TEP Foundation receives $40,000 hate crimes grant from Gill

In what is perhaps one of the largest ever grants for a local GLBT organization, a $40,000 two-year grant has been given to the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation to help raise awareness of Tennessee hate crimes laws.

The grant comes from The Tides Foundation,a philanthropic partnership that includes the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, the Gill Foundation and other anonymous donors.

The purpose of the grant award is for the TEP Foundation to increase the awareness and usage of the Tennessee hate crimes laws that already includes sexual orientation but not gender identity.  

"We look forward to affecting hate crimes and the way they are prosecuted in Tennessee for the next few years. It is one thing to have fought hard to be included in the laws and another for those laws to be enforced," said TEP Foundation project director Shawn Stewart, Ph.D. " Tennessee needs to take the next step of making the state safe from hate for everyone, including members of the transgender community who still aren't protected. This is a challenging task and the TEP Foundation is excited to be at the forefront of the issue. We  look forward to working with our partners like the TN Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence who have been making a difference and fighting the fight for many years now.”

Randy Cox, president of the TEP Foundation, said the grant would allow the foundation to work to educate the law enforcement community about a law that is already on the books.

“This grant not only helps the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation with our mission to educate, but affords us the opportunity to implement a strategy around a law that is already in place," Cox said. "We will now be able to raise awareness and educate law enforcement and district attorneys that hate crimes are happening in Tennessee and there is something they can do.

I am also very pleased that national organizations are taking notice of Tennessee and are funding our activities. Thanks to The State Equality Fund and Tide Foundation for their support.”

For further information on the project and to find out how to volunteer, please contact Shawn Stewart at drstewhccs@yahoo.com.  To report a hate crime, go to http://www.tnep.org/html/hatecrimereport.php .

The Tennessee Equality Project Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in Tennessee to educate the public about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues. Its board and funding are distinct from the Tennessee Equality Project.

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