Grant from Catholic Campaign for Human Development came with unclear guidelines about whether the nonprofit could work with LGBT people
Last week The Boston Globe reported that the Chelsea Collaborative, a social justice organization that works to end oppression for all members of the greater Chelsea community, has returned $40,000 in funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development because the Collaborative could not get clarity about whether or not it would be permitted to organize on behalf of LGBT people who had been discriminated against.
MassEquality applauds the Chelsea Collaborative, its executive director Gladys Vega, the organization’s board of directors, and its community members for returning funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which does not permit grantees to work on issues or campaigns that would violate Catholic teachings.
“It’s unthinkable that in 2012, any organization that is doing good work would be at risk of losing funding just because they’re associated with advancing equality for all people, including LGBT people,” said MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini. “While it is true that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds incredibly important social justice initiatives, the organization has been systematically engaged in defunding social justice organizations that work with—and on behalf of—LGBT people. We applaud Gladys Vega and the Chelsea Collaborative for this incredibly brave decision to put their mission to work on behalf of all vulnerable members of their community, including LGBT people, ahead of all else.”
In February, 2012, MassEquality awarded Chelsea Collaborative Executive Director Gladys Vega an “Icon Award” for her work on behalf of transgender residents of Chelsea. Early in 2011, when a transgender woman was hospitalized after being attacked in Chelsea, Vega was instrumental in galvanizing the community response to the assault,which was motivated by anti-transgender bias. She also ensured that political leaders met with members of the LGBT community who were concerned about the attack, and she subsequently advocated for passage of the Transgender Equal Rights Law, which was enacted July 1, 2012.
“Returning monies to a longtime funder in order to stay true to your mission is the mark of an authentic, uncompromising defender of the most vulnerable among us, which includes LGBT people,” said Suffredini. “MassEquality stands strong with the Chelsea Collaborative in its mission to serve all members of the community.