Updated Jan 13, 2017

Arcus’ Global Religions Program

This program area supports pro-LGBT, faith-based organizing and advocacy within the context of the three Abrahamic faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Though Arcus’ initial religious investments were focused primarily in the United States, the foundation is continually expanding its grantmaking to encompass faith-based efforts taking place around the world, particularly in the Global South, including Africa, Latin America, developing countries in Asia, and the Middle East. Strategic Funding Areas: Grantmaking within the Global Religions Program is governed by two high-level strategies: Support LGBT-affirming religious leaders and faith advocates. Arcus seeks to build vibrant networks of clergy and lay advocates who are fully committed to fostering greater LGBT acceptance and to protecting the human and civil rights of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Supporting organizations and projects that recruit, nurture, and connect pro-LGBT religious activists, particularly in marginalized communities, is crucial to the success of this strategy. To oppose the use and abuse of religion to deny basic rights and protections. While many people of faith testify movingly to the liberatory aspects of their faith, there can be no doubt that in many places around the world, religion is used to justify oppression and the denial of basic rights and protections for LGBT people. This strategy seeks to counter religiously-warranted homophobia and discrimination by identifying, training, and deploying pro-LGBT religious leaders to challenge the dominance of religious conservatism in public discourse. Priorities:Arcus’ Global Religions Program supports pro-LGBT, faith-based organizations and/or projects whose work is national, regional, or international in scope.Additionally, in an effort to provide more clarity and to further refine its grantmaking, Arcus has adopted the following priorities: Supporting a just, inclusive, and compassionate IslamExpand and strengthen the growing number of scholars, religious leaders and other activists advocating for better treatment, rights, and protections for LGBT Muslims.Building a network of LGBT-affirming faith leaders in AfricaRecruit, educate, and mobilize a growing network, focused primarily on southern and East Africa, of clergy, theologians, and other religious advocates willing to publicly oppose anti-gay violence and discrimination. Supporting fair and non-discriminatory religious exemption policies (U.S. only) Acknowledging that pro-LGBT faith leaders must be at the forefront of any public debate over religious exemptions, Arcus intends to focus its investments in the following ways: • Mobilizing moderate and progressive faith leaders in key states • Engaging African American clergy and other community leaders • Promoting messaging and communications targeted towards religious communities • Strengthening interfaith efforts to guarantee fair and nondiscriminatory policies Leveraging strategic opportunities in historically resistant faith communities Arcus invests strategically in religious communities, which, while still resistant to LGBT acceptance, still afford opportunities for making limited but significant progress. These communities include historic black churches, evangelical communities, Roman Catholic churches, and others. Please note that successful applicants for funding through the Arcus Global Religions Program will fall under at least one of the two basic strategies and fit within at least one of the four current priorities. Additionally, the work for which you are seeking funding must be national, regional, and/or international in scope.
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Open Year RoundDeadline

Mandatory Requirements

Implemented In:
RegionAfrica, Asia and Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America / Caribbean, North America and Middle East and North Africa
Focus AreasDemocracy, Human Rights, and Governance
Social and Behavior Change
Eligibility Considerations What we fund:
  • General operating support
  • Project support for specific programs
  • Public policy advocacy/organizing campaigns
  • Public policy research/dissemination
  • Capital projects
  • Capacity building
  • Multi-year support
Note: Arcus Foundation does not fund individuals or support requests to pay off debts. In addition, the foundation does not support political activities or attempts to influence specific legislation.

Application Directions

How to Apply for Funding Thank you for your interest in the Arcus Foundation. We are always looking for innovative ideas that advance informed and engaged communities. If your organization is eligible to be funded by Arcus, the next step is to identify which specific program and funding area applies to your program. The steps below describe the Arcus grantmaking process, and the estimated timeframes associated with each stage. 1. Submit an Initial Funding Concept (IFC) – The first step in submitting an initial request for funding or a concept is to use our online system. Clicking on the link at the bottom of this page will bring you to a short IFC form within our grantmaking portal. Once received, it will be directed to the appropriate program staff for review and you can expect to hear from us within 3-4 weeks. 2. Submission of a Letter of Inquiry and full Proposal – If your organization’s work aligns with our values, strategic priorities and EEO requirement, your organization could be invited to submit a Letter of Inquiry, and a subsequent full Proposal, which includes the submission of additional organizational and project-specific documentation. 3. Proposal review and funding determination – The LOI and Proposal review may include program officers, directors, vice presidents, the Executive Director and the Board of Trustees. The timeframe varies depending on the size and scope of the proposal. Arcus program and grants management staff will be in contact with you during this process and will notify you of the final decision.
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