The moment is finally here.

Last November, the It Gets Better Project announced an opportunity for schools across the country to apply for up to $10,000 in grant funding to support school-based projects empowering LGBTQ+ students. The 50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices initiative was made available to middle and/or high schools in every US state, including Washington D.C. and US territories.

We are so excited to finally be able to announce all of the grant recipients, with each school receiving the full $10,000 in funding. Fifty grants are being awarded in 40 states plus Washington D.C., including many traditionally conservative areas. Submissions were received from a wide range of small rural towns, average-sized suburbs, and large urban cities.

The winning projects include a school in the conservative area of Mission, Texas which will be using the funds to create a regional Queer Youth Conference; a school in Maine that is creating a Gender Sexuality Alliance to train educators and administrators on LGBTQ+ knowledge; a Colorado school remodeling single-gender restrooms into gender-neutral ones; a school in Minnesota which will offer an LGBTQ+ history and pop culture class; and a gender-inclusive closet providing affirming clothes for trans and gender non-conforming students in New Mexico.

Grant opportunities were made possible by the generous support of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) through American Eagle and Aerie customer donations from all 50 states via their Real Rewards loyalty program, as well as in-store pin-pad promotion during Pride Month 2021. Their support is what made this grant program possible, and we are incredibly thankful.

And now, please join us in congratulating all of the 2022 recipients of 50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices. School names have been published with the permission of school administrators.

Homewood, AL – Magic City Acceptance Academy: This project will provide outreach for their GSA and Open Arts program, through studio time to express through artistic mediums, distribute pronoun pins, and create a set of Unity Murals based on inclusion and love with a focus on LGBTQ+ History, predominantly queer black history.

A GSA and Pride event at a school in Arizona.

A mental health resource library at a high school in Arkansas.

A GSA club at a high school in San Diego, California.

Oakland, CA – Fremont High School: A gender-affirming closet to help trans students access clothing that fits their true selves.

Baldwin Park, CA – Baldwin Park High School: A garden that will be a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.

Telluride, CO – Telluride Middle High School: This project will remodel a pair of single-gender lavatories to become gender-neutral bathrooms. The location of these remodeled facilities would be accessible to both the middle school and high school. (Read more about this project here)

Ansonia, CT – Ansonia High School: This project will create the first interschool Pride conference for students.

Camden, DE – Positive Outcomes Charter School: The school will host a virtual conference for educators, students, and parents to support LGBTQ+ students.

Washington D.C. – Center City Public Charter School – Petworth Campus: This project will create a GSA (Petworth Prism) on campus, one club for each grade 5 through 8. Throughout the year, they will take on three projects: a student-created mural project, training for administrators, and adding LGBTQ+ books to each classroom library.

A community-wide Pride event at a school in Florida.

Kapolei, HI – DreamHouse ‘Ewa Beach Public Charter  School: This project will help parents understand the importance of advocating for LGBTQ+students in schools. By centering Native Hawaiian knowledge and education around māhū identity (third gender identity), this project will bridge conversations related to cultural practices and Western LGBTQ+ topics and language. (Read more about this project here)

Des Plaines, IL – Maine West High School: This school will host community-wide Pride events.

An education and mural project at a high school in Indiana.

Carmel, IN – Carmel High School: This project will involve producing community-wide Pride events.

An LGBTQ+ inclusive library project at a school in Kentucky.

Metairie, LA – Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies: This project will fund LGBTQ+-inclusive training for students and faculty.

Cape Elizabeth, ME – Cape Elizabeth High School: This project will assist the GSA in creating training materials for educators focusing on LGBTQ+ knowledge and inclusion. Trainings will include videos from students sharing the importance of each topic. This will ideally be shown school-wide at the start of each year.

Columbia, MD – Hammon High School: This project will create a Rainbow Conference for students, staff, parents, and community.

Carver, MA – Carver Middle High School: This project will provide training for staff and update school signage to be gender-inclusive.

Strengthening new school GSA’s to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion at a school in Massachusetts.

Ypsilanti, MI – ACTech and STEMM Middle College High School: this project will fund a Pride Prom.

Portage, MI – Portage Northern High School: This project will build a free clothing closet for all students.

Richfield, MN – Partnership Academy: This project will create a new elective focused on LGBTQ+ history and culture.

Jackson, MS – Ida B Wells APAC High School Program: This project will fund the design of a set of murals based on inclusion and unity highlighting LGBTQ+ history, especially queer black history.

Brookfield, MO – Brookfield High School: This project will fund an LGBTQ+ section in the library.

A gender-inclusive closet at a high school in Missouri.

Grand Island, NE – Grand Island Senior High School: This project will fund the creation of a mural to represent all identities in the LGBTQ+ community.

Surry, NH – Surry Village Charter School: This project will update the school to include LGBTQ+ curriculum.

Hackensack, NJ – Hackensack Middle School: Project will support a school-wide Pride event and more GSA activities.

Woodstown, NJ – Woodstown High School: School will host a series of LGBTQ+ inclusive events throughout the school year.

Las Cruces, NM – Centennial High School: Build a gender-inclusive closet providing affirming supplies and clothes for trans and gender non-conforming students.

Syracuse, NY – Edward Smith K-8 School: Project will create a new GSA and provide community mentoring.

An art therapy program at a school in North Carolina.

LGBTQ+ inclusive resources for staff and students at a school in North Dakota.

Cleveland, OH – Campus International High School: Create and host the school’s first Pride festival.

Oklahoma City, OK – Putnam City North High School: Expand the reach of the school GSA.

A club based on LGBTQ+ equity and advocacy at a high school in Oregon.

Phoenixville, PA – Renaissance Academy Charter School: Building inclusive and affirming curricula for K-12.

Update curriculum to include LGBTQ+ contributions at a school in Rhode Island.

A mural with local artists to highlight the LGBTQ+ community at a school in South Dakota.

A series of events during Pride Week at a school in Nashville, Tennessee.

Mission, TX – IDEA North Mission College Preparatory: This project is looking to create a region-wide Queer Youth Conference where Queer youth across south Texas can come together. The primary objective is to make schools safer and more inclusive. This will be tailored to the Queer Youth that are spread out through their high schools. (Read more about this project here).

Layton, UT – Layton High School: Project will support a series of events during Pride Week.

Newport News, VA – Homer L. Hines Middle School: Project will support LGBTQ+ books and resources in the library and classrooms.

Salem, VA – Salem High School: Project will increase the presence of and develop events for the school’s GSA.

Richland, WA – Hanford High School: Train and provide resources to staff members and student leadership.

Racine, WI – Walden III High School: Project will support building a series of LGBTQ+ Little Free Libraries around town.

Green Bay, WI – Edison Middle School: Organize a district-wide LGBTQ+ student empowerment summit.

An LGBTQ+ little libraries project throughout the state of Wyoming.