Gender Rights

Overbrook has supported organizations advancing gender rights since the 1960s.  The Foundation’s gender rights program currently funds organizations working to build the reproductive justice movement and those challenging overly broad religious exemptions being used to undermine LGBT rights, reproductive justice and racial justice.  Overbrook’s support of reproductive justice organizations has evolved over the past 10 years. Until the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Foundation focused its support for LGBT rights on funding efforts advocating for marriage equality. Since that victory, it has moved towards support of organizations opposing the inappropriate use of religious exemptions to discriminate and threaten gender equality.

Overbrook grantee Forward Together defines reproductive justice as “when all people have the social, political and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies, sexuality and families for ourselves and our communities."  Developed by women of color, this holistic vision for assuring sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice guides Overbrook’s grantmaking. The Foundation’s grantees are led by and are mobilizing those most impacted by reproductive health disparities and other inequities, women of color, women with low incomes, LGBT people and youth.  They are engaging and empowering new leaders to champion reproductive justice at the local, state, and national levels.  They promote policies across the broad range of issues that impact people’s access to reproductive justice and they challenge the underlying causes of reproductive oppression. Overbrook pays special attention to each grantee’s role in strengthening the reproductive justice field as a whole and in building alliances with other social justice sectors to advance a broader movement for human rights. 

Despite important progress in securing LGBT rights in recent years, threats to LGBT equality persist. Among these troubling developments, is the effort to pass overly broad religious exemptions that would allow discrimination against LGBT people and other marginalized communities in the public sphere. Long an issue, this tactic has recently become increasingly visible in response to marriage equality being enshrined as a constitutional guarantee. It has implications for both the LGBT rights and reproductive equity movements, among others, and, as such, Overbrook seeks to support cross-movement efforts to push back on these dangerous efforts at both the state and national levels.

In 2017, The Overbrook Foundation awarded grants to the following organizations through its gender rights initiative.

Lambda Legal

General Operating Support - $60,000 (first payment of a three-year grant)

Lambda Legal is working to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender (LGBT) people, and those living with HIV in the United States through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Lambda Legal’s work on the forefront of the LGBT rights movement for the past 42 years has included fighting back prejudice and discrimination and advocating for the passage of fully inclusive laws and policies that protect our rights. Lambda Legal’s Law and Policy Project aims to fight anti-LGBT legislation as it crops up at the local, state, and national level while also proactively seeking to prevent the inclusion of overly-broad religious exemptions in nondiscrimination legislation.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

General Operating Support - $25,000

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s mission is to build Latina power to guarantee the fundamental human right to reproductive health, dignity, and justice. The organization’s vision is to create a society in which Latinas have the economic means, social capital, and political power to make and exercise decisions about their own health, family, and future. Using policy advocacy, culture shift, movement building, civic engagement, and leadership development strategies, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is building an expansive movement of Latina/o activists and leaders across the country to support local and national reproductive justice efforts.  Its work seeks to increase abortion access and affordability, advance the rights of immigrant women and families, and eliminate reproductive health disparities.

Rights, Faith & Democracy Collaborative

General Operating Support - $100,000

The Rights Faith & Democracy Collaborative (RFDC) is a newly created grantmaking fund that opposes the inappropriate use of religious exemptions to curtail reproductive health, rights and justice, discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, and otherwise undermine fundamental rights and liberties essential to a healthy democracy. By focusing specifically on state-based initiatives, the RFDC seeks to strengthen movement capacity on the ground and support a diverse field of organizations engaged in innovative and comprehensive public education efforts, including related advocacy and organizing work in this area.

Transgender Law Center

General Operating Support - $30,000

Transgender Law Center (TLC) changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. The organization works to secure comprehensive legal protections; increase access to lived equality, and increase social acceptance and support for transgender and gender nonconforming people.  

Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE)

General Operating Support - $40,000 (first payment of a three-year grant)

Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE) envisions a world where all people have agency over their own bodies and relationships and the power, knowledge, and tools to exercise that agency. URGE builds this vision by engaging young people in creating and leading the way to sexual and reproductive justice for all by providing training, field mobilization, and national leadership for a youth-driven agenda.

Young Women United

General Operating Support - $25,000

Young Women United (YWU) leads community organizing and policy initiatives by and for self-identified women and people of color in New Mexico. YWU works to build communities where all people have access to the information, education, and resources to make real decisions about our own bodies and lives. YWU pursues its mission through community organizing, policy change and culture shift efforts. Its programs address the following: juvenile and criminal justice reform, improving access to reproductive health, increasing access for women and people of color to pregnancy related care, and building support for young parents and their families.

Grantees by Year:  2017  |  2016