LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The It Gets Better Project, the world’s largest storytelling effort to uplift LGBTQ+ youth, has opened applications for year two of its 50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices grants initiative. Grants of up to $10K each will be awarded to at least one middle or high school in every US state, including US territories, and fund projects that uplift and support the wellbeing of local LGBTQ+ students. This year, the project will expand into Canada under the name It Gets Better – Youth Grants | It Gets Better – Bourse Jeunesse, with grants awarded to at least one middle or high school in every Canadian province and territory. As with the initiative’s inaugural year, the project is made possible by support from American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) through American Eagle and Aerie customer donations in the US and Canada via their Real Rewards loyalty program, as well as an in-store pin-pad promotion during Pride Month 2022.
Grant submission portals in the United States and Canada are open now and will be accepting applications through March 15, 2023. Students are invited to apply in partnership with a faculty advisor, educator, or school administrator.
Recipients of the 2022 grant opportunity were announced last year during Pride Month and feature a wide range of projects aimed at making things better for LGBTQ+ students in schools. Winning projects include a school in Texas organizing a regional Queer Youth Conference; a school in Hawaii helping parents understand the importance of advocating for LGBTQ+students by centering Native Hawaiian knowledge and education around māhū (third gender) identity; a Colorado school remodeling single-gender restrooms into gender-neutral ones; and a TK school; and a school in North Carolina creating an art therapy program for LGBTQ+ students. You can read more about the 2022 grant recipients on itgetsbetter.org.
“At a time when LGBTQ+ youth are being inappropriately drawn into political discourse, 50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices should serve as a reality check to any individual or institution trying to stand in the way of progress,” said Brian Wenke, Executive Director of the It Gets Better Project. “The It Gets Better Project’s sole purpose is to empower LGBTQ+ young people to realize and fulfill their greatest potential. What better way to ignite that spark than by giving youth the power to create the world in which they want to live. LGBTQ+ youth have the energy and the passion to drive true, lasting change. This initiative provides the means to get them started.”
Since the beginning of their partnership in 2017, AEO has generated more than $3.8 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.
About the It Gets Better Project
The It Gets Better Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that strives to uplift, empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the globe. Created in 2010 as the result of one of the most successful viral video campaigns in YouTube’s history, the It Gets Better Project provides critical support and hope to LGBTQ+ youth around the world by leveraging the power of media to reach millions of people each year. The project has expanded its origins in storytelling and media to include educational resources through It Gets Better EDU and reaches 19 countries outside of the U.S. through It Gets Better Global.
The project has garnered support from President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with celebrities including Kelly Clarkson, Gabrielle Union, Zachary Quinto, Mj Rodriguez, Josie Totah, and Gigi Gorgeous. More than 750,000 people have taken the It Gets Better pledge to share messages of hope and speak up against intolerance. Please visit www.itgetsbetter.org for more information.
About American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend clothing, accessories and personal care products at affordable prices under its American Eagle® and Aerie® brands. Our purpose is to show the world that there’s REAL power in the optimism of youth. The company operates stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Hong Kong, and ships to 81 countries worldwide through its websites. American Eagle and Aerie merchandise also is available at more than 200 international locations operated by licensees in 33 countries. For more information, please visit www.aeo-inc.com.
Ross von Metzke