In August 2019, the Campaign for Southern Equality awarded $30,000 in community grants focused on transforming the landscape of LGBTQ health equity in the South. This infusion of funding to organizations on the leading edge of serving LGBTQ Southerners supported new models in the South that increase access to care and ensure that people are treated with dignity and respect in health care settings.
Read more about the organizations that received grants during this special Southern Equality Fund grant round. They are: Western NC Community Health Services, Gender Benders, CHOICES Memphis, and the Nationz Foundation.
Western NC Community Health Services
Grant Amount: $10,000
Location and Services: Based in Asheville, NC, WNCCHS provides primary and HIV care to people across 18 Western NC counties.
Purpose of Grant: This grant will promote WNCCHS’ Transgender Health Program and their work to develop best practices, strategies and models for other Southern health centers striving to be more LGBTQ-inclusive.
Quote from Scott Parker, Director of Development and Collaboration: “WNCCHS is honored to receive this funding from the Campaign for Southern Equality to promote our Trans Health Program and our LGBTQ Health Initiative at our health center in Asheville. Working with CSE, we will be expanding our LGBTQ Health Initiative to other health centers across the deep south, offering best practices, replicable models, and support to staff and patients. We look forward to continuing our journey with CSE.”
Grant Amount: $10,000
Location and Services: Based in Greenville, SC, Gender Benders serves transgender and gender diverse Southerners through support, resources, and activism.
Purpose of Grant: This grant provided health, wellness, and resiliency services, including HIV testing and transgender health consultations, to more than 70 attendees of Camp Gender Bender, an annual summer convening of transgender Southerners.
Quote from Ivy Gibson-Hill, Executive Director: “Gender Benders is so grateful for this support from Campaign for Southern Equality, which is allowing us to offer a much more robust health and wellness component to our programming at Camp GB this summer. With CSE’s support, interested campers will be able to start Hormone Replacement Therapy, access free HIV testing, receive mental health support, receive one-on-one herbal medicine consultation to promote mental health and physical transition, and so much more. Knowing the barriers transgender Southerners face in accessing healthcare, we believe these services will be life-changing for many of our attendees, and none of it would be possible without the support of CSE.”
We are honored to support these four incredible organizations, which are using innovation and grit to create new models to help Southern LGBTQ people access the care they need and deserve. This funding round is about reaching someone with the HIV test or life-saving information that they need right now, and it’s also about creating models that can be replicated across the South in the longer-term.” – Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Campaign for Southern Equality
CHOICES: Memphis Center for Reproductive Health
Grant Amount: $5,000
Location and Services: Based in Memphis, TN, providing reproductive health services, including transgender health care, in the mid-South.
Purpose of Grant: CHOICES will provide free sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing to LGBTQ people in a pilot project with OUTMemphis; community members will also be provided with education and referrals to care.
Quote from Kathryn M. Leopard, Assistant Director:
“CHOICES currently provides healthcare to almost 200 transgender patients in the mid-south region. These patients come to CHOICES for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and general sexual/reproductive wellness care. With funds from the Southern Equality Fund, CHOICES is excited to work with our local partner to provide free STI testing and linkage to care for LGBTQ persons in Memphis.”
Grant Amount: $5,000
Location and Services: Based in Richmond, VA, Nationz Foundation provides HIV education and prevention services to LGBTQ people in Central Virginia.
Purpose of Grant: The grant will support staff positions focused on HIV testing and phlebotomy services and support AIM 2 INSPIRE, a project supporting LGBTQ people impacted by housing instability.
Quote from Zakia McKensey, Director:
“Nationz works with LGBTQIA+ communities, with a specific focus on transgender women of color, because these communities are disproportionately affected by HIV and STIs and face higher rates of discrimination and access to medical care. Our work to provide emergency housing, food from our Food Pantry, and direct linkage to care and treatment makes a big difference in our clients’ lives, and we’re grateful to expand and deepen those services with this grant from the Campaign for Southern Equality.”