The Oakland City Council awarded $1.3 million in city grants to support LGBTQ youth Tuesday evening.
Approximately 540 LGBTQ young people per year are expected to benefit from the grants, which were awarded to five nonprofit organizations over a three-year grant cycle.
Council President Pro Tem Rebecca Kaplan (At Large) identified the funding last year when the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth (OFCY) Planning and Oversight Committee (POC) initially recommended a package of grant awards that did not adequately fund the needs of LGBTQ youth.
“It’s vital that we stand up for all young people in our community by providing the resources and support they need for success,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan discovered in 2013 that there were extra funds available for youth programs due to economic growth and asked city officials to allocate additional funds to OFCY that include providers of programs for LGBTQ youth.
In February, OFCY released a Request for Proposals – and the POC recommended five finalists at its May meeting.
Health Initiatives for Youth, La Clinica de la Raza, Destiny Arts Center, Save Our LGBTQYouth (a program of the AIDS Project of the East Bay and SMAAC Youth Center) and Youth UpRising were awarded grants at the council’s direction.
These pre-existing and new providers will provide access for LGBTQ youth across Oakland to support and services.
“We know kids in Oakland are dealing with so much,” said Cristy Johnston Limon, executive director of Destiny Arts Center, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower youth to find their voice through performing arts. “Together, we can provide powerful tools to address issues of bullying and violence and the day-to-day struggles of being a young person.”