The Rights, Faith and Democracy Collaborative (RFDC) is a pro-abortion and gay marriage donor collaborative project created and managed by the Proteus Fund, a center-left funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit.
In March 2017, the Proteus Fund announced the Rights, Faith and Democracy Collaborative (RFDC). The RFDC supports state-level opposition to religious exemptions to laws requiring businesses to serve same-sex marriage ceremonies and protecting conscientious objectors from performing or recommending abortions. 1 Jason Franklin, Chairman of the Board of the Proteus Fund, stated that the RFDC exists “to push back against the use of religion as a means of words for discrimination,” targeting measures that grant conscience protections against participation in same-sex marriages and abortions. 2
RFDC has donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which recently sued Catholic hospital systems for not providing abortion or sterilization procedures. 3 RFDC has also funded Lambda Legal, a group involved in litigation to limit religious exemptions to laws requiring wedding vendors to serve same-sex ceremonies.
The group filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case requesting the court rule in favor of the Commission, defining Jack Phillip’s refusal to decorate a cake for a same sex wedding — because of his religious convictions — as discrimination against gay people. 4
The RFDC also seeks to influence faith groups from within by supporting members of dissident factions who hold the RFDC’s positions on abortion and LGBT issues. 5 One of its grantees, the pro-abortion group of self-proclaimed Roman Catholics called “Catholics for Choice,” seeks to change the Catholic Church by promoting opposition to Catholic teachings opposing abortion. 6
Rights, Faith and Democracy Collaborative Grant Recipients
|Rights, Faith and Democracy: Grant Recipients||Amount||Year|
|ACLU Foundation of Texas||$950||2017|
|American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico Foundation||$101,250||2017|
|Atlanta Jobs with Justice||$125,000||2017|
|Center for Civic Policy||$101,250||2017|
|Equality Florida Institute||$,5000||2017|
|Equality Foundation of Georgia||$125,000||2017|
|Equality Texas Foundation||$750||2017|
|Institute for Social Policy and Understanding||$2,550||2017|
|New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice||$101,250||2017|
|Planned Parenthood Advocates of Texas||$750||2017|
|Young Women United||$101,250||2017|
|American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico Foundation||$100,000||2018|
|Atlanta Jobs with Justice||$125,000||2018|
|Center for Civic Policy||$100,000||2018|
|Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights||$5,000||2018|
|Equality Foundation of Georgia||$125,000||2018|
|Interfaith Alliance of Colorado||$5,000||2018|
|Jewish Community Action||$5,000||2018|
|New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice||$100,000||2018|
|One Colorado Education Fund||$5,000||2018|
|Outfront Minnesota Community Services||$5,000||2018|
|Soul 2 Soul||$5,000||2018|
|TakeAction Minnesota Education Fund||$5,000||2018|
|Young Women United||$100,000||2018|
- “Proteus Fund Announces a New Funder Collaborative to Oppose the Use of Religious Exemptions to Undermine Fundamental Rights.” Philanthropy New York. March 16, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2018. https://philanthropynewyork.org/news/proteus-fund-announces-new-funder-collaborative-oppose-use-religious-exemptions-undermine.
- Williams, Wendy. “LGBTQ Philanthropy is Growing Yet Under Attack | PBA.” Pro Bono Australia. November 23, 2017. Accessed January 19, 2018. https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2017/11/lgbtq-philanthropy-growing-yet-attack/.
- Slade, Stephanie. “Why is the A.C.L.U. targeting Catholic hospitals?” America Magazine-The Jesuit Review. June 01, 2017. Accessed February 01, 2018. https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/05/31/why-aclu-targeting-catholic-hospitals.
- Lambda Legal. “Lambda Legal to High Court: Religious License to Discriminate Harms LGBT People from Cradle to Grave.” Lambda Legal. October 30, 2017. Accessed February 01, 2018. https://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/co_20171030_masterpiece-cakeshop-amicus-filing.
- Rights, Faith and Democracy Collaborative.” The Proteus Fund. 2018. Accessed January 19, 2018. https://www.proteusfund.org/rfdc.
- “About Our Work.” Catholics For Choice. 2018. Accessed February 01, 2018. http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/about-us/about-our-work/.
- “Our Grants.” Proteus Fund (Grants Database). Accessed July 3, 2019. Original URL: https://www.proteusfund.org/grants-index/. Archived here: