News Briefs: LGBTQ groups to receive COVID grants

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday February 24, 2021
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Source LGBTQ+ Center Executive Director Brian Poth. Photo: Courtesy Source LGBTQ+ Center
Source LGBTQ+ Center Executive Director Brian Poth. Photo: Courtesy Source LGBTQ+ Center

At least two LGBTQ organizations are in line to receive a portion of $17.3 million in grants to help communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The funding is from the Center at Sierra Health Foundation, in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency. There are 110 community-based organizations throughout the Golden State receiving the grants, according to a news release.

The grants range from $50,000 to $300,000 for regional or statewide outreach in workplaces and for community health, the release stated.

One of the LGBTQ organizations receiving community health funding is the Source LGBTQ+ Center. Based in Visalia, it serves the queer community in Fresno, Tulare, and Kings counties, Executive Director Brian Poth told the Bay Area Reporter in a recent phone interview.

Poth said the center hasn't yet received the funds, but should soon. It plans to start outreach work next month. The center in anticipating receiving $50,000, Poth said.

"We're following the same kind of model we used to reach census tracts," Poth said, explaining that the grant will allow the Source to answer people's questions about COVID vaccinations, testing, and other issues.

The Source hopes to have informational happy hours, Poth said. Those would likely take place virtually until in-person events can happen.

Poth said the center usually serves about 1,200 people annually when open. Because of COVID restrictions, the center now sees people by appointment only. He added that the center has a reach of about 15,000 people online in the three counties.

Equality California will also receive a grant for community health. Spokesman Samuel Garrett-Pate stated that he couldn't confirm the grant amount, but the LGBTQ rights group plans to launch a statewide campaign "to educate and engage LGBTQ+ Californians around COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and availability, testing, workplace safety and other key prevention methods."

"The campaign will include public education and outreach in both English and Spanish," Garrett-Pate added. "You've probably seen the CDC reporting that the LGBTQ+ community may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 — confirming what we've suspected since the beginning of the pandemic. We're excited to continue our work educating LGBTQ+ Californians about COVID-19 and connecting folks with the tools, resources and support they need during this devastating crisis."

He was referring to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report earlier this month that indicated "sexual minority persons in the U.S. have higher self-reported prevalences of several underlying health conditions associated with severe outcomes from COVID-19 than do heterosexual persons, both in the overall population and among racial/ethnic minority groups."

In announcing the funding, CDSS stated that community-based organizations have been providing critical services during the pandemic to those disproportionately affected.

"These projects will help ensure that information about COVID-19, the vaccine, workers' rights, and crucial resources, including public benefits, reaches California's most disproportionately impacted populations via trusted community partners," CDSS spokesman Scott Murray wrote in an email.

Governor Gavin Newsom praised the program.

"Systemic inequalities in our government and health care systems have left many Californians at a higher risk for COVID-19," Newsom stated. "Building on the successful infrastructure created to encourage underserved communities to participate in the census, we must reach these disproportionately affected Californians through trusted messengers and community-based partners to minimize the spread of the virus, overcome vaccine hesitancy, and save lives."

The various organizations receiving grants will work for six months on the project. The Center at Sierra Health Foundation is administering the funds on behalf of LWDA. The California Community Foundation is administering the COVID-19 outreach project on behalf of CDSS in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange counties and will announce its contracted partners soon.

In addition to LGBTQ organizations, the grants will go to agencies serving Black/African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino/as, Middle Eastern and North African, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, people with disabilities and deaf and hard of hearing populations, older adults, people with limited English proficiency, and people living in multi-generational households.

Fellowship open to trans, nonbinary artists of color

The Center for Cultural Power in Oakland has announced a call for submissions for its Disruptors Fellowship. After a successful first year, the 2021 fellowship offers a three-month learning program to 10 TV writers of color who identify as trans and/or nonbinary, disabled, undocumented, and/or formerly undocumented immigrants.

According to a news release, the fellowship, co-created in 2020 by the Center for Cultural Power and 5050by2020, aims to disrupt Hollywood and its persistent lack of diverse narratives by offering emerging writers the opportunity to use their unique voices to tell their stories.

"For us, it is important to support cultural shifts and disrupt the norm so that communities who have been marginalized and kept out of writing rooms are able to break through," stated Favianna Rodriguez, president and co-founder of the Center for Cultural Power.

Joey Soloway of Amazon's "Transparent" remains as an adviser. The fellowship provides wraparound support including mentorship and master classes from a faculty of veteran and recent breakthrough television writers and showrunners. Mentors for this year will include Jennifer Castillo ("Vida"), Zackery Alexzader Stephens ("Q-Force"), and Carolina Paz ("Orange is the New Black," "Grey's Anatomy").

The program also includes a strong component in the business of Hollywood. A master class in pitching television shows will be taught by Trey Callaway ("CSI:NY," "I Know What You Did Last Summer"). Kathryn Schotthoefer of Original Media Ventures will teach a master class on intellectual property.

The application process is open through March 19. For more information and to apply, visit

Virtual event to look at juvenile delinquency

The Young Women's Freedom Center recently released its "Through Their Eyes" report that looks at cis and trans young women and girls, trans young men and boys, and gender-expansive youth who have had to navigate the San Francisco juvenile delinquency system.

"'Through their Eyes' is a call to listen to the wisdom of young people who have had to navigate society's failures and the tremendous harm we have caused," Jessica Nowlan, executive director of YWFC, wrote in a letter accompanying the report. "In their bravery and honesty, we hear the stark truth, the truth that is the hardest to face yet forces us to step back and look again, to go deeper to make the changes needed."

YWFC will hold a virtual event Thursday, March 4, at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, to highlight the report and lift up the voices in it. To register, visit

SF homeownership expo

The San Francisco Homeownership Expo takes place next week and the three-day online forum includes sessions for homeowners, renters, and homebuyers.

The expo is produced by HomeownershipSF, a citywide collaboration of experienced nonprofit housing agencies that serves as a centralized hub for local affordable housing resources. It connects renters, homebuyers, and homeowners with education, counseling, and resources, according to its website.

The expo starts Thursday, March 4, with the session for homeowners. That's followed by Friday's workshops for renters. Both take place from 4 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, March 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a virtual exhibit hall for all housing needs and workshops for homebuyers.

The expo is free. To register and for more information, visit

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