© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Campaign For Southern Equality Offers COVID-19 Grants To LGBTQ+ Southerners

Lilly Knoepp
Methodists march for LBGTQ+ rights at Lake Junaluska in 2019.

The Campaign for Southern Equality(CSE) has announced that it is opening up an additional round of funding for LGBTQ Southerners who have been impacted by COVID-19.

 This will bring the total amount available for the program’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Program up to more than $200,000 since March. 

“With these grants, we are moving money directly to individuals and families, because that is what people have told us will most effectively address their immediate needs. Right now, LGBTQ people across the South are hurting, worrying about how they’ll make it through the next month financially while also doing everything they can to remain healthy, save their jobs, and care for their loved ones,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality in an email. 

The grants can be used for basic needs such as groceries, rent and medical bills.

“Folks who have received grants already have let us know that these $100 emergency assistance grants not only allow them to buy food and make rent, but also let them know that there’s a community that cares about them and is ready to support them,” says Beach-Ferrara in an email. 

In the previous two rounds of grants, 60 percent of recipients were people of color and 72 percent were transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, according to CSE. 


The organization explains that Southerners face disparities that could put them at higher risk of COVID-19 than people living elsewhere in the United States, including higher rates of chronic illnesses, HIV/AIDS, and poverty. According to CSE, these disparities are further compounded for LGBTQ Southerners, especially people of color, trans and gender nonconforming people, and people living in non-metro areas.


The COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Program is a part of CSE’sSouthern Equality Fund, a trust-based grassroots grantmaking program that has supported LGBTQ grassroots organizing in the South since 2016. You can apply for the grant at the CSE website

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
Related Content