The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition is pleased to announce that it has been selected as a recipient of the 2014 Queer Youth Fund, a $100,000 grant from the Liberty Hill Foundation which supports youth-led LGBTQ development and empowerment.
PSEC is the first organization in Pennsylvania to receive this honor in the grant’s 12-year history. The Queer Youth Fund will dramatically increase PSEC’s capacity as youth activists throughout the commonwealth. PSEC will use the support of the Queer Youth Fund to further its mission of securing safer schools and communities for all youth in Pennsylvania, and to promote youth-led advocacy efforts.
Over 50 organizations throughout the nation applied for the final year of the Queer Youth Fund. PSEC submitted a letter of intent in October 2013 and was selected as a semi-finalist in February 2014. The coalition was notified it was a finalist in May, and following, the Queer Youth Fund sent representatives meet PSEC state leaders for a site visit in Pittsburgh this past June. The full Queer Youth Fund committee made their final decision in Los Angeles at the end of July and informed PSEC of their decision on August 20th. Previous grantees include the Boston Area Gay and Lesbian Youth (BAGLY) and the New York City-based FIERCE.
PSEC will stagger the grant equally over four years to ensure the basic funding for essential outreach and advocacy. The Queer Youth Fund will fund three critical parts of PSEC:
- General operations for the Bayard Rustin House.
The future headquarters for PSEC will be located in Harrisburg directly across the street from the State Capitol. The Queer Youth Fund will support the utilities for the building and primary operation costs.
- Increase access to statewide LGBTQ youth leadership opportunities.
PSEC has long recognized that the ability to afford the time and financial costs of attending regional + state meetings is an insurmountable barrier for some youth. These leadership opportunities are critical to the development of strong advocates. The coalition will now be able to provide stipends for leaders that will allow all young leaders to participate and be fully activated in the statewide LGBTQ youth movement.
- Develop the long-term financial sustainability of PSEC.
The Queer Youth Fund will power PSEC’s leadership through crafting a strong long-term fundraising plan. This work will allow PSEC’s operations to be sustained and grow.
Since forming in April 2011, PSEC has operated on conservative budgets which have been almost entirely secured through private donations. The Queer Youth Fund will be a ‘gateway grant’ for the coalition which will help open new doors for future significant investments that will fully power the Pennsylvania LGBTQ youth movement in the future.