What is the Russia Freedom Fund?
The Fund is a U.S. tax-deductible vehicle for making financial contributions in support of the LGBT movement in Russia and efforts to combat discrimination and violence there based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 100% of all donations will be paid out as grants. This initiative responds to growing concerns about recent state-sponsored discrimination in Russia and expresses solidarity between the international LGBT community and allies, and the Russian LGBT movement.
Immediately and directly support Russian LGBT organizations and their allies to combat violence and discrimination for a life with dignity and safety. Express your solidarity with a courageous movement in a time of growing crisis. This is the most efficient and tax-deductible way for people in the U.S. to support the frontline Russian LGBT community. 100% of your contribution will go to strategic grants, with no administrative fee.
Who can make financial contributions to the Fund?
Any individuals, corporations and other organizations can contribute.
Are all contributions to the Fund tax deductible?
Financial contributions from individuals in the United States are tax deductible.
What are the funding priorities of the Fund?
The Fund’s key priority is to assist LGBT communities across Russia in combatting discrimination and violence, providing financial support for documentation, education, litigation and other activities identified by the Russian LGBT community. The Fund will also provide support for the safety of Russian LGBT people and families. Initiatives based outside Russia are eligible but do not constitute a priority. The Fund’s primarily goal is to support initiates led by Russian LGBT organizations.
What initiatives are not eligible for funding?
Lobbying and grants to individuals and certain other projects are not eligible in accordance with U.S. law.
How can a group apply for a grant?
A simple application and reporting process will be used. The Fund can issue requests for proposals as well as respond to proposals on a rolling basis. The goal is to respond swiftly to needs expressed by our Russian colleagues. Information will be made available once the Fund has raised a sufficient amount of money to start making grants.
Who makes grant-making decisions?
A committee made up of representatives from the world of philanthropy (namely, the Arcus Foundation and the Open Society Foundations), Western NGOs (namely, the Council for Global Equality and ILGA-Europe) and Russian representatives, acting in an individual capacity, who are deeply knowledgeable about the situation in Russia.
Where is the Russia Freedom Fund housed?
The Fund emerged from a series of convenings of Russian and other organizations hosted by the Arcus Foundation in, New York, Washington and Los Angeles in September 2013. The Fund is housed at the Arcus Operating Foundation, a tax-exempt organization registered in the State of New York, which bears ultimate legal responsibility for this Fund. The AOF will contribute staff and other costs for the operation of the Fund, so that 100% of the funds raised go to grants.
What is the Situation in Russia?
The situation for the LGBT community in Russia is critical. On the one hand, the Russian government has been using the legislative process to make life as an openly gay person untenable. For instance, a 2013 law forbids distribution of any information in support of “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, which can result in a ban on public demonstrations like pride marches or any type of public education on LGBT issues. The Russian government has also proposed legislation forbidding gay and lesbian people from raising children, threatening the families of many Russian citizens. As a result, anti-gay violence in Russia has been increasing and LGBT activists have been targeted for prosecution. However, on the other hand, the Russian LGBT movement has been standing up to these challenges. Russian LGBT organizations and their allies have responded with courage and determination, combining public activism, such as demonstrations and film festivals, with strategic litigation and other actions.
What is the Uprising of Love movement?
At this unique moment in history, when we are seeing such rapid progress in the fight for equality in the West, we cannot be blinded to appalling crimes against humanity elsewhere. Today in Russia LGBT people are facing harassment, arrest and violence under a set of horrific new laws. For their sake, we must come together and start an uprising of love.
The goal of this movement is twofold:
1. To support the LGBT community in Russia and foster an atmosphere where Russians feel bolstered to be themselves and speak up for this cause.
2. To raise awareness among the international community to continue to build public pressure and vigilance.
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