2022 Program & Grantmaking Report Spotlight: Contigo Fund

2022 Program & Grantmaking Report Spotlight: Contigo Fund - Proteus Fund

Building a Strong Ecosystem for BAMEMSA Refugee Communities in California

The mass shooting in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016 shone a light on existing disparities experienced by the LGBTQ, Black, and Latinx communities most impacted by that tragedy – including unstable housing, living paycheck to paycheck, and generally lacking a sense of belonging. Contigo Fund was formed in response to those needs with the goal of catalyzing change in Central Florida’s underresourced queer and trans infrastructure. As a participatory intermediary, Contigo Fund’s community selected steering committee represents the vast diversity of the metro Orlando area. Contigo Fund is committed to intersectional grantmaking, funding community-driven grassroots organizations working across a number of issues from access to abortion services to gender affirming healthcare to police violence, and also supports these organizations’ capacity building efforts.

Initially, Contigo Fund was a project of the state’s only LGBTQ community foundation located in South Florida, which provided needed LGBTQ competence and infrastructure in the fund’s early years. Contigo’s executive director, Marco Antonio Quiroga, however, says it was important for the fund to lean more into its autonomy and the work it was doing in Central Florida with the support of a partner that has a strong social justice and equity framework. Contigo Fund transitioned to Proteus Fund in 2020, and since then, has doubled in size and now distributed more than $4 million to over 100 grantees.

Additionally, the ecosystem that Contigo Fund seeks to strengthen has tripled in size, with over 20 nonprofit organizations coming into existence, over a dozen of which are led by queer and trans youth and women of color.

A generous $1 million gift from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in 2022 has increased Contigo Fund’s ability to respond to the needs of this ecosystem, at a time when the Florida legislature is introducing bills specifically focused on the erasure of marginalized communities. With that gift, Contigo Fund has been able to increase the cap on Movement and Power Building annual grants by 50 percent. It has also expanded its support to counties surrounding Orlando, rural areas where queer and trans individuals are at higher risk for violence and discrimination. Proteus Fund’s operational support helps to make these grantmaking efforts and several others possible, including an All Black Lives Fund for Black trans leaders often invisibilized in larger movements, rapid response grants to support safety and security infrastructure for grantees, and emergency trans care mutual aid for mental and physical health care.