News

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Historic milestones: first grant application released and charitable status achieved

April has been a landmark month for Foundation of Hope. On April 2, 2015 Canada Revenue Agency officially granted FOH its status as a registered charity. This means all donations made in Canada within six months prior to this designation, and from this point onward, are eligible for a tax credit.

Foundation of Hope anticipates this historic milestone will bolster its fundraising efforts to date leading up to STRUT, the first major event of 2015. So, either get those heels on and start practicing your walk or get to the event’s website and sponsor any one of the teams of courageous participants.

The generosity of those who have made financial contributions to date has also afforded FOH to begin awarding grants to eligible organizations. On April 6, 2015, FOH released the first chapter of its grant funding process, which is dedicated to Canadian civil society organizations providing community services to newly settled LGBT+ immigrants (newcomers). It is FOH’s mission to provide financial support that permits these organizations, many of which are volunteer-based, to continue to do the incredible work that first inspired the creation of FOH from a small group of dedicated volunteers.

So if you are a donor please consider giving to FOH. Your contribution means the world to us. If you are a community service provider and eligible for grant funding, check out our grant application today.

In the words of Margaret Mead,

“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

butterfly

Words to live by.

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Launch of STRUT

The STRUT launch was held on March 28th, 2015 at the Junction cabaret in Vancouver’s Davie Village. Over 250 colorful guests attended and there were many highlights. Most notable were the stories shared of two courageous newcomers who both arrived in Canada as refugees.  Speakers Tannaz (Iran) and Moe (Gambia) were incredibly inspiring as the both shared their personal struggles and offered hope for the future. You could hear a pin drop in the room as the eyes of an attentive audience welled with tears.

Symone Says set off an evening of festivities as an amazing hostess. She opened with an fitting number, “These Boots are Made for Walking”. Kara-Kata Afrobeat provided an evening of upbeat and energetic African music while the models, both men and women, strutted their stuff on the runway in stylish stilettos to the cheers of the audience.

The launch party captured the purpose and vision of why the Foundation of Hope was created – to ensure LGBT+ refugees across the world have an opportunity to be successful and feel supported from their first step onward, either towards safety or to a new life in Canada.

STRUT is a one-mile walk-a-thon in heels for LGBT+ refugees, asylum seekers, and newcomers to Canada. The whole concept behind STRUT centers around what a privilege it is to freely express one’s gender identity in Canada, without fear of government or societal persecution. It is hard to imagine having to wait in fear over a lifetime, then manage to escape and get off a plane not knowing where to go with barely enough money to eat, find housing, or gain access to basic healthcare.  This would be a challenge for any newcomer seeking asylum, but less so than also having to navigate a system that has little understanding of LGBT+ issues.

Refugees do not need pity; they require access to services that are non-discriminatory.

STRUT is our community’s chance to show how open and accepting we truly are. Walking a mile in heels demonstrates the power and perseverance of the struggle for equality around the world. This walk-a-thon is going to be hard, but in some countries, it could very well be deadly.

Come STRUT with us on June 6th, 2015 @ www.STRUTvancouver.ca

Warmly,

Carl Meadows

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Valuable lessons learned at FOH community grants needs assessment workshop

The Foundation of Hope has moved one step closer to supporting LGBT+ refugees in Canada with its first community needs grants assessment. Representatives from across the LGBT+ community, refugee service providers, and grassroots organizations all joined up with FOH Board members on February 1, 2015. The goal of the meeting was to advise on how FOH can best target community grants to effectively benefit LGBT+ newcomers.

The group looked at potential grant categories that FOH is considering and provided feedback on each item. “It was really neat how we came to the community with our ideas on how we could help and they came back to us and said the community needs more capacity for sharing and collaborating across sectors,” said FOH Chairperson Carl Meadows.

The FOH grant development committee offered up items including housing, health care, circles of hope, community support services, and emergency funds as its first draft of possible funding categories. “But after it was all said and done,” noted Meadows, “the community told us we should shift our priorities away from ‘band-aid’ solutions and focus on supporting systemic change.”

The group suggested including a funding category focused on community capacity building. “Now it’s the committee’s job to look at the feedback and figure out what that will all look like,” Meadows added. The committee intends to use the valuable feedback to develop appropriate terms of reference for all grant applications going forward.

The Board would like to thank everyone who participated and offered feedback. We gratefully acknowledge the City of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant Community Centre for allowing us to host the event. We thank Hamid for providing last minute Farsi translation and are grateful to Hugo at Blenz Coffee on Davie and Richards for supplying complimentary refreshments. The Foundation especially thanks Pamela Schmidt for facilitating the workshop.

We at FOH also want to send a big hug to the LGBT+ refugees who spoke at the meeting. It was truly a community event that brought wisdom and expertise to an evolving discussion about what the LGBT+ refugee community needs.

 

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