Contigo Fund Announces New Fiscal Home at Proteus Fund, a Leading Vehicle for Social Justice Philanthropy; Executive Director Expresses Appreciation to Our Fund Foundation for Incubating Contigo
Orlando, FL – Today the Contigo Fund announced that it was transitioning to a new structure, becoming a fiscally sponsored project of the Proteus Fund, a leading philanthropic institution that houses a variety of social justice funds and initiatives across the United States. Contigo was founded in 2016 to support LGBTQ+ communities and communities of color in the wake of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, and was previously housed at Our Fund Foundation, the LGBTQ+ community foundation of South Florida.
“The transition to our new home at Proteus is an exciting next step for Contigo,” said Marco Antonio Quiroga, executive director of Contigo. “Over the past five years, Contigo has grown from a moment of crisis into a philanthropic fund that is uniquely and authentically community-driven by those most impacted and has built up an ecosystem of organizations and leaders working for lasting change for LGBTQ+ communities, immigrants, and communities of color. We’ve achieved so much these past five years–but the process of recovery and empowerment is one that takes decades not years. After our achievements of the past five years, this new structure will give us the autonomy and systems we need to be sustainable for the next five decades.”
Since its emergence as the nation’s first and only LGBTQ+ Latinx fund, Contigo has awarded over $2 million in LGBTQ+ movement and power building grants as well as emergency mutual aid to organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first five months of 2021, Contigo awarded its largest round of grants since its founding, distributing over $340,000 through its annual funding cycle and an additional $100,000 through the All Black Lives Fund responding to last year’s historic summer of racial justice uprisings. In just five years, Contigo has grown to become the largest funder of LGBTQ+ communities of color in the U.S. South and a nationally recognized model for intersectional social justice grantmaking that is led by and for communities that are most impacted by the issues we are seeking to address.
“We’re forever grateful to Our Fund Foundation for incubating us and supporting our work in so many ways,” Quiroga said. “Our Fund’s partnership and support have been essential these past five years–especially in 2016, when we were a fledgling philanthropic fund working to respond to the painful realities of the Pulse tragedy for our communities.”
“Our Fund is grateful for our role in rebuilding and reimagining marginalized communities in Central Florida following the Pulse massacre,” says David Jobin, President & CEO of Our Fund Foundation. “While we were outside of our geographic focus working in Central Florida, our experience in assessing needs and distributing funds in the LGBTQ+ space made us an obvious choice to help launch and lead Contigo Fund. Because of Marco Antonio Quiroga’s inspired leadership of the Contigo Fund, we are able to transition the Fund to Proteus Fund so it can continue to uplift and support historically disenfranchised communities.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Contigo to our community of fiscally sponsored projects,” said Paul Di Donato, President and CEO of the Proteus Fund. “Contigo’s strong track record of building impactful movements for social justice in Central Florida is a natural fit for Proteus and our ecosystem of initiatives and funds supporting advocates, experienced and emerging leaders, and dynamic organizations on the frontlines of advancing racial, gender, and queer justice and inclusive democracy.”
The process of transitioning to a new structure began more than a year ago, when a strategic planning process identified the need for a new fiscal home given Contigo’s growth. Our Fund Foundation, Contigo’s advisory board of local community leaders, and other key partners all helped inform and shape the direction of Contigo’s new structure.
As a fiscally sponsored project at Proteus, Contigo’s advisory board is taking on more responsibility for broader leadership of Contigo beyond its previous role as a community grantmaking board. The advisory board’s expanded duties will include reviewing Contigo’s annual budget and finances as well as overseeing the work of the executive director. Two advisory board members, Ashley Figueroa and Joél Junior Morales, have been appointed liaisons to work closely with Proteus and the executive director in fulfilling the advisory board’s governance roles.
“We’re excited about this new structure, because it places even more of Contigo’s decision-making in the hands of our community-driven advisory board–which is what Contigo’s model is all about,” said Figueroa. “The advisory board is also especially excited about the way that Proteus integrates social justice values into all aspects of its work, from grantmaking to human resources management.”
The Contigo Fund was originally seeded by the Arcus Foundation and a group of other funders seeking to support Central Florida’s LGBTQ+ communities in the wake of Pulse.
“Having been there from the start, it’s especially exciting to see Contigo take this major step in its evolution,” said Desiree Flores, U.S. Social Justice Program Director of the Arcus Foundation, which continues to be one of Contigo’s leading funding partners. “More power in the hands of local community leaders, support from a social justice philanthropic institution like Proteus; this and more positions Contigo to deepen its impact even further in the years to come.”