GLSEN Receives $1.5 Million Grant From The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation To Support LGBTQ Inclusivity in K-12 Schools.
In celebration of Pride Month, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has donated $1.5 million to GLSEN. The three-year grant will be allocated between the Phoenix Chapter ($1 million) and the National Organization ($500,000) and will support the organization’s mission to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
“In our personal lives and through The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, one of our overarching goals is to be champions of inclusivity,” said President and Executive Creative Director of PXG Apparel Renee Parsons. “Every person deserves to feel whole, equal and welcome.”
GLSEN research has found that six out of 10 LGBTQ students have felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and nearly eight out of 10 have avoided school functions because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable. The level of harassment these students experience negatively affects their ability to learn due to increased absenteeism and lower educational aspirations. The anti-LGBTQ bias can also have a profound impact on a student’s overall health and well-being.
“Many LGBTQ youth face cruel, often unbearable levels of bullying and discrimination,” said PXG Founder and CEO Bob Parsons. “GLSEN is working to help all K-12 students feel safe at school and accepted for who they are.”
GLSEN has developed four focus areas to help schools cultivate an inclusive, safe and supportive environment for all their students, especially those of marginalized identities.
- Activating supportive educators, who are crucial to creating LGBTQ-inclusive classroom environments
- Advocating for inclusive & affirming curriculum, which not only offers support to LGBTQ students but raises the awareness of all students
- Passing and implementing laws and policies to ensure that LGBTQ students can learn and thrive in safe, inclusive, accepting schools
- Supporting student-led clubs because student leaders are integral to creating community and pushing for change
“We are filled with gratitude for this generous grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation,” said Melanie-Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN’s Interim Executive Director. “It is because of allies like Bob and Renee Parsons that organizations like GLSEN are able to work towards making the world a safe and celebratory place for LGBTQ+ children and young people. In addition to financial support, it’s incredible to have partners who focus their power, reach and influence to lift up our community”
“This transformational gift will enable GLSEN Phoenix to mobilize even more school communities, so that all of our children get to be and become who they ought to be,” said GLSEN Phoenix founding co-chair Madelaine Adelman, Ph.D. “Feeling safe at school means having a sense of belonging, being respected, learning about yourself and others — this is simply the best way to learn.” In addition to celebrating this grant during Pride Month, GLSEN Phoenix is launching a legacy monthly giving program. To learn more and invest in local efforts to create LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 schools, please visit https://www.glsenphoenix.org/. To learn more about the organization on a national level, visit https://www.glsen.org/ and follow @glsen on social.