The Black Trans Fund, incubated at Groundswell Fund, and Grantmakers for Girls of Color launched the Holding a Sister Initiative, the first-ever national fund explicitly dedicated to transgender girls and gender-expansive youth of color.

Dr. Monique W. Morris, president and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, and Bré Rivera, program director of the Black Trans Fund are together spearheading the Holding a Sister Initiative to bring attention and resources to organizations supporting trans girls of color, normalize concern and investment in their success, and create learning opportunities for cis and trans girls of color to move in deeper community with one another.

The initiative will award $1 million in grants in the first year, and will ultimately engage trans girls and gender-expansive youth of color in the decision-making process for selecting grantees on an ongoing basis.

"History has shown that trans girls of color are catalysts for health equity as well as racial and social justice," said Dr. Morris. "They deserve to be heard, to have joy, to be safe and free, and to grow up healthy and thrive without fear. It is our duty to love, support, and resource the youngest of those who are most overlooked and have the least support."

While there has been an increase in donor attention to work led by people of color, it has yet to translate into significant gains in funding for trans and gender-expansive youth of color.

According to recent regional studies in Detroit, South Florida and New Orleans, trans women of color face higher levels of hunger, homelessness, unemployment, incarceration and discrimination. At the same time, the majority of this year's record-breaking anti-trans legislation are targeted to affect youth, including bills that prevent transgender athletes from playing in school sports and the "Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act." Research has show sharp rises in suicide attempts among trans youth during 2020 and 2021.

"The reality is transgender and gender-expansive youth of color require more attention, and resources to interrupt the staggering intersections of trauma and crises they experience," said Bré Rivera.

"The Holding a Sister Initiative will shine a light on a community that is often excluded in the national discourse of gender equity, and create a container for important conversations between and among cis and trans girls and gender expansive youth of of color about how to move in deeper solidarity with one another."
Bré Rivera

The initiative joins existing funding intermediaries who have been leading the work to resource trans communities and engage trans people in the direction and distribution of resources, including the Third Wave Fund, the Black Trans Travel Fund, and Fund for Trans Generations. As funding partners, the Black Trans Fund and Grantmakers for Girls of Color aim to expand and transform philanthropy's investments in trans and gender-nonconforming youth. The initiative will move resources to organizations serving and led by trans girls and young women of color. It will also amplify narratives that elevate the humanity, dignity and leadership of trans and gender-expansive youth of color, as well as the ways their experiences and contributions have been overlooked, minimized and targeted by oppositional and systemic forces, and larger social justice movements.

The Holding a Sister Initiative will be led by a manager, who will steward culture change through grantmaking, capacity building, narrative shifting and philanthropic organizing. The position is currently open for applicants.

About Grantmakers for Girls of Color

Fiscally-sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Grantmakers for Girls of Color (G4GC) works to mobilize resources and amplify transformative organizing work to dismantle systems of oppression led by girls and gender-expansive youth of color. Grantmakers for Girls of Color openly invites partners and stakeholders to co-create an inclusive space in support of girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth of color across programmatic issues and geographic areas. Learn more by visiting Grantmakers for Girls of Color.

About the Black Trans Fund

The Black Trans Fund is a groundbreaking endeavor: the first national fund in the country dedicated to uplifting and resourcing Black trans social justice leaders. BTF seeks to address the lack of funding for Black trans communities in the U.S. through direct grantmaking, capacity building support, and funder organizing to transform philanthropy. Learn more by visiting Black Trans Fund.

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