The It Gets Better Project Announces $500K Grant Initiative Benefiting LGBTQ+ Youth with Support from American Eagle and Aerie Brands

The It Gets Better Project Opened Applications Today With the Goal of Awarding At Least One Grant in Each U.S. State

LOS ANGELES, CA. (November 10, 2021) – Today, the It Gets Better Project, the world’s largest storytelling effort to uplift LGBTQ+ youth, launched a new school-based grant initiative, 50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices. Through this new initiative, grants of up to $10K each will be awarded to at least one middle and/or high school in every US state, including US territories, and funds will support projects to uplift and support the wellbeing of local LGBTQ+ students. The grant opportunities are made possible by the generous support of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO)  through customer donations from all 50 states via their Real Rewards loyalty program, as well as in-store pin-pad promotion during Pride Month 2021.

The applications for grant opportunities opened today, and queer (LGBTQ+) students ages 13-18 can apply in partnership with a faculty advisor, educator, or school administrator by preparing a proposal at Potential projects might include a school Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) a mural highlighting heroes of the LGBTQ+ history movement, a school float in a local Pride parade, and more.

Grants will be 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 GSA or a similar club. Eligibility criteria, sample project themes and more can be found at The applications will close in February 2022 and final recipients will be announced in June during Pride Month 2022.

“Connecting LGBTQ+ youth to their community is a number one priority of the It Gets Better Project. In partnership with AEO’s American Eagle and Aerie brands, the 50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices. initiative will provide opportunities to enhance existing or introduce new programming to help LGBTQ+ youth find and connect with their community at school,” said Brian Wenke, Executive Director of the It Gets Better Project. “Our five-year partnership with AEO is the perfect example of how brands and nonprofits can work together to create meaningful change in the world.”

“Through the generosity of our American Eagle and Aerie customers, AEO is honored to support the It Gets Better Project in launching this important grant initiative. Prioritizing LGBTQ+ youth and building more positive, inclusive communities in schools is how we can help create real change,” said Jennifer Foyle, President – Executive Creative Director, AE and Aerie. “AEO’s continued support of the It Gets Better Project is led by our shared passion for inspiring change and empowering LGBTQ+ youth, as well as fostering a safe space for everyone to be their most authentic selves.”

Since their initial 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. 

Further information on upcoming projects will be available at