier center of hope and empowerment for Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor communities. In 2021, Hope will enrich its youth programming to reach teens from our Sin Fronteras Youth Group, particularly the leadership and Social Justice Groups. Teens will be invited to learn about systems of oppression, participate in Story-of-Self training, and share their stories with peers and adults. Key components of this program include creating a safe space and a source of affirming support and providing resources to marginalized people at HCC. Grant funding from Contigo will also allow HCC to continue strengthening its partnerships in the LGBTQ+ community and offer leadership development opportunities to LGBTQ+ immigrants in the Apopka and Metro-Orlando communities.
LGBTQ+ AND LATINX COMMUNITIES
The LGBT+ Center Orlando is the region’s LGBTQ+ Center, working to empower and promote the LGBTQ+ community and its allies through information, education, advocacy, and support. Grant funding from Contigo will provide The Center with critical resources to expand community outreach at its Kissimmee location. The only LGBT center in the county, The Center Kissimmee serves the LGBTQ+ community wholly, however its location was strategically placed to be accessible to Latinx and Hispanic queer communities where stigma and infection risk of HIV are highest. In 2021, The Center Kissimmee is expanding services and forging new relationships with community-based and faith-based organizations in Osceola County to meet the various needs of Osceola county and Hispanic/Latinx residents.
Del Ambiente, a fiscally sponsored project of SOS by Urbander, promotes the holistic development of the LGBTQ+ Puerto Rican community in Florida. Grant funds from Contigo will allow Del Ambiente to invest in The Lideres initiative, which provides LGBTQ+ Latinx and ally High School seniors and first-year college students with the opportunity to develop as leaders in the community. Qualifying participants will convene virtually and in-person (when possible) to participate in trainings including resume building, public speaking, writing, and more. Participants will also attend workshops from accredited providers to achieve a certificate in leadership, supporting their professional development and increasing their professional opportunities. Lideres also provides participants a stipend to develop their own community project impacting LGBTQ+ and Latinx people in their communities. Additionally, grant funds from Contigo will allow some participants to attend the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute’s 40th Annual Conference in 2022.
QLatinx is a grassroots racial, social, and gender justice organization dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of Central Florida’s LGBTQ+ Latinx community. QLatinx has been an instrumental catalyst and leader in the establishment of several key initiatives that work specifically on bridging together the Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities, including the HIV & Hispanic/Latinx Task Force in partnership with the Florida Department of Health, the Trust Orlando Coalition of over 30 immigrant rights groups in Central Florida, and the City of Orlando’s Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board. Grant funds provided by Contigo allow QLatinx the opportunity to fulfill the execution of these strategic initiatives that serve to strengthen the Central Florida nonprofit ecosystem, provide capacity building and professional development for emerging LGBTQ+ leaders of color in the region, and continue to provide guidance and lead key initiatives in the region that challenge inequity and workplace discrimination.
LGBTQ+ LEADERS OF COLOR
Maven Leadership Collective is a nonprofit organization that invests in creative social impact leaders who are queer and trans people of color and allies to build communities that thrive even in the face of crisis, transition, and tragedy. Maven’s Orlando Roots Initiative is a four-pillar approach to providing queer and trans social impact leaders of color and allies with broader access to sustainable professional development resources that center their needs and equip them with the skills to navigate a radically altered post-pandemic landscape. Funding from Contigo will strengthen community partnerships and provide a long-term community footprint that is aligned with the needs of the extraordinary queer and trans social impact leaders of color and allies they serve, while enhancing important initiatives like the Maven Creators Studio, Linkages/Enlaces, and Election Fundamentals.
LGBTQ+ NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
The One Orlando Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of over 40 organizations working together to transform Central Florida into a safe and inclusive community where all LGBTQ+ people can thrive. With past support from Contigo, One Orlando Alliance has created programs that center and are led by women of color, transgender, gender-queer and gender expansive leaders. In 2021, the Alliance will provide professional anti-racism training for coalition members, management and execution of a first-of-its-kind comprehensive LGBTQ+ survey to accurately assess the needs and assets of the LGBTQ+ community in Orange and surrounding counties, and other program coordination, including providing local leadership for the National Transgender Visibility March.
TRANS WOMEN OF COLOR COMMUNITIES
Divas in Dialogue, a nonprofit organization, is a sisterhood of trans women empowering, building, and strengthening each other. Divas in Dialogue: The Learning Edition is an educational, skill building, social support program designed to reduce HIV risks, improve overall well-being, and promote community connectedness among transgender women of color. Grant funds from Contigo Fund will support programs providing comprehensive health, educational and social support services on the topics of HIV/STI Education, Self Defense, Career Readiness/Employment, Body Positivity, The Name Change Process, and Grave Matters.