More than $560,000 awarded since 2016!
Since 2016, the LGBT Fund has awarded over more than $560,000 to organizations that are helping to improve the lives of LGTBQ+ individuals in Spartanburg County. Thanks to our generous donors, we are honored to support these organizations doing invaluable work in Spartanburg’s LGBT communities:
The LGBT Fund of Spartanburg, a volunteer-driven component fund of The Spartanburg County Foundation, was established in 2016 by LGBTQ+ and allied donors and activists to raise funds and award grants for LGBTQ+ community organizations and projects in our region. Our mission is to enrich Spartanburg’s LGBTQ+ culture by supporting grassroots efforts to create brave spaces, mend disparities, and embrace and empower all community members. Our vision is to create a community where all have access to resources for a healthy mind, body and spirit. Since its founding, the Fund has raised and given out more than $560,000 for Spartanburg’s LGBT communities.
Grants Advisory Committee
- Sofia Villegas
”While many LGBTQ people report positive experiences in the region, 25% of LGBTQ survey respondents stated that they plan to or have left Spartanburg County.
The LGBT Fund and our grantees are working to make Spartanburg a welcoming place for everyone!
The LGBT Fund of Spartanburg’s work is shaped in part by the needs assessment that we commissioned in 2018. Read our needs assessment below, along with our report on the impact of the first three years of our work and other resources. We also recommend exploring the LGBTQ Upstate Oral History Collection developed by our grantee partner USC Upstate.
Gender Benders is a grassroots organization for transgender and gender diverse folks based in Upstate, South Carolina. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund of Spartanburg, this past year GenderBenders has:
- Provided more than 15 workshops (in-person and virtual) on trans and gender nonconforming rights, health and resources and co-hosted 10 clinics on employment, legal, and personal support for more than 250 trans and gender nonconforming people.
- Provided 11 trainings (in-person and virtual) on trans cultural competency for local and regional health providers, reaching more than 425 people.
- Hired a new Healing Justice Fellow who has developed an array of resources for trans and gender nonconforming communities, including a video series, a healing justice guide, and a new pilot program that will utilize writing and storytelling to support the healing and affirmation of trans and gender nonconforming people.
- Launched a new research project on how COVID-19 is affecting trans and gender nonconforming people in the South.
LGBTQ Theologies is a coalition of people of faith — individuals, congregations, and clergy — building a network of support for the LGBTQ+ community and issues in Upstate SC. Since 2018, they have convened four gatherings of more than 12 congregations and over 250 individuals to educate and organize through pastoral care, worship, advocacy, and theology centering LGBTQ+ spiritual leaders and theologians. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund of The Spartanburg County Foundation, this last year the coalition has:
- Convened a gathering of clergy and spiritual leaders to share resources and practical ideas for creating congregations that are truly welcoming and affirming spaces for LGBTQ people.
- Launched a virtual worksop series on “The Bible as an Ally,” which allowed attendees to share with one another the liberating power of the Biblical tradition for LGBTQ people and allies, and to equip one another to confront violent and exclusive uses of the Bible. Workshops featured guest speakers, poets, musicians, and interactive discussion.
PFLAG Spartanburg provides confidential peer support, education, and advocacy to LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund of Spartanburg, in the past year PFLAG Spartanburg has:
- Shifted to providing monthly support group meetings via Zoom to offer LGBTQ+ people, their parents, friends, families, and allies peer support and resources.
- Awarded two $1,000 Scholarships for high school graduates and undergraduate students.
- Sponsored a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil at Uplift Outreach Center.
- Represented and advocated for LGBTQ+ and allied communities by participating in the Spartanburg County Youth Advisory Council, Spartanburg Suicide Prevention Task Force, the LGBTQIA+ Patient and Associate Inclusion Council at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.
Piedmont Care provides HIV/AIDS care, prevention and advocacy in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union Counties. HIV is preventable. Of federal funds going to HIV/AIDS, only 5% are targeted for prevention. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund of The Spartanburg County Foundation, in the past year Piedmont Care has:
- Launched an FDA-approved at-home, self-administered HIV testing option.
- Distributed condoms through 65 community partners.
- Provided 115 clients with 1,380 months of health insurance coverage.
- Provided 108 clients with 1,260 months of health insurance co-payments.
- Provided HIV testing and counseling services, resulting in behavior change in 95% of clients.
Pride Link offers community-based programs and services to address the health, wellness, and access needs of all LGBTQ+ people in Upstate, South Carolina. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund of The Spartanburg County Foundation, this past year Pride Link has:
- Convened the annual youth summit for over 200 LGBTQ+ youth, parents, educators, and providers to engage in learning, connection, and advocacy.
- Led collaborative efforts among Upstate LGBTQ+ organizations to coordinate sharing of information and resources in response to the challenges of the COVID pandemic.
- Launched the hormone therapy fund in partnership with QMed to provide financial assistance for hormone therapy for trans and nonbinary people.
- Hired a new youth group coordinator and expanded the reach of LGBTQ+ youth services through virtual programs and the addition of a digital engagement platform.
Proud Mary Theatre is South Carolina’s LGBTQ+ theatre. Proud Mary presents LGBTQ+ voices and stories in Spartanburg and the entire Upstate region through theatrical plays: compelling dramas, rib-tickling comedies, campy musicals, and local original works and avant-garde pieces that celebrate diversity and acceptance. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund of Spartanburg, this past year Proud Mary has:
- Presented eight virtual play productions on Facebook Live, including the Laramie Project, the Pink Unicorn, and a #BlackQueerLivesMatter play series.
- Produced live and virtual LGBTQ-themed performances featuring more than 100 actors and artists and reaching over 2,100 people in Spartanburg and the U.S.
- Offered free tickets for youth and Pay What You Can Sundays for all shows.
- Collaborated with local LGBTQ+ organizations to offer post-performance panel discussions on gender.
Speaking Down Barriers is a team of listeners, healers, artists, researchers, teachers, theologians, & creatives who use spoken word poetry, transformative dialogue, workshops, and deep listening as tools to build an equitable world through healing & justice. Rather than seeing our human differences of race, class, sexual orientation, gender, national identity, and religion act as sources of division, they can be the source of our collective strength. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund of Spartanburg, this past year Speaking Down Barriers has:
- Provided ongoing workshops and dialogues in a new virtual format, including a Reading for Transformation series focused on the letters of Bayard Rustin, a major LGBTQ Black community leader in the civil rights movement.
- Hosted the annual Evening of Transformation event virtually, featuring seven Black women artists, including several representing lesbian, bi, queer, and trans communities across the Southeast, exploring intersections of race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
The Upstate SC LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce is made up of LGBT+ professionals and allies who understand that diversity, equality, and economic empowerment are vital for any healthy business community. The Chamber is rewriting the narrative of the queer intersectional experience in the Upstate of South Carolina, to create a stronger, healthier community based on the shared appreciation for the diversity that defines and enhances us all.
Founded in 2020 amid the challenges of the global pandemic, and with the help of dozens of volunteers, the Upstate LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce is creating a long-absent voice of advocacy for the Upstate LGBT+ business community. Funding from the LGBT Fund has helped the LGBT+ Chamber to launch its first workshops and other programs to support new LGBT+ businesses and increase LGBT+ inclusion in the region’s workplaces.
Uplift Outreach Center provides a safe place, resources, and support for homeless and at-risk youth who identify as LGBTQ+. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund of Spartanburg, in the past year Uplift Outreach Center has:
- Launched new virtual programming to support youth during the COVID pandemic, ranging from Goat Yoga and movie nights to workshops on LGBTQ+ history and self-care workshops.
- Provided services to 108 LGBTQ+ youth group members and their allies, 26 of whom have joined since the meetings went virtual in March.
- Formed a youth committee made up of Uplift youth group members to identify and address issues within schools that directly impact LGBTQ+ students, including developing a Safe Space Guide for youth interested in creating a GSA/GSTA within their school(s).
- Organized a virtual summer day camp in collaboration with Out of School Time/Spartanburg Academic Movement & CONNECT Spartanburg, including workshops in stress management, civics, intersectionality, painting, and cosplay.
Upstate Pride empowers people of all gender expressions and sexual identities in the Upstate of South Carolina by promoting acceptance through education, advocacy and networking. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund of The Spartanburg County Foundation, in the past year Upstate Pride has:
- Successfully organized #PrideAtHome, an eight-day virtual Pride celebration of 11 events, ranging from an interfaith service and coffee chats to a summit of leaders and a virtual closing festival.
- Held various in-person events (before COVID), including monthly socials in Spartanburg and Greenville and a sponsor appreciation dinner.
- Abolished the Anti-LGBTQ Resolution in Greenville.
- Convened the first ever Black Pride Festival with over 1,300 attendees in Greenville
- Co-sponsored the LGBTQ+ Youth Summit and developed new collaborations with businesses.
The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at USC Upstate provides opportunities for the campus community to examine cultural assumptions about gender as it intersects with ethnicity, age, socioeconomic class, dis/ability, body size and sexual orientation while facilitating critical thinking about the interrelationship of gender and power. In addition to the bi-annual Bodies of Knowledge Conference, the Center is leading an effort to capture and preserve the stories of the LGBTQ community in the upstate of South Carolina in its LGBTQ Upstate Oral History Collection.
864Pride is a nonprofit founded and developed by a group of LGBTQ+ affirming mental health therapists. Its mission is to enhance access and reduce barriers to lifesaving and identity-affirming services for the LGBTQ+ community in the Upstate of SC. Since March of 2021, 864Pride has served 1078 unique individuals through our programs and training. Thanks in part to the support of the LGBT Fund, 864Pride has:
- Helped open and develop the Queer Wellness Center (QWC), which serves as a community center and resource hub for mental health and medical services in the Upstate.
- Provided peer support for trans and gender expansive individuals.
- Increased access to mental health services for LGBTQ+ youth and their families.
- Supported a more inclusive South Carolina through cultural competency and affirmative healthcare trainings.
- Lowered financial and social barriers to healthcare services for the LGBTQ+ community via financial assistance and walk-in clinic programs.
424 East Kennedy Street
Spartanburg, SC 29302