About All Black Lives Grant

HISTORY: Co-designed by Contigo’s leadership alongside Black LGBTQ+ Leaders from Contigo’s Community Board and moderators of the Central Florida Black LGBTQ Lives Matter Listening Session, Contigo launched the All Black Lives (ABL) Grants Cycle on June 10, 2020.  ABL is inspired by the historic racial justice uprising and motivated by the escalating and often invisibilized cases of murder and violence against our Black Transgender family at the hands of police brutality, white supremacy, and transphobia. We are all called on to #SayTheirNames. PURPOSE: Dedicates funding to frontline LGBTQ+ organizing groups and efforts that are Black LGBTQ+ led in Central Florida to build on the movement for Black lives — particularly those led by and for Black Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, and Gender Nonbinary community and Sex Workers. Supports grassroots organizing to build visibility and power, promote safety, and amplify the demands of those impacted by anti-Black racism and gender discrimination. VALUES: ABL recognizes Black trans and queer folks have been at the frontlines of the LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter movements. We remember trans women of color, such as revolutionary Black trans activist Marsha P Johnson alongside trans Latina activist Silvia Rivera. Together they led the riots at Stonewall in 1969, which propelled the LGBTQ+ rights movement. We remember three Black women, two of whom identify as queer feminists, including Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, that co-founded the Black Lives Matter Movement. Protests ignited movements because of state-sanctioned police brutality, violence, and inequality. Our history reminds us of the vital role Black LGBTQ+ folks play in all our justice movements and how this historical moment calls on us to do more in centering, supporting, and following their lead. Contigo Fund’s Theory of Change: Through shaping a system that;  (1) brings those pushed farthest to the margins of society closest to the center,  (2) opens doors of opportunity to those historically marginalized from power into positions of decision-making leadership,  (3) meets the unique needs of those most impacted by inequalities and inequities with cultural competence, humility, and compassion,  (4) where every individual has a role and no community is disposable, we ultimately catalyze an intersectional movement and build a social justice ecosystem that can include and support everyone. What we see as Our Purpose:  Contigo Fund is an intersectional, community-driven grantmaker, capacity builder, and convener for Queer communities of color that focuses on resourcing work that leads to systemic change. As a “Systems Change Funder” we recognize that harm reduction through services when paired with leadership development and advocacy can lead to long-term solutions and lasting impact for the most, while harm reduction without those components has limited reach and does not reach the root of the cause for the issue and thus its impact cannot be broadly inclusive and break generational cycles of harm.  Understanding our resources are not limitless, to serve the most, Contigo must focus our resources solely on what we believe will build on the long-term impact and transformation we wish to see.  For instance, in addressing the housing crisis, leadership development programs for trans women of color that build advocates who can work with existing shelters across our region to build cultural competence to serve hundreds of our Trans community with humility and compassion rather than funding one shelter for a dozen members of our Trans community fits the vision and purpose as a “Systems Change Funder”. Contigo seeks to strengthen our social justice ecosystem by resourcing long-term solutions and lasting impact to the challenges Queer communities of color face, which means using our limited funds towards (a) filling gaps and strengthening our social justice ecosystem; (b) resourcing leadership development to build advocates; and (c) organizations leading advocacy and policy change work to keep the larger ecosystem of service providers and federal, state, and local government accountable to commit and steer millions of dollars of critically needed resources that our Queer and communities of color desperately need and deserve.  There are many qualitative factors that Contigo’s leadership considers when measuring progress and success.  This is why we feel it is important in grant reporting to learn of the methods used by our grantee partner’s to listen and respond to those they are serving and working alongside as well as collect success stories from those impacted by our grantee partner’s work.  Our 16-member Community Board led by and for Queer leaders of color represents the full diversity of our local Queer community, which also allows us to hear from the community broadly about the impact any specific group is having in our social justice ecosystem. This is also an important part of how Contigo works to hold itself accountable.  Below, we’d like to highlight the ways that Contigo quantitatively measures its own progress as well as factors we consider when measuring our grantee partner’s success.  How We Measure Contigo’s Progress:  (1) the number of new Queer leaders and leaders of color supported in decision-making roles within the intersectional movement advancing social, racial, economic, and gender justice; (2) the number of new programs at existing organizations and groups supporting Queer communities of color in the region with cultural competence, humility and compassion; and  (3) the number of new organizations and groups led by and for Queer leaders of color that have created space for community and leadership opportunities for other Queer people of color. To catalyze and advance change, Contigo Fund since its emergence in 2016 has annually measured our impact reflecting on our regions social justice ecosystem Pre- and Post- Pulse. Below are our most recent progress to date: 

  • Opportunity that is expanded to Queer leaders and leaders of color in positions of decision-making power that were not in place prior to the Pulse tragedy. As of 2022, Contigo had funded and sustained 44 new positions for Queer leaders and leaders of color. These leaders are driving an intersectional movement advancing social, racial, economic, and gender justice across Central Florida.
  • Existing organizations have launched new and life-changing movement-building programs and services based on cultural competence, humility, and compassion for Queer communities of color. As of 2022, Contigo funding had launched and sustained 28 programs serving Queer communities of color at existing organizations. Since the Pulse tragedy, these organizations have deepened their relationship and meaningful engagement with those communities.
  • New organizations and groups led by and for Queer people of color were sustained, expanded, strengthened, and cemented. As of 2022, Contigo funding had launched and sustained over 20 new organizations and groups in the region, 12 of those led by and for Queer people of color.  In the aftermath of the Pulse tragedy, these organizations and groups have matured and created permanent sanctuary spaces for community and leadership opportunities for other Queer leaders and leaders of color.

How We Measure Our Grantee’s Success: 

  1. Base-Building (depth): the number of new Queer people & people of color strengthened as leaders and engaged in opportunities to lead in our intersectional movement (expanding an active, visible, and empowered membership base); AND
  2. Overall Reach (scale): the number of overall Queer people of color reached and meaningfully impacted by the group’s or program’s work (work of group is broadly felt by specifically targeted community); AND
  3. Growing Our Movement (intersectional collaboration): advancing work in a way that builds bridges with alike and unlikely accomplices (building and working in coalitions that are both Queer and POC and those not part of those communities you identify with around Queer POC Justice and navigating healthy conflict management and resolution – both are central parts of our work and skill sets for us to be able to function and progress forward together as a strong intersectional movement for collective liberation).

Across all measures of success, Contigo Fund understands the importance of both scale and depth. For example, a large event may be valuable because it engages hundreds of people in the movement, but so is a smaller, in-depth training program that helps a dozen people develop as leaders who are able to bring and activate even more leaders into the movement.

Who Is Eligible to Apply Contigo Fund seeks proposals for efforts based in Central Florida supporting Queer communities historically marginalized by society from equal opportunity and power and advancing social, racial, economic, and gender justice:

  • Organization must be based in Central Florida (Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Polk, and Volusia Counties), and proposed efforts must uniquely serve Central Florida’s Queer communities.
  • Groups or proposed projects/programs must be directed/led by Queer leader(s).
  • Efforts should help sustain and grow capacity and forward movement to empower Queer people living at the intersection of marginalized identities, particularly Black and Latinx individuals, immigrants, and other communities of color.
  • Must be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  To apply, groups do not need 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.  Those lacking 501(c)(3) status can apply under the auspices of fiscal sponsorship of an established 501(c)(3).  Fiscally sponsored groups are required to submit a fiscal sponsorship agreement outlining the roles of both the fiscal sponsor and the fiscally sponsored group and signed by representatives of both parties.  If your group does not yet have a fiscal sponsor, contact the Foundation Manager for assistance connecting with potential sponsors. 
  • Fiscally sponsored groups need to have an oversight and accountability structure in place or develop a plan for such a structure before receiving a grant.  The oversight and accountability structure for the group can be a Community Steering or Advisory Committee of local community members that reflects the community the group seeks to support, setting the vision of the project and guiding its work like a board of directors.  Please note the oversight and accountability structure is separate from the fiscal sponsor’s governance structure.  The community steering / advisory committee informs the group’s work in alignment with the group’s mission and oversight of the group’s financial health and executive leadership.  The oversight and accountability structure in place – or plan to develop one – must include an outline of the roles and responsibilities of the committee and any staff, including how the committee will oversee staff.
  • Extreme preference will be given to organizations with less than $1 million in expenses.
  • Regardless of their structure or age, the applicant’s proposal should demonstrate their alignment with Contigo’s values and potential for advancing its vision and theory of change.
  • Preference is given to projects and programs that respond to a distinct unmet need in the target communities and employ medium-term to long-term solutions.
  • Applicants must be a part of a learning community and will be asked to participate with other community leaders, including convenings, leadership, organizational development training, and peer learning opportunities. Contigo will cover training costs, and the applicant core staff and board or community steering committee or community advisory board members should be prepared to devote appropriate time and thought to participate actively in these opportunities.

Grants for this annual cycle can be made up to a maximum of $20,000 in prioritized funds and up to $1,500 in discretionary funds. Submissions are limited to one application per organization (joint applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis), and applicants can apply for a 12-month grant up to the maximum. They must demonstrate how a proposal would be accomplished in that period for the amount requested.

Who Makes Grant Decisions Contigo Fund serves as a participatory and social justice model for grantmaking in which decision-making power about grants is in the hands of the communities most impacted by funding decisions. Our approach brings the principle of “nothing about us without us” to philanthropy and recognizes that those closest to the challenges we face are closest to the solutions we need. Contigo leadership convened and trained a Community Steering Committee (CSC) for the All Black Lives Grants Cycle of 8-10 key Black LGBTQ+ leaders. Officially established in December 2021, members of the CSC make all grantmaking decisions. All members agree to a conflict of interest agreement, including conflicts arising from employment, financial benefit, personal relationships, professional relationships, or other interests. If applicable, any one condition may disqualify a reviewer from participating in an application or proposal review. A conflict of interest may be real or apparent.  Submission Instructions To be considered for funding, submit your application and supporting documents by the deadline no later than 5 pm EST, Monday, July 10th. Send your proposal via the Contigo grant portal on the Contigo Fund website. If you have any issues with the portal, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Contigo’s Foundation Manager, Joél Junior Morales, at [email protected].   You will receive a confirmation of receipt of your application within 48 hours of the submission deadline. Annual grant awards will be announced by late-July 2023. The role of the Foundation Manager for Contigo Fund includes supporting applicants and grantees through the grant submission, reporting, evaluation process and participation in leadership training opportunities. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Joél Junior Morales at [email protected]

Grants will not be awarded to:

  • Efforts outside of Central Florida
  • For charity, direct cash assistance, or individual scholarships
  • 501(c)4 organizations
  • Efforts led by other philanthropic grantmaking institutions or for the purpose of re-granting
  • Proposed projects/programs NOT directed/led by Black LGBTQ+ leader(s)
  • Health service organizations (including those that operate pharmacies) with revenue generated from the 340B drug program  that does not reinvest  100% of that revenue  into community programs for and led by impacted communities
  • Sponsorships for conferences, fundraisers, or other annual or one-time events …exceptions may be made for service / educational events, such as strategic conferences and convenings that are part of larger movement strategy; however, they must demonstrate how it would advance a strong long-term systemic impact on target communities in a way that lives beyond that event

Receiving a grant from All Black Lives Fund will not preclude an organization from applying for additional support from Contigo Fund as it becomes available.

For more information about this opportunity and for those that meet our criteria, we invite you to review additional background and submit your grant request through our online portal: HERE

Check Out the 2021 & 2022 All Black Lives Fund Grant Recipients