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.

Advocates for Youth

General Operating Support - $40,000 (two-year grant)

Advocates for Youth partners with youth leaders, adult allies, and youth serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people's rights to honest sexual health information; accessible, confidential, and affordable sexual health services; and the resources and opportunities necessary to create sexual health equity for all youth.


General Operating Support - $25,000

Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) is a sisterhood of Latinas dedicated to building a movement of Latinas, their families and allies through leadership development, organizing, and advocacy to create opportunity and achieve reproductive justice. Its goals are to advance the Latino community by empowering young Latinas and their families to create policy and system change that allow them to lead healthy, self-determined lives. It achieves this by developing a growing number of youth-to-elder Latina leaders; by having an organized, vibrant, and sustained grassroots base; and by leveraging power and alliances with public officials and partner organizations.

Forward Together

General Operating Support - $50,000 (second payment of a three-year grant)

As a national leader in the growing reproductive justice movement, Forward Together’s mission is to ensure that women, youth and families have the power and resources they need to reach their full potential. Forward Together makes its mission a reality by working with community leaders and organizations to transform culture and policy to catalyze social change. 

Freedom for All Americans Education Fund

Making the Case - Litigation Program Support - $25,000

Freedom for All Americans Education Fund (FFAAEF) works to bring together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive non-discrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally. To build the next generation of allies and movement leaders, it employs a variety of programs designed at increasing public awareness and education of the sociopolitical issues that the LGBTQ community faces every day. It is working at the federal, state, and local level to educate about the need for discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression – without allowing overly broad and harmful religious exemptions that will encourage employers, business owners or others to choose to disregard those protections.

Groundswell Fund

General Operating Support - $75,000 (third payment of a three-year grant)

Groundswell Fund is a public foundation dedicated to cultivating a stronger, more effective U.S. movement for reproductive justice by mobilizing new funding and capacity-building resources to grassroots organizing and policy change efforts led by low-income women, women of color and transgender people. 

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 Advocates for Pregnant Women

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

National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) works to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of all people, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women and those who are most likely to be targeted for state control and punishment --low-income women, women of color and drug-using women. NAPW seeks to ensure that women do not lose their right to abortion, medical decision making, or any other constitutional or human right as a result of pregnancy.

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.  

New Voices Pittsburgh

General Operating Support - $25,000

New Voices Pittsburgh promotes the complete health and well-being of Black women and girls in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Reproductive Justice is the framework it uses to engage Black women and girls in local, national and global movement-building for Human Rights, Racial and Gender Justice.  New Voices does this through leadership development, community organizing, policy advocacy and culture change. New Voices Pittsburgh amplifies the voices of Black women and girls to advance Sexual & Reproductive Health, LGBTQ Rights, Health Care Access, Ending Gender-Based Violence, Ending Mass Incarceration and Environmental Justice.

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.

Third Wave Fund

General Operating Support - $70,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

Third Wave Fund is the only national fund that supports and strengthens youth-led gender justice activism— focusing on efforts that advance the political power, well-being, and self-determination of communities of color and low-income communities in the United States.  Third Wave Fund provides rapid response grants, multi-year funding, and capacity building support to grassroots organizations.

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.

University of Oklahoma Women’s and Gender Studies Program’s Center for Social Justice

Take Root Conference - $10,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

The University of Oklahoma Center for Social Justice, an initiative of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, promotes gender justice, equality, tolerance, and human rights through local and global engagement. Take Root: Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice Conference, hosted by the Center, provides a space for engagement on reproductive justice for students, academics, practitioners, advocates, and community members in Southern and Midwestern states. This region’s unique cultures and concerns shape activists’ focus on and approach toward achieving reproductive justice. 

Western States Center

General Operating Support - $45,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

Western States Center’s mission is to build the power of community organizing groups to accomplish policy and culture change for racial, gender, and economic justice.  The Center holds that through community organizing, these organizations can engage those most affected by discrimination, inequities, and marginalization to create solutions, campaigns, and alliances that shift our culture toward justice. The Center’s programs connect independent community organizing groups across the West to build their capacity, increase the number and strength of alliances, and create innovative models for change.  

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