Close to 40 years ago, a group of lesbians decided there needed to be a women’s movement who prioritizes lesbians and women of color, and they were going to have to fund it themselves. The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice was born, and in 2015, the organization continues to fight for human rights and prioritize lesbian leadership and “the leadership of those that are often left outside power entities” by giving grants and donations to others doing that work on a local and global scale.
Astraea has helped fund campaigns taking on corrective rape, violence against queer people and other injustices that are not necessarily a focus for other LGBT or human rights organizations. This year, Astraea launched the Astraea Intersex Fund, the first fund of its kind in the world benefitting the desperately underfunded Intersex human rights movement.
“In order to live in a truly just society, then my blackness, my womanness, my queerness cannot be a detriment, it can only be an asset to achieving that society,” says executive director J. Bob Alotta.
Lesbian writer and activist Jeanne Córdova recently announced she would be donating her $2 million dollar estate to Astraea, the only lesbian specific grantgiving charity in the world. Jeanne, who has stage IV metastasized cancer, has gifted the foundation her Living Trust upon her death and The Jeanne R. Córdova Fund will “specifically go to Latina lesbians from South/Latin America and South African women; lesbians, feminists, lesbian feminists, butch and masculine gender nonconforming communities.”
“None of us can do more than guess at the unique issues and challenges our community will face in the future,” Jeanne said in a press release. “I am proud to be able to give to a LGBT charity now, and specifically a lesbian one. It’s important that we boomers look to sustaining ourselves, just like Bill Gates or David Geffen.”