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The It Gets Better Project Announces Recipients of $500K Grant Initiative Benefiting LGBTQ+ Youth

·7 min read

With Support from American Eagle and Aerie, 50 Grants Will Be Distributed Across the US in Largest Grant Initiative from It Get Better To Date

LOS ANGELES, June 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the It Gets Better Project, the world's largest storytelling effort to uplift LGBTQ+ youth, announced the recipients of their school-based grant initiative, 50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices. Through this initiative, middle and/or high schools in every US state, including US territories, were given the opportunity to submit a proposal for a grant of up to $10K to fund new school projects with the aim of uplifting and supporting the wellbeing of local LGBTQ+ students. Grant opportunities were made possible by the generous support of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) through American Eagle and Aerie customer donations from all 50 states via their Real Rewards loyalty program, as well as in-store pin-pad promotion during Pride Month 2021.

It Gets Better Project 50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices
It Gets Better Project 50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices

The It Gets Better Project announces recipients of $500K grant benefiting LGBTQ+ youth across the United States.

The grant submission portal, which opened in November 2021 and closed in March 2022, allowed middle and high school students to apply in partnership with a faculty advisor, educator, or school administrator by preparing a proposal at www.itgetsbetter.org/50states50grants. Fifty grants are being awarded in 40 states plus Washington D.C., including many traditionally conservative areas. Submissions were received from a wide range of small rural towns, average-sized suburbs, and large urban cities.

Grants were prioritized to schools that demonstrate a diverse student population, have a recognized Title I status, have shown documented support for LGBTQ+ students, and have established a Gender and Sexuality Alliance or a similar club. The winning projects include a school in the conservative area of Mission, TX which will be using the funds to create a regional Queer Youth Conference; a school in Maine that is creating a Gender Sexuality Alliance to train educators and administrators on LGBTQ+ knowledge; a Colorado school remodeling single-gender restrooms into gender-neutral ones; a school in Minnesota which will offer a LGBTQ+ history and pop culture class; and a gender-inclusive closet providing affirming clothes for trans and gender non-conforming students in New Mexico.

"The It Gets Better Project understands the importance of partnering with local leaders who have an intimate understanding of their community's needs. The 50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices. grantmaking effort places funds directly into the hands of those who know how to allocate them effectively," says Brian Wenke, Executive Director of the It Gets Better Project. "This initiative strives to put power back into the hands of young LGBTQ+ people, so they can begin to build the world in which they want to live -- starting with their local community. I am grateful for the support AEO brought forth to make this possible, and I cannot wait to see the work in action!"

"It is incredibly gratifying to know that the support of AEO and our AE and Aerie customers is giving students across the country the chance to create more inclusive communities within their schools," said Jennifer Foyle, President - Executive Creative Director, AE and Aerie. "We are so proud of the partnership we have built with It Gets Better Project and the positive impact our work together has upon empowering and uplifting LGBTQ+ youth."

Grants will be awarded to the following schools (for a detailed list of winning projects, please go to https://itgetsbetter.org/blog/meet-the-grantees/):

Homewood, AL – Magic City Acceptance Academy

Jackson, MS - Ida B Wells APAC High School Program

A school in Arizona

Brookfield, MO - Brookfield High School

A high school in Arkansas

A high school in Missouri

A high school in San Diego, California

Grand Island, NE - Grand Island Senior High School

Oakland, CA – Fremont High School

Surry, NH - Surry Village Charter School

Baldwin Park, CA – Baldwin Park High School

Hackensack, NJ - Hackensack Middle School

Telluride, CO –Telluride Middle High School

Woodstown, NJ - Woodstown High School

Ansonia, CT – Ansonia High School

Las Cruces, NM - Centennial High School

Camden, DE – Positive Outcomes Charter School

Syracuse, NY - Edward Smith K-8 School

Washington D.C.. – Center City Public Charter School - Petworth Campus

A school in North Carolina

Tallahassee, FL – Rickards High School

A high school in North Dakota

Kapolei, HI – DreamHouse 'Ewa Beach Public Charter   School

Cleveland, OH - Campus International High School

Des Plaines, IL – Maine West High School

Oklahoma City, OK - Putnam City North High School

A school in Indiana

A high school in Oregon

Carmel, IN – Carmel High School

A school in Pennsylvania

A high school in Kentucky

A high school in Rhode Island

Metairie, LA – Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies

A high school in South Dakota

Cape Elizabeth, ME - Cape Elizabeth High School

A high school in Nashville, Tennessee

Columbia, MD - Hammon High School

Mission, TX – Idea North Mission College Preparatory

Carver, MA - Carver Middle High School

Layton, UT – Layton High School

A high school in Massachusetts

Newport News, VA – Hines Middle School

Ypsilanti, MI - ACTech and STEMM Middle College High School

Salem, VA – Salem High School

Portage, MI – Portage Northern High School

Richland, WA - Hanford High School

Richfield, MN – Partnership Academy

Racine, WI - Walden III High School

Green Bay, WI - Edison Middle School

A library project in Wyoming

Since the beginning of their partnership in 2017, AEO has generated more than $3 million for the It Gets Better Project. In 2019, AEO became the It Gets Better Project's first Legacy Partner, signifying lifetime contributions of $1 million or more. AEO will continue to raise funds to support LGBTQ+ youth in partnership with the It Gets Better Project during Pride Month 2022.

Further information on upcoming projects is available at www.itgetsbetter.org.

About the It Gets Better Project

Launched in 2010 as the result of one of the most successful viral video campaigns in YouTube's history, the It Gets Better Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that strives to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the globe. The It Gets Better Project provides critical support and hope to LGBTQ+ youth around the world by leveraging the power of media to reach millions of people each year. Its origins in storytelling and media have expanded to include It Gets Better EDU, which exists to ensure educators and student leaders have access to It Gets Better series plus easy-to-use resources, information, and more wherever learning takes place, and It Gets Better Global, our Global Affiliate Network which can be found in 19 countries and in eight different languages.

The It Gets Better Project received the 2012 Governor's Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and has been highlighted in a wide range of films and television programs, including a Saturday Night Live sketch in February, 2021. The project has garnered support from President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with numerous celebrities, including Kelly Clarkson, Gabrielle Union, Zachary Quinto, Mj Rodriguez, Josie Totah, and Gigi Gorgeous. More than 750,000 people have taken the It Gets Better pledge to share messages of hope and to speak up against intolerance.

Connect with the It Gets Better Project at www.itgetsbetter.org and join the conversation on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter at @ItGetsBetter; Facebook.com/ItGetsBetterProject; and YouTube.com/ItGetsBetterProject.

About American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend clothing, accessories and personal care products at affordable prices under its American Eagle® and Aerie® brands. Our purpose is to show the world that there's REAL power in the optimism of youth. The company operates stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Hong Kong, and ships to 81 countries worldwide through its websites. American Eagle and Aerie merchandise also is available at more than 200 international locations operated by licensees in 33 countries. For more information, please visit www.aeo-inc.com.


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SOURCE It Gets Better Project