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Growing Together Initiative

“With ignorance comes fear – from fear comes bigotry. Education is the key to acceptance."

– Kathleen Patel, The Bullying Epidemic – the guide to arm you for the fight.

The result of a survey conducted in 2001 ranked Community Education as the most important Service Need in San Luis Obispo County to help address issues of stigma and discrimination for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, Allies (LGBTQIA) community. 

With the goal of creating an inclusive environment, The Community Foundation’s Growing Together Fund was established in 2001 through grants from the National Lesbian and Gay Funding Partnership and contributions from local donors. The fund supports numerous LGBTQIA educational opportunities each year through the leadership of the Growing Together Fund’s Advisory Committee. The committee includes Community Foundation staff and Board members, and representatives from various local constituencies: education, law enforcement, faith communities, LGBTQIA organizations, and concerned community members.

In order to identify the issues and service needs of the local LGBTQI community, the Growing Together Advisory Committee developed and administered a Community Survey. The Survey was administered in 2001, 2008, and most recently in 2014. You can see the complete report about his latest survey by clicking here. Along with identifying service needs, the Survey has provided a method for gathering information about the health and wellbeing of the LGBTQI community, local ommunity involvement, and local support for LGBTQI individuals, i.e. organizations and sources of information for this community.

Growing Together Fund's booth during Pride in the Plaza

The Community Foundation's Growing Together Fund distributes grants to local organizations that focus on the principles of social justice, a civil society, and safety of our youth. On behalf of our donors, more than $130,000 in grants have been provided since 2002. An endowment fund of more than $300,000 supports local efforts focused on community inclusiveness now and in perpetuity.

Organizations that have received grants include:

  • Community Counseling Center AIDS Support Network of SLO County
  • Cal Poly LGBTQIA Faculty Staff Association, Asset Development Network of SLO County
  • Community Action Partnership of SLO County
  • Cuesta Gay/Straight Alliance, Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast
  • Transitions-Mental Health Association, Cal Poly School of Education, and Templeton High School Gay/Straight Alliance.

One of the grantees, Transitions-Mental Health Association (TMHA), used their support from the Growing Together Fund to create Ally Training for staff of local agencies. The training was focused on raising community awareness, reducing stigma, and improving mental health services for our LGBTQIA population. Six Mental Health and Wellness Ally trainings were provided to approximately 150 supportive service specialists. "This was an outstanding training. It was very informative and educational. I thought I knew a lot about LGBT culture, but this training opened my eyes to many things, and will help all of us open up dialogue with folks who might not be comfortable with the topic." Training Attendee

To find out more information about the Growing Together Fund please contact Erin McCall, Program Associate, (805) 543-2323.

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