AJWS Receives Major Grant to Support LGBT Communities in Africa, Asia and Central America

NEW YORK, NY—American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading Jewish international development and human rights organization, was recently awarded a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Arcus Foundation to support AJWS’s work promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in Africa, Asia and Central America. The Arcus Foundation is a longtime supporter of AJWS, making its first grant to AJWS in 2009 in support of the organization’s LGBT work in Africa and Southeast Asia.

The Arcus Foundation’s grant will support grassroots organizations in Kenya, Liberia, Nicaragua and Thailand that are working to enact policies and create cultural changes to improve the lives of LGBT communities and individuals in those countries.

“Too many people in too many countries are ostracized, threatened and assaulted just for living their lives and loving others of the same gender. In 76 countries, people can be arrested for having sex with someone of the same gender and in five countries the punishment is the death penalty,” said Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS. “With the Arcus Foundation’s generous support, the social change organizations we support in Kenya, Liberia, Nicaragua and Thailand will continue their work to promote LGBT rights and create needed social change in places where these communities are denied their dignity and rights.”

AJWS is the 14th largest funder of LGBT rights worldwide and fourth largest in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. AJWS supports social justice organizations that promote equality and work to end discrimination and violence against people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, so that they can access the full spectrum of opportunities in society and live in health, safety and dignity.

About the Arcus Foundation

Founded in 2000 by Jon Stryker, the Arcus Foundation is a private grantmaking institution. Arcus’ mission is to achieve social justice that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race, and to ensure conservation and respect of the great apes. The Foundation works globally and has offices in New York City and Cambridge, UK.

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at tdavis@ajws.org.