We believe in the right of every individual to control their sexual and reproductive health and to live freely and with dignity in their gender identity and sexual orientation. We believe that these unalienable human rights should never be undermined by discrimination, whether justified by law, social norms, or religion.

Recognizing that victories in the LGBTQ and reproductive justice movements advance one another, the Rights, Faith and Democracy Collaborative aligns and unites leaders and organizations in diverse coalitions to maximize collective impact. Together with progressive faith leaders and communities, we fight against discrimination under the false guise of religious liberty.

Theory of Change

  1. We believe that protecting the democratic rights and ensuring the health and well-being of women and LGBTQ people requires a shift in the way that the public and policymakers understand religious liberty and the delicate but critical balance between it and many other equally important rights that protect against discrimination.
  2. We believe that this shift in narrative and policies will only happen if state-based advocates work collaboratively, across issue silos, engaged with faith communities, and centered on the leadership of people of color.
  3. We believe that state-based advocates are ready to do this work, but need significant additional resources to test and implement new public education, advocacy, organizing, and messaging strategies; to build organizational and collaborative capacity; and to share learnings across states and issue silos.
  4. We believe in funding to scale in order to create large-scale and enduring impact.
  5. We believe that a coordinated pool of funding through the RFDC will lead to much greater impact and efficiency, resulting in more successful and replicable short and long-term outcomes.


in program grants awarded


organizations in state-based coalitions

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We envision an American democracy that balances the rights of free exercise of religion and speech with protection against discrimination, especially for historically marginalized communities. As such, the RFDC prioritizes funding to state-based organizations seeking to address the distorting and damaging use of religious exemptions to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, curtail reproductive rights and justice, and otherwise undermine basic tenets of democracy. Its work is based on the key principle of protecting a core pillar of American democracy and society – the separation of church and state

The RFDC’s grantmaking emphasizes engaging faith communities to advance progressive religious values that center the rights and dignity of women, members of the LGBTQ community and other impacted populations. This includes members of religious communities who have also been targeted with discrimination enabled by the increased prioritization of conservative faith traditions. The RFDC also has a strong focus on racial equity in light of the disproportionate impact of bias against communities of color, while also lifting up work led by and for communities of color.

The “North Star” or guiding purpose of the RFDC is to ensure the rights and dignity of all people by defending and advancing protections related to religious freedom at the intersections of LGBTQ and Reproductive Justice (RJ) issues, which allows affected communities to live life to their fullest potential. RFDC grantmaking centers around building a sustainable, cross movement infrastructure capable of developing a unified voice for LGBTQ, RJ, and faith allies; investing in learning that advances the field; and supporting long-term culture change efforts to move hearts and minds on these issues.

In addition to helping build and support this field of work via grantmaking, this initiative is also intended to serve as a broader vehicle for donor education and mobilization in the hope of achieving deeper funder alignment, collaboration, and impact on this and closely related issues. The RFDC is committed to educating its donor partners, current and aligned donors, and the broader field of philanthropy on issues related to religious exemptions, as well as providing resources and opportunities for increased alignment that leverages the work of the collaborative.

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