Ron Guillard, left and Roger Wedell

Texas Pride Impact Fund accepting applications for first round of grants

Tammye Nash | Managing Editor
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Texas Pride Impact Fund is gearing up for its first round of grants, and board members are encouraging potential recipients to get their applications in. The deadline to apply is April 16.

TPIF is a community foundation dedicated to securing the future of the LGBT community in Texas by raising and dispersing funds to help existing organizations and initiatives, board members Ron Guillard and Roger Wedell explained this week. TPIF doesn’t provide services or run programs itself, they noted. Instead, the foundation focuses on raising money to give to the agencies and organizations already providing services and operating programs.

TPIF was founded in 2015,and at the end of that year, Board President Guillard said, “we received a very generous donation of $100,000 in unrestricted funds. Then at the beginning of 2016, we started our First 100 Funders campaign,” with participants pledging donations of either $3,000, $5,000 or $10,000 within that first year.

“That money is used to fund our initial grants and to cover the expenses incurred by our all-volunteer board, ”Guillard added.

“We have no paid staff. It’s all volunteers.”

To date, Wedell, the board secretary, said, TPIF has “commitments nearing $500,000. We’re pretty happy with that.”

Now, the foundation is ready to start giving some of that money away.

“We have the information upon our website, and requests for proposals have gone out through social media and in emails across the state,” Wedell said. “The application deadline is April 16. Organizations can apply for up to $10,000, and we have $120,000 to give away in this first grant cycle.”

He noted that while TPIC is initially committing to one grant cycle a year, “our goal is to get to two grant cycles a year. But that depends on having the volunteer staff to carry out the process and the funding to meet that commitment.”

TPIF looks for grant applicants that are stable, can show evidence they can carry out the project or program for which they are seeking funds, and are able to document the outcome of that project, the two men said. Applicants must be a nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) IRS status, or they must have a relationship with some organization that has such status.

“As a statewide LGBT community foundation,” Guillard added, “if necessary, we would have the option to network [an applicant] with other organizations” to help them meet the tax-exempt nonprofit status requirement.

Funding priorities for this first grant cycle were set based on results of a needs assessment the foundation conducted in 2017.

Those priorities are, first, “in the general areas of employment,” with a specific focus on skills building and helping increase the employability of transgender Texans, Wedell said.

Another priority is in the area of healthcare, with a focus on building capacity, increasing access, especially increasing access to health care for transgender people, and improving cultural competency for healthcare professionals.

“What we found in conducting the needs assessment is that even when LGBTQ people have routine access to healthcare, the healthcare providers are often uncomfortable dealing with or uninformed on specific health issues,” Wedell said. “So we don’t really need to add healthcare providers. What we need is to bring existing providers up to speed” in addressing health issues and concerns in LGBT patients.

Other priorities focus on programs serving LGBT seniors, especially in areas of social isolation and financial self sufficiency; on serving LGBT people living in rural areas who are looking to find social outlets and support options; and on helping LGBT youth secure access to safe spaces and stable housing.

And in the age of The Trump Effect, TPIF is also prioritizing programs and initiatives addressing racism, sexism and gender normativism in the LGBT community, Wedell noted.

“It became very clear in our needs assessment that we have some real internal issues that our community needs to work on when it comes to our own ability to accept and engage with people who don’t look or act like us,” he said. “Our goal is to provide the seed and pilot funding for innovative approaches to solving at least some of these problems.”

Potential grant applicants have until March 30 to submit any questions about the process via email to [email protected] The homepage on the foundation’s website, TxPIF.org, has a “big, green button” that takes visitors directly to the grants page, where they can find information on application rules, the funding priorities and the application itself.

There is also a section of the website with information for those interested in getting involved as TPIF volunteers.

Wedell also said that TPIF will be hosting a series of townhall meetings across the state this year. The first meeting will be held in Austin, on a date still to be determined, with others to follow in Houston, North Texas, West Texas, Central Texas, East Texas and “possibly the Panhandle. We are working very hard to make sure that we are, quite literally, statewide in our outreach.”