Our Fund Foundation: Supporting South Florida’s LGBTQ+ Arts Community

Our Fund Foundation has made it their mission to support an arts community that has been largely neglected in the past. However, The LGBTQ+ community has come a long way from where they first started, especially the South Florida Society of LGBTQ+ Arts because of organizations like Our Fund leading the way. Founded in 2010 by a board of committed advocates, Our Fund focuses on areas that need the most aid through community assessments – primarily in the areas of health and wellness, social justice, and cultural needs of LGBTQ+ Arts in Florida. They award over $1 million annually to non-profit companies that hold the same missions.

   

David Jobin – President and CEO of Our Fund Foundation

David Jobin, the President and CEO of Our Fund Foundation, has spent most of his life working with nonprofits. During his time with Our Fund he has bonded with members of his community and worked with them to make sure they get the funding they need. David goes above and beyond, and even contacts those who get denied from the grants to help them work on improving their application for the next round. Thou Art Woman was denied the first time applying, and soon after received a call from David on how to improve their proposal. With the next circulation of grants, they were approved. His efforts spread the wealth to all, “The work we do is impactful,” said Jobin. 

Our Fund acquires their funding through their generous patrons. $50,000 of the money provided was given by living donors, $75,000 in gifts from those who have passed, and they currently have $22 million in assets. Some donors even place Our Fund Foundation into their will and testament. “Their legacy can be carried on by the values by which they lived their lives. And it’s meaningful to people. A community of people that don’t really have offspring, so it’s a natural step to think about their own,” Jobin said. Our Fund Foundation makes their supporters feel like family by creating a personal relationship with each one of them, “We’re here to help LGBTQ+ philanthropists make impactful giving to a community throughout their lifetime. Nobody is just giving us money, we have to earn it,” Jobin continued. 

When Covid-19 had its first wave in March, by April, Our Fund Foundation responded by creating a program called Arts Proud Coalition of South Florida. Covid-19 caused the art scene to go dormant, leading those involved to question the theaters’ ability to bounce back from the damage. After sending out the first rounds of checks, they presented a second round once they noticed that the pandemic wasn’t ending anytime soon. They gave out $300,000 – more than what they were supposed to – because they believed these were extraordinary circumstances for the community. Giving the LGBTQ+ Arts community the ‘re-START’ they needed post pandemic.

Victor Gimenez – Executive Director of OUTshine Film Festival

Victor Gimenez, the Executive Director of OUTshine Film Festival, has been involved for six years with this organization. Starting off as two separate festivals, the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, has now been combined to create the OUTshine Film Festival. For five years, they have had the pleasure to receive grants from Our Fund Foundation and will continue to apply for their grants in the future. OUTshine has used this time to explore the world of virtual entertainment which opened doors for private audiences  like the transgender community. With the help of Our Fund Foundation, they were able to produce their festivals virtually during this pandemic. Providing an accessible outlet to explore the bounds of the LGBTQ+ community. “Our mission is to inspire, entertain, and educate. We have a great diversity of films, and we have a film for pretty much any type of audience. We really do believe that it’s important that these LGBTQ+ stories are shared with everybody and there is an avenue for them to be expressed,” Gimenez said.

G Wright Muir – Host of Thou Art Woman and Board Member of Our Fund

G Wright Muir and Nik Harris, the hosts of Thou Art Woman, have used their passion to prepare for the future of this group. Starting off as an open mic performance in an art gallery, now has turned into one of the top groupings for queer and lesbian women. Thou Art Woman has been using their platform to bring awareness to the voices of queer women in South Florida. Singing, poetry, dance, spoken word: you name it, they have it. The money provided by Our Fund was one of the largest bounties this company has received, nourishing the ability to produce these events. They used the money to pay their artists for their work, venue locations, marketing, and everything needed to make a night of performance worth remembering. Our Fund never made them jump through unnecessary hoops to get places. Muir, also a member of Our Fund’s board, gets an inside look into what goes on in this corporation. A proud member, Muir recognizes how quickly they step up for all areas of LGBTQ+ communities, especially for people of color, “To serve on a board where they really value racial equity and what’s happening. Really looking at anti-racism, not having some organizations but all organizations work on this,” Muir said.

Nik Harris – Host of Thou Art Woman

Thou Art Woman’s mission is to follow the future, what people hope to see more of from this group while never taking their audience for granted. “Believe me, we will continue even if there isn’t a demand because we think it’s important,” Harris said. 

Thou Art Woman

Our Fund Foundation had a calling that brought them to this community. The LGBTQ+ Arts will always need allies but will never go out of style. Through the years, many have seen the significant impacts created by Our Fund to The Arts. The next five years for Our Fund Foundation will be spent conducting sessions to reevaluate the needs of these companies and planning how they will improve their support in the coming years. From keeping the lights on to bringing inspirational pieces to life, Our Fund has been one of the largest beneficiaries to give grants to the arts in Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach County. These nonprofits welcome helping hands that want to be a part of changing the future and Our Fund will play a huge role over the next decade.

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