Non-profit

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Website:

www.astraeafoundation.org/%20

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-2992977

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $8,328,653
Expenses: $7,348,474
Assets: $12,771,252

Formation:

1977

Founders:

Achebe Powell

Stella Alvo

Audrey Barnes

Nancy Dean

Barbara Grant

Joyce Hunter

Roberta Kosse

Cynthia Long

Joan Watts

Leslie Kanes Weisman

Executive Director:

Jennifer Bob Alotta

Chief Financial Officer:

Susan Neiman

Director of Programs:

Sangeeta Budhiraja

Director of Development:

Barbara Jean Davis

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (Astraea) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that has funneled over $31 million to bolster Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) political organizations.[1]

Since 2013, Astraea has worked extensively with the U.S. government and was provided funds by the Obama administration to support international LGBTQI political efforts.[2] It has since established itself as a player in international LGBTQI politics by working with governments, non-governmental organizations, and the United Nations.[3]

Organizational Overview

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Astraea was founded in 1977 by a group of women in New York City to provide financial support to lesbians and minority women activists in the U.S.[4] Today it has four categories of grants: U.S., International, Intersex, and Global Arts funds.[5] Each fund aims to bolster other organizations and foundations that are “not only able but charged to take radical collective action” to further its racial and gender priorities as well as to fund art produced only by LGBTQI individuals.[6]

In recent years, Astraea has grown to influence local politics in 83 countries around the world.[7] This effort was significantly aided by partnerships with federal agencies during the Obama administration.

In 2013, after President Barack Obama issued a memorandum directing executive agencies to address LGBTQI issues,[8] the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S.A.I.D.) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency joined with Astraea and two other foundations to form the LGBT Global Development Partnership.[9] The effort used public and private funding and technology to implement LGBTQI efforts in 14 countries.[10]

In 2014, Astraea coordinated with the State Department to provide funding and community organization capabilities to the gay rights movement in South Korea following the Korean Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.[11]

Since 2014, Astraea has been cooperating with U.S.A.I.D. to convene “CommsLabs” around the world that “share skills and technologies, and co-create accessible and regionally-relevant advocacy and communications tools that amplify their [activists] narratives of resistance.”[12] It has convened CommsLabs in southern Africa and South America. [13]

Funding

While Astraea claims to “increase transparency” by listing is financial statements and form 990s from 2004 to 2015 on its website, it does not disclose its donors.

The following information has been identified using publicly available documents.

Out of the foundation’s $8,733,447 in revenue in the 2016 fiscal year, $1,037,325 was from government grants, while fundraising events were reported at $134,503.[14] Out of its $7,994,790 in expenses, $1,957,357 were grants given to domestic organizations and governments while $1,618,861 were grants given to foreign organizations, governments, and individuals.[15] The remainder was used primarily for operational expenses and compensation.

The Arcus Foundation appears to be Astraea’s largest donor.[16] In 2016, it gave a combined $2.48 million dollars to Astraea and has given comparable amounts in prior years.[17]

The combined money Astraea received from the Arcus foundation with what is listed as government grants equals over 40.2% of its total revenue in the 2016 fiscal year.

Other notable donors to Astraea are:

People

The founders of Astraea are: Achebe Powell, Stella Alvo, Audrey Barnes, Nancy Dean, Barbara Grant, Joyce Hunter, Roberta Kosse, Cynthia Long, Joan Watts, and Leslie Kanes Weisman.[22]

Katherine Acey was hired in 1989 as Astraea’s first staff member. She later became its executive director.[23] Under Acey’s direction, Astraea formed the Lesbian Writers Fund, International Fund for Sexual Minorities, and the U.S. Movement Building Initiative.[24] The Movement Building Initiative is an Astrea led, Ford Foundation-funded initiative to fund LGBTQI organizations led only by people of color.[25]

The current executive director of Astraea is Jennifer Bob Alotta. Prior to working at Astraea, Alotta was the Board Chair of FIERCE, an LGBTQ organization that focuses on youth of color.[26] She is also a filmmaker and currently serves as producer, director, and post-supervisor to Zeitbyte, LLC, a media company based in New York City.[27] Alotta spoke at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.[28]

Astraea leadership with reported income on its fiscal year 2016 form 990 include:[29]

  • Jennifer Bob Alotta is Astraea’s executive director. (2016 compensation: $169,653)
  • Aba Taylor is Astraea’s former deputy director. (2016 compensation: $27,282)
  • Clarence Patton is Astraea’s executive director of the Pipeline Project. (2016 compensation: $120,203)

Justice Eisfeld is listed as executive director of Global Advocates for Trans Equality (2016 compensation: $48,144). Eisfeld left GATE in 2015, about the same time that GATE ended six years of being fiscally a sponsored project of Astraea.[30]

Susan Neiman is the group’s chief financial officer. (2016 compensation: $124,347)

Sarah Gunther is the former director of programs (2016 compensation: $100,123). Position now held by Interim Director of Programs Sangeeta Budhiraja.

Gina Taglieri is the former director of development (2016 compensation: $132,753). Position now held by Barbara Jean Davis.

Affiliations

Astraea “fiscally hosts” the International Trans Fund,[31] which is a grantee of the Open Society Foundations.[32] ITF’s mission is vaguely described as an initiative to provide funds for trans-led movements, both nationally and internationally. ITF works similarly to Astraea by funneling grants to other organizations.[33]

Astraea also “hosts” the Global Philanthropy Project, which is an LGBTQI organization that “focuses on the global south and east.”[34] Alotta serves as the Project’s Executive Committee Co-Chair.[35]

The Pipeline Project (Pipeline), a project to get people of color into trans-activism leadership, is an arm of Astraea. The two organizations share the same address and its Executive Director is listed on Astrea’s Form 990.[36] Pipeline similarly receives funds from the Arcus Foundation, but Astraea does not disclose direct funds to Pipeline.[37]

Astraea has partnered with AlQaws’, a Palestinian LGBTQI group attempting to alter social society in Gaza and the West Bank to support LGBTQI people.[38] It has gained notoriety more for opposing the Israeli government, primarily attacking Israel’s efforts to foster LGBTQI inclusion. AlQaws calls the effort  “pink washing.”[39]

Representatives of Astraea sit on the board of the National Network of Grantmakers, which is a network of individuals involved in philanthropy who organize to direct funding toward leftist groups.[40]

Katherine Acey, Astraea’s first Executive Director, serves on the Open Society Foundations Human Rights Initiative Board.[41]

Jacob Tobia, a member of the Astraea Foundation, is part of the Trans United Fund Advisory Committee, which “is committed to building the political power of trans and gender expansive communities and our allies to advocate for trans equality.”[42]

References

  1. The Astraea lesbian Foundation for Justice, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part I, line 13.
  2. Alotta, Jennifer Bob. “Op-ed: Fueling the Frontlines for LGBT Rights.” ADVOCATE. May 16, 2014. Accessed September 25, 2017. https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/05/16/op-ed-fueling-frontlines-lgbt-rights.
  3. Lucas, Dr. Claire. “Taking Our New Model of LGBT Inclusive Development to UNGA | USAID Impact.” USAID Impact Blog, 27 Sept. 2013, blog.usaid.gov/2013/09/new-model-of-lgbt-inclusive-development-at-unga-2013/. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.
  4. “Astraea At 40.” Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice, 2017, www.astraeafoundation.org/about-us/astraea-at-40/. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.
  5. “Apply for a Grant.” Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://www.astraeafoundation.org/apply/.
  6. Hagen, Jamie. “Astraea, A Lesbian Foundation for Justice: The Autostraddle Interview.” Autostraddle. September 05, 2013. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://www.autostraddle.com/astraea-a-lesbian-foundation-for-justice-the-autostraddle-interview-152395/.
  7. Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice / Meet Astraea. Accessed September 11, 2017. https://www.astraeafoundation.org/videolibrary/astraea-lesbian-foundation-for-justice/. https://www.astraeafoundation.org/videolibrary/astraea-lesbian-foundation-for-justice/.
  8. Office of the Press Secretary. “Presidential Memorandum — International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons.” National Archives and Records Administration. December 6, 2011. Accessed September 26, 2017. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/06/presidential-memorandum-international-initiatives-advance-human-rights-l.
  9. Press Office, USAID. “USAID Announces New Partnership to Promote LGBT Human Rights Abroad.” U.S. Agency for International Development. April 08, 2013. Accessed September 26, 2017. https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/press-releases/usaid-announces-new-partnership-promote-lgbt-human-rights-abroad.
  10. “The LGBTI Global Development Partnership Fact Sheet.” U.S. Agency for International Development. June 22, 2016. Accessed September 26, 2017. https://www.usaid.gov/GlobalDevLab/documents/lgbt-global-development-partnership-fact-sheet.
  11. Padden, Brian. “US Influence Felt on Both Sides of South Korean Gay Rights Debate.” VOA. July 09, 2015. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://www.voanews.com/a/us-influence-felt-on-both-sides-of-south-korean-gay-rights-debate/2854672.html.
  12. Atrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. “Raising Trans Visibility – On Paper, In Person, Online | USAID Impact.” United States Agency for International Development. November 15, 2016. Accessed September 26, 2017. https://blog.usaid.gov/2016/11/raising-trans-visibility-on-paper-in-person-online/.
  13. “CommsLabs.” Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. Accessed September 26, 2017. https://www.astraeafoundation.org/about-us/commslabs/.
  14. The Astraea lesbian Foundation for Justice, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part VIII, lines 1c – 1f, 12.
  15. The Astraea lesbian Foundation for Justice, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part IX, lines 1 – 3.
  16. “Who We Are | LGBT Social Justice & Great Apes Conservation.” Arcus. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://www.arcusfoundation.org/who-we-are/.
  17. https://www.arcusfoundation.org/grantees/?_paged=2&focus=default&amount=default&_year=2016&location=default
  18. “Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.” Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. August 02, 2015. Accessed September 27, 2017. http://www.haasjr.org/grants/grantee/astraea-lesbian-foundation-for-justice.
  19. Loudon, Trevor. “The Tides Foundation and Center: Brokers of the Revolution.” Capital Research Center. October 2010. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/the-tides-foundation-and-center-brokers-of-the-revolution/.
  20. “Grantee Resources.” Grantee Resources | Crossroads Fund. 2017. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://crossroadsfund.org/content/grantee-resources.
  21. “Our grantees.” Stonewall Community Foundation. 2016. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://www.stonewallfoundation.org/grantees/.
  22. Staff. “Justice is Sweet: Astraea’s Funding the Fight for Queer People of Color.” Feminist Teacher. March 08, 2010. Accessed September 27, 2017. https://feministteacher.com/2010/03/08/justice-is-sweet-astraeas-funding-the-fight-for-queer-people-of-color/.
  23. “Astraea At 40.” Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. Accessed September 11, 2017. https://www.astraeafoundation.org/about-us/astraea-at-40/.
  24. “Katherine Acey.” Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. Accessed September 11, 2017. https://www.astraeafoundation.org/team/katherine-acey/.
  25. “The Movement Building Initiative Celebrates Six Years of Success.” Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. December 7, 2011. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://www.astraeafoundation.org/stories/the-movement-building-initiative-celebrates-six-years-of-success/.
  26. “J. Bob Alotta.” Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://www.astraeafoundation.org/team/j-bob-alotta/.
  27. Staff. “Company Overview of Zeitbyte, LLC.” Bloomberg.com. Accessed September 27, 2017. https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=133752366.
  28. Armeli, Alicia. “The Real Women’s March. Where Feminism Met Humanitarianism.” The Huffington Post. January 23, 2017. Accessed September 10, 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alicia-armeli-msed-msn-rdn-chlc/the-real-womens-march-whe_b_14324258.html.
  29. The Astraea lesbian Foundation for Justice, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part VII, Section A, line 1a, parts 13-19.
  30. News, Internal. “Transitions at GATE.” GATE. July 22, 2015. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://transactivists.org/2015/07/22/transitions-at-gate/.
  31. Dynarski, Wiktor. “[WATCH] This New Fund Wants to Supercharge Grassroots Trans Activism.” Open Society Foundations. July 14, 2017. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/giving-trans-activism-support-it-deserves.
  32. “Resourcing Trans Movements Worldwide.” International Trans Fund. Accessed September 10, 2017. http://www.transfund.org/.
  33. “Resourcing Trans Movements Worldwide.” International Trans Fund. Accessed September 27, 2017. http://www.transfund.org/.
  34. Global Philanthropy Project. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://globalphilanthropyproject.org/.
  35. “Leadership.” Global Philanthropy Project. Accessed September 27, 2017. https://globalphilanthropyproject.org/about-us/leadership/.
  36. “The Pipeline Project.” Contact Us | The Pipeline Project. Accessed September 11, 2017. http://lgbtpipeline.org/contact.
  37. “The Pipeline Project.” About Pipeline | The Pipeline Project. Accessed September 10, 2017. http://lgbtpipeline.org/about.
  38. “AlQaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society.” Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. Accessed September 10, 2017. https://www.astraeafoundation.org/stories/alqaws-sexual-gender-diversity-palestinian-society/.
  39. Maikey, Haneen. “Why we should boycott Gay Pride in Tel Aviv | Opinion.” Newsweek. June 09, 2017. Accessed September 28, 2017. http://www.newsweek.com/why-we-should-boycott-gay-pride-tel-aviv-623211.
  40. “National Network of Grantmakers.” Discover the Networks. Accessed September 27, 2017. http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=6512.
  41. “Boards, Katherine Acey.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed September 11, 2017. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/people/katherine-acey.
  42. “About.” Trans United Fund. Accessed September 10, 2017. http://www.transunitedfund.org/about/.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1979

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Jun Form 990 $8,328,653 $7,348,474 $12,771,252 $3,555,426 N $7,666,939 $50,627 $166,685 $483,700 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $6,393,933 $6,604,625 $12,510,166 $3,396,616 N $6,006,956 $61,090 $151,366 $424,828 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $5,129,958 $4,633,720 $10,988,268 $1,954,261 N $4,704,323 $79,266 $150,643 $399,762 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $6,300,770 $3,704,719 $10,175,205 $2,090,961 N $5,983,453 $63,764 $161,122 $343,108 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $4,153,480 $6,374,744 $8,292,020 $1,838,630 N $3,839,057 $145,557 $136,081 $353,483 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

    116 EAST 16TH ST 7TH FLOOR
    NEW YORK, NY 10003-2159