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 2016, The Overbrook Foundation awarded grants to the following organizations through its gender rights and justice initiative.
Promoting the Reproductive Justice Perspective through Youth Mobilization and Engagement - $40,000
Advocates for Youth believes that it can help mobilize youth, particularly youth of color, youth from low-income households and LGBTQ youth in support of sexual health, rights and justice. This mobilization strengthens the movement while building a pipeline of emerging leaders to help the movement stay relevant and vital to a population that is increasingly diverse. It also sees sexual health and rights as inextricably linked with economic and social justice.
General Operating Support - $40,000
Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP) is a national organization that educates, mentors and inspires new generations of activists and leaders through campus-based education, real-world advocacy practice, and skills development to build a stronger, more diverse movement for reproductive freedom and social change. CLPP uses reproductive justice as the lens to examine a broad range of social justice issues. Consequently, it has an expanding political agenda, one that enables reproductive justice activists to connect with new allies, incorporate compelling new issues, and effectively work towards a vision in which reproductive rights and justice are recognized as universally accepted human rights. Through inter-related leadership development projects, CLPP provides training for new activists, explores new campaigns, strategies and analysis at its annual conference, provides critical summer support to organizations through its internship program, and creates a network of young leaders who collaborate and support one another.
General Operating Support - $40,000 (third payment of a three-year grant)
CoreAlign is the first national effort to proactively bring together diverse people working on reproductive issues — advocates, activists, providers, researchers, funders and the not-yet-affiliated — from all levels — local, state and national. CoreAlign envisions a future where all people have the resources, rights and respect they need to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives. To realize this vision, CoreAlign’s mission is to build a network of leaders who work together innovatively toward winning the policies, and creating the culture and conditions that support all people’s sexual and reproductive lives.
General Operating Support - $50,000 (first 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. The organization has three main priorities: 1) Expanding the definition of family in our culture and in policy debates to include families who do not fit the outdated societal norm of a married heterosexual couple with biological children; 2) Changing policies to recognize and support women and families who have the least resources and who are most denied fundamental rights and justice; and 3) Building the power and effectiveness of women, transgender and gender non-conforming people of color as leaders to win culture and policy shifts to create a world in which all of our families can thrive.
General Operating Support - $75,000 (second 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 (RJ) 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. Groundswell funds more RJ organizations than any other foundation in the U.S., houses the largest annual evaluation of the RJ movement, and has moved more than $22 million into this field over the past twelve years.
Law & Policy Project - $60,000
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.
General Operating Support - $60,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)
National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) works to secure the civil and human rights, health, and welfare of all women. NAPW focuses on pregnant and parenting women, particularly those who are most vulnerable to state control and punishment — low-income women, women of color and drug-using women. Two principles guide all NAPW activities: 1) building bridges and aligning agendas across diverse public health and social justice movements, and 2) connecting grassroots organizing and activism with grasstops advocacy and policy work to maximize effectiveness.
General Operating Support and Leadership Transition Funding - $40,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only national Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women’s multi-issue advocacy organization in the U.S. Its mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for AAPI women and girls. NAPAWF works to achieve its mission by engaging in five core strategies: base-building/leadership development, grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, research/strategic communications, and strategic alliances.
General Operating Support - $50,000 (first 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. Since 1996, Third Wave has given out over $3.3 million in grants to organizations that face barriers to accessing philanthropic resources. Third Wave Fund strengthens feminist and gender justice activism led by young women of color, queer and transgender youth by providing rapid response grants, multi-year funding, and capacity building support to grassroots organizations.
General Operating Support - $35,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)
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. It 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. URGE mobilizes young people by building a base of activists through campus chapter networks (in CA, TX, OH, KS, GA, AL, and FL) and moving them to action through its campaigns and programs. URGE’s constituency is young people aged 15-30, and it specifically aims to serve college students, women of color, low-income women, and LGBTQ people. Chapters work on campaigns relevant to their states and campuses, as well as national initiatives, under the following four themes: abortion access, sex & culture, health & wellness, and parenting.
University of Oklahoma Women’s and Gender Studies Program’s Center for Social Justice
Take Root Conference - $10,000 (first 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. This conference offers an opportunity to explore that perspective and engage with new possibilities. Take Root also works toward highlighting the relevance of the red state regional perspective in national reproductive justice discourse to bridge existing gaps.
General Operating Support - $40,000 (second 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.