The Gay & Lesbian Fund supports programs that empower people to participate more effectively in their communities and their state. We believe that the active participation of many will result in a stronger, more inclusive democracy. Civic education, coalition building, leadership development, community activism, and public policy advocacy are a few examples of Civic Participation activities initiated by our grantees.
The success stories of our Civic Participation grantees are numerous:
- The Community Foundation Serving Greeley and Weld County believes in the spirit of community and local philanthropy. Since 1997, the local foundation has provided more than $12.2 million to its community in the form of grants, scholarships, and program support, including fundraising efforts that sent local World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C., to see their national war memorials.
- In 2011, the Iliff School of Theology on the University of Denver’s campus named Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, their first Iliff Courage Award winner. Judy was honored for her courage, persistence, and determination after her son’s death in 1998 in bringing hate crime legislation, inclusive of lesbian, gay, and transgender people, to the forefront of American politics.
- Kids Voting Mesa County encourages young people to become informed voters. In 2010, students at Fruita Monument High School in western Colorado formed the region’s first high school civics task force to specifically teach local youth about the importance of being informed citizens and using their right to vote.
- PeaceJam aims to inspire a new generation of peacemakers. The nonprofit’s annual conference provides a venue for Nobel Peace Laureates, such as the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to pass on their spirit, skills, and wisdom to hundreds of youth, helping future leaders commit to positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world.
- By filling the leadership pipeline with a diverse, critical mass of women, The White House Project works to advance leadership in small communities all the way up to the U.S. Presidency. In Colorado, their “Go Lead” program is a series of monthly trainings designed to increase leadership roles for local women and give them the skills to be effective advocates in their communities.
Explore the many ways in which our grantees are building a better Colorado by reading their stories in our “Grantee Stories” section.