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 2019, The Overbrook Foundation awarded grants to the following organizations through its gender rights initiative.
General Operating Support - $55,000 (first payment in a three-year grant)
Forward Together’s mission is to unite communities to win rights, recognition and resources for all families. It is among the largest women of color-led organizations in the country, transforming culture and policy to work for all of us nationwide. Since its founding in 1989, Forward Together has fought to dismantle the ways society marginalizes us based on race, sexuality and gender.
General Operating Support - $60,000 (third 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.
Rights, Faith & Democracy Collaborative - $150,000 (first payment in a two-year grant)
The Rights, Faith & Democracy Collaborative (RFDC) is a donor collaborative that envisions an American democracy that balances the rights of free exercise of religion and speech with protection against discrimination, especially for historically marginalized communities. The RFDC prioritizes funding to state-based organizations seeking to address the distorting and damaging use of religious exemptions to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, curtail reproductive rights and justice, and otherwise undermine basic tenets of democracy.
General Operating Support - $40,000 (third 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.