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.Apply on Funding Site