STRUT

5

A STRUT through 5 years of giving and 50 years of freedom

Who knew back in the summer of 2014 that STRUT would bring in over a quarter of a million dollars in just five short years? 

Well, we did.

That’s because of the unwavering vision and enthusiasm of Carl Meadows, a champion of the cause for safe migration of LGBT+ refugees. Carl brought a small group of committed citizens together to change the world. 

Sound familiar? It should. Last year FOH made its 4th annual STRUT walk, which coincided with 40 years of celebrating Pride in Vancouver. This year, our 5th STRUT walk coincided with 50 years of decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada and brought in over $50,000. 

It is certainly a great trajectory and FOH’s prospects for growth and expansion are even better with some exciting new partnerships we will be rolling out in the coming months.

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One such partnership is with the UNHCR, a global body established to identify and address the worldwide refugee crisis. This year FOH was invited to participate in UNHCR’s global awareness campaign. It was the perfect complement to the funds we raise locally with the collective distance we would walk in solidarity through STRUT.

Along with over $50,000 in funds raised, FOH saw 74 participants walk together in collective total of 119 km this year. Over the past five years, that amounts to 552 participants and 840 km, which can now be added to the 2 Billion Kilometres to Safety campaign.

Funds raised through STRUT will continue to go directly into grants awarded to Canadian charities working to resettle SOGIE migrants, but this was an opportunity for our local grassroots movement to go even further and contribute to a global awareness movement to #StepWithRefugees worldwide.

The fresh injection of donor funds can now be used to support the six grant applications led by our community partners in Vancouver and Toronto. These are currently under review for both LGBT+ refugee private sponsorship support and newcomer community service projects.

The timing was also just right for STRUT this year, falling on the heels of the announcement by the Government of Canada to expand its support for LGBT+ private resettlement efforts. Thanks to the work of the Rainbow Coalition for Refuge , the ongoing consultations that have persisted since 2017 with Global Affairs Canada and IRCC are finally paying off!

Private resettlement support of LGBT+ individuals facing persecution worldwide will involve a five-year extension of the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Program (RRAP) and an expanded $800,000 funding commitment. Rainbow Refugee founder Chris Morrissey came to make the announcement about the RRAP before participants strutted their stuff on the seawall.

Our community partners that benefit from FOH grants showed up in teams, including MOSAIC, Qmunity, and VAST, along with members from numerous Circles of Hope and corporate teams led by TELUS and TD Bank.

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We are ever grateful for all the corporate sponsors and partners that came onboard, old and new. These include the 2019 platinum partner TELUS and platinum sponsor Hootsuite, as well as the supportive partnerships with Ruby Blues Winery, DJ Krista, Fountainhead, Glacier Media, Portable Electric, and Innocent Ice Cream.

Of course we cannot go without acknowledging our faithful long-standing contributors that include TD Bank, Pacific Alps Retirement, Kevin Perra Realty, PI Financial, Fluevog Shoes, Body Energy Club, and Andrew Beckerman.

Special thanks also go out to Squamish Elder Byron Yususultxw Longclaws and Hlgu Ni’is Yu’us (Terry Azak) of Nisga’a Nation for their annual opening welcome and blessing. We also thank Miss Gloria Hole and Miss Mina Mercury of Tuck Entertainment for the spectacular performance. Thanks to Christopher Hunte and Barb Snelgrove, respectively, for their continual support with the event programming and for hosting the affair. Big thanks as well to Jay Brotherton at HIM (those legs!) for leading the warm up event.

We are so grateful to welcome Outook TV as a dedicated LGBT+ media partner and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are an unmistakable presence year upon year. Tremendous thanks to Brian Houle for his incredible photography.

And of course, we are so fortunate for all the donors, volunteers, and STRUT walkers who took the time to support this cause and raise the funds that enable safe migration of LGBT+ asylum seekers and refugees worldwide.

In the words of Carl Meadows, it truly does take a village.

9

STRUT 2017: year 3 and counting…

Foundation of Hope reached out again this year to ask for community support for the 3rd annual STRUT walk-a-thon. Our goal was to exceed $40,000 for the flagship fundraiser, which we’ve managed to do every year since FOH’s inception. 

Because of STRUT and your generosity, we have granted over $90,000 to Canadian charities working directly with LGBT+ Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and Newcomers to Canada.

Funds have brought Asylum Seekers out of immediate harm in places like Uganda, Jamaica, and Pakistan; sponsorship applications have been approved for Refugees from Syria and Iraq living in Turkey and Lebanon, and several more sponsorship applications are pending hearings in Canadian visa offices across the Middle East. 

Last summer, Canada’s Prime Minister marched in the Toronto Pride Parade alongside a Newcomer who arrived through Lifeline Syria, a project we supported through a partner organization in Canada’s largest city.

Canadian charities have benefited from FOH funding dedicated to LGBT+ Newcomer support for PTSD counselling, safe housing needs, legal assistance for transgender personal identification needs, group counselling sessions, and queer youth peer support across Canada, among other community services. 

For the third year in a row, we walked in solidarity. We withstood pain and suffering together with love in our hearts and hope in our hands. 

Walking high in our heels, we blew our fundraising goal out of the water and surpassed $54,000 with donations still coming in.

This is all because of people like you. 

Asking for money can be awkward and difficult. As Director of Grants for FOH, I prefer to devote my time and energy towards giving. Still, I remain a standing monthly donor and a dedicated fundraiser for STRUT. 

Please trust in knowing that your contributions directly influence the lives of those less privileged. We are all volunteers; no one gets paid for our work. It is your generosity that enables us to give. 

For those of you have contributed to STRUT, whether as a donor, strutter, volunteer, or any combination thereof, we thank you. 

Please consider taking a more active role in our organization. Whether you have the time, talents, or ‘treasure’, whatever to can afford will go a long way to this cause. Community engagement is critical to getting and giving out funds. 

Here are a few examples of what you can do:

  • Become a standing monthly donor – easiest way to contribute, especially if time is limited
  • Be a volunteer – learn about the work and commit ideas and skills to committees and events 
  • Represent on the Grants Committee – assist to evaluate applications as a show of accountability to our donors
  • Join the Board of Directors – bring leadership and commit to an incredibly rewarding experience.

STRUT 2017 has raised the bar for donor participation and amount of funds raised. This is a milestone for the Foundation and all signs indicate momentum for growth and expansion, across Canada and across the world.

For us, it means the world is benefiting from your involvement. And that involvement truly means the world to us.

Be a part of this movement. Send us a note at engagement@foundationofhope.net.

This Campaign has ended. No more pledges can be made.