Fresh off the heels of gifting $50,000 in pandemic relief to drag performers across the Greater Toronto Area, Community One Foundation (a non-profit organisation that provides grants to LGBTTIQQ2S+ community projects), is announcing the recipients of their 2020 Rainbow Grants. The Rainbow Grant program, which began in 1980, is one of many foundation initiatives supporting the LGBTTIQQ2S+ community, and has funded millions over the years, through donations from individual donors and corporate partners.
For 40 years, Rainbow Grants have helped nurture the early days of many Greater Toronto LGBTTIQQ2S community initiatives, grassroots projects, established organisations, and one-off projects. There are three different tiers of grants awarded; General (for projects or people that are not a part of an organisation, charity, or corporation), Foundation (for registered charities) and the newly created James Stewart Rainbow Grant, (available to a charitable organisation that provides a transformative project for the betterment of the community for years to come for up to $10,000) – created thanks to a generous bequest from famed mathematician and philanthropist, James Stewart.
“Our approach to giving has always been community focused first,” says Community One Foundation co-chair, Andrew Mainprize.
“With the added challenges of the pandemic, our allocations committee took extra care to make sure the unprecedented $80,000 in grants delivered this year were gifted to the organisations in the GTA who need it most.”
“Community One at its heart has always sought opportunities and connections across our community to identify and support programs/initiatives that will continue to support and enrich the GTA,” says co-chair Terry Greene. “Since 1980, we’ve helped support essential organisations including The 519, Buddies In Badtimes Theatre, Black CAP, The ArQuives, and many others. Now more than ever, we’re grateful to be able to keep our tradition of giving alive during these trying times.”
The following is a list of Rainbow Grant recipients in 2020:
Queer Food Guides – promoting skill-sharing and care in LGBTQ+ communities through food, by inviting LGBTQ+ people who are 50 years or older to host cooking classes with an intergenerational audience. Each session will include free food care packages delivered to people from the community who are in need.
Mishmeres Nefashos – an educational workshop for college and high school student organisations and other community groups within the Orthodox Jewish community, creating awareness amongst community members regarding LGBTQ+ issues. The program will empower participants to advocate and work towards more inclusion in their communities.
Cultivate – LGBTQ Yoga Summit – this summit will focus on QTBIPOC yoga practitioners who are striving to create space for marginalised communities. The goal is to enhance knowledge through sharing circles, share practices/models, and offer classes to the community.
Music in Community: Rainbow Writes – music workshops for LGBTTIQQ2S youth hosted at the legendary Phase One Studios. Under the mentorship of successful local LGBTQ2S+ artists, such as Lynx from Random Order, participating youth will collaborate on the creation of original songs of self-expression, advocacy, and celebration for their community.
Pay-it-Forward Community Nurturing – led by Paperhouse Outreach Collective and their youth-leaders. this group will “Pay-It-Forward” by co-hosting a 2-day mini-conference in Toronto, February 2021, for GTA-based 2SLGBTQIAP, Deaf, Mad, disabled, and BIPOC youth and community members.
The POZ-TO Awards – recognises those who are doing work in the community to raise funds for ASOs and awareness to fight the stigma associated with being HIV+. The 8th annual POZ-To Awards continues to build community and is slated to take place at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.
AQUA: Asian Queer Alliance – providing food/craft socials and educational or skill-building workshops. This group will organise at least one program per month, to support 70 queer Asian cis and trans women and non-binary people in the GTA.
Glory Hole Gallery – the world’s first, and only, miniature gallery space dedicated to the creative talents of LGBTQ2S+ artists; all while pushing the boundaries of creativity within a 12″x 12″ box. The gallery showcases the perspectives of diverse and intersectional LGBTQ2S+ experiences through collaborations, exhibitions, and talks.
Access Me – Boys in Chairs Collective – a new theatre piece created by Boys In Chairs Collective. This will be a co-produced premiere production with Cahoots Theatre at Toronto’s Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.
Searching for Eastman – Will enhance the immersive experience for audiences and adds video projection to stage design to create promotional material for dissemination to theatres.
Bind Safe – an educational video series and downloadable PDF to promote safe binding practices, education around the basics of gender dysphoria, and additional resources where both youth and parents can seek support.
Eating Disorders in the LGBTQ2S Community: A Toolkit for Compassion and Inclusivity for Every Body – creating toolkits, available in both hard copy and electronically, to provide information on eating disorders regarding the unique needs of the LGBTQ2S Community. It will focus on the requirements of the community who are directly affected by disordered eating and also provide guidance to professionals serving them.
Rainbows Pride in Scarborough (RPIS) – Galaxy Photo Express (GPE) continues from Disability Express Photo Shoot, allowing youth to educate and bring awareness to community organisations and the broader community. GPE will offer education, workshops, and training and decrease invisibility around ableism and sexism. GPE empowers LGBTQ2+ youth to become educators and leaders in their own communities.
Rainbow Cultural Adventures: Reducing Social Isolation Through the Arts – provides opportunities for LGBTQ+ seniors to experience Toronto’s cultural landscape through outings (from movies and cultural performances to educational speakers). This project will create connections among LGBTQ+ seniors, provide a sense of belonging, and foster community and pride.
Rainbow GPS Project for Asian LGBTQ Newcomers – an orientation project for East/Southeast Asian LGBTQ newcomers transitioning to live in Toronto. Through monthly drop-in sessions, LGBTQ concepts are introduced including gender identities, coming out, relationships, and online safety by learning the language, culture, and resources to navigate and connect to the Toronto LGBTQ community.
Sistema: Fay and Flay – this project will enable at-risk children, ages 6-14, in neighbourhoods across Toronto, and who are students in Sistema’s after-school program, to participate in workshops with drag stars Fay & Fluffy.
James Stewart Grant
The Gender Identity, Attraction & Orientation Puppetry Project – focusing on the creation of three educational puppetry performances to be researched, developed, and tested by a group of queer arts professionals and writing experts, eventually to be performed for school children (JK-Grade 1, Grades 2-3, and Grades 4-6) in the GTA.
Established in 1980, Community One Foundation provides grants to LGBTTIQQ2S community projects in Greater Toronto Area, including Durham, Halton, Peel and York Regions, focusing on the areas of arts and culture, health and social services, and research and education. The Foundation also promotes community philanthropy through strategic partnerships such as the Bill 7 Award and the LGBT Giving Network.