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Activism: Who’s funding our movement?

Activism issueFrom the nine organizations that responded to the GA Voice LGBT organization survey, several key financial themes emerge:

• Individual donations make up a smaller percentage of budgets than you might think in a community as large as ours, coming in far below 50 percent for every organization except Savannah Pride (which has a small budget of only $50,000) and the StandUp Foundation (which benefited from a major anonymous donor in 2012).

• Federal and state grants support a large portion of some health agencies’ HIV work, but no local LGBT groups receive government funding.

• Corporate sponsorships are not common, either. Even Atlanta Pride, which gets chided from some activists for being “too corporate,” gets less than half of its funding from corporate sponsorships — and a miniscule 4.7 percent from individual donations.

Survey participants included Atlanta Pride, Georgia Equality, The Health Initiative, Lost-N-Found Youth, Savannah Pride, the StandUP Foundation, AID Atlanta, Positive Impact and Someone Cares Atlanta.

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StandUp Foundation awards nearly $60,000 in grants to anti-bullying efforts

Ben Cohen, the former English rugby star and always gay icon who has taken his fame and rugged good looks to raise money for anti-bullying efforts through his StandUp Foundation, announced today his organization donated nearly $60,000 in since it was founded in Atlanta 2011.

“Our mission is simple but will take time to fulfill. We are off to a strong start,” said Cohen in a prepared statement. “We exist to raise awareness of the long-term damaging effects of bullying, and to fund those doing real-world work to stop it.”

Cohen has also said he wants to specifically work to stop LGBT bullying as well as end homophobia in sports. He has become a popular attendee of many Atlanta LGBT events, enjoys working out with the Atlanta Bucks gay rugby squad, and was an honorary grand marshal for last year's Atlanta Pride.

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[Video] Ben Cohen’s magazine launch, awards dinner to feature Scissor Sister Babydaddy

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Retired rugby star and now full-time anti-bullying advocate Ben Cohen launches his new magazine and hosts a sports awards dinner in Atlanta on Wednesday — and informed sources say Babydaddy from the famed Scissor Sisters will be on hand to join in the celebrations.

The Compete Sports Diversity Awards and StandUp Magazine  launch will be held together on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at TWELVE Atlantic Station, located at 361 17th St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30363. Tickets are still on sale for both events and can be purchased here. Nov. 14 also marks the Second Annual StandUp Day marking the anniversary of Cohen's father's death after he was killed trying to stand up for an employee who was being attacked.

From Cohen about the Second Annual StandUp Day:

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Ben Cohen wants you to ‘StandUp’

Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen’s rugged good looks, gregarious personality and prowess on the pitch easily won him gay fans, but it is his community activism that earned him a spot as one of two honorary grand marshals of the 2012 Atlanta Pride parade.

The former rugby star from England has made Atlanta almost a second home since deciding to base his StandUp Foundation here. He is considered the first straight athlete to dedicate his philanthropic efforts to combat LGBT bullying and eliminate homophobia in sports.

Founded in 2011, the StandUp Foundation has raised some $500,000 to donate to such organizations as Atlanta Field Day, the national Campus Pride, Bully Free Zone UK, Safety Center UK, Belong to Youth Services Ireland and a number of local schools and safety programs, according to Atlanta resident Patrick Davis, foundation president.

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StandUp Foundation aims to be next ‘Livestrong’

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Patrick Davis, head of Atlanta-based StandUp Foundation's board of directors, penned a column in The Huffington Post today, saying his organization has the potential to become a social-commercial campaign, much like Lance Armstrong's Livestrong or the (RED) AIDS in Africa campaign.

Davis says that the LGBT equality movement is a part of mainstream culture and thinks the time is right to expand the message:

"I am thrilled by the leadership and support of brands sponsoring Pride celebrations. But I wonder if they know that marketing existing brands to LGBT people is far from building brands expressly for the benefit our community and causes. We are ready for a social-commercial brand to drive additional mainstream awareness, support and dollars.

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Big events on tap as Stonewall Month winds down in Ga.

2012 East Point Possums show

As cities around the nation celebrate LGBT Pride the last weekend in June, Atlanta’s Stonewall Month winds down with several Pride-themed events. From sports to festivals and even a “Sugarbutch” blogger, there is plenty to do before the month wraps up.

Pride festivals are traditionally held the last weekend in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, fought back against police harassment in what is widely seen as a turning point for gay rights.

But after being celebrated the last weekend in June in Piedmont Park for most of its history, Atlanta Pride was forced to move in 2008 when a record drought booted all large festivals from the park. After an unpopular July 4 festival in 2009, Atlanta Pride organizers announced future festivals would be held in Piedmont Park to coincide with National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11.

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Stonewall: Pro-gay rugby star back in town for benefit screening

After a world premiere last fall at Atlanta’s Out on Film Festival, “Legalize Gay” returns for Stonewall Month for a screening to benefit three locally based LGBT groups.

The film, which screens June 11 at Midtown Art Cinema, focuses on several diverse individuals, gay and straight, working to advance LGBT equality. Atlanta ties include a profile of Spelman University alumna Jeshawna Wholley, who organized the first Pride event at the historically black college and was later invited to meet President Barack Obama; and the StandUp Foundation, which is based in Atlanta and was created by U.K. rugby star Ben Cohen.

“When we showed the film as a world premiere in October, it was brand spanking new, and since that time has been well received at college campuses and other festivals,” said Jim Farmer, Out on Film festival director.

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Stonewall: LGBT Braves fan night to benefit StandUp Foundation

Atlanta Braves LGBT fan night

The Atlanta Braves will host the team’s second annual “Out in the Stands” LGBT fan night on June 27. The game is a Wednesday night clash against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Proceeds from special tickets will benefit the StandUp Foundation, an anti-bullying advocacy organization founded by English rugby star Ben Cohen.
Based in Atlanta, the StandUp Foundation works to raise awareness of bullying, with an emphasis on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. It is also dedicated to decreasing homophobia in sports.

Tickets to the game range are available in several packages. The upper box package is $20 and includes one drink ticket at the pre-game patio party. Outfield tickets go for $35 and include two drink tickets. VIP tickets are $200 and include two drink tickets and a meet-and-greet with Cohen in a catered party suite. A portion of every ticket sale, regardless of cost, includes a donation to the StandUp Foundation.