The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley (CFMV) announced that it will award $191,500 in grants and sponsorships to support local LGBTQ+ community projects. The funds will assist two major projects which are scheduled to begin later this year

The first project is the Lake to River LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment – covering Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana Counties – facilitated by Kent State University public health program outreach director Andrew Snyder and graduate assistant Alex DiDonato.

The second project is the creation of a community organizer position hosted by Equality Ohio, a non-profit LGBTQ+ advocacy and legal aid organization.

According to a press release, the projects, while separate, will "work closely together to support ongoing work by local LGBTQ+ organizations."

Snyder and DiDonato are in the process of completing their second LGBTQ+ community needs assessment, currently putting together a report for Greater Cleveland that will be released in October. The first, covering the Akron area, was completed in 2022.

The needs assessment received a total of $80,000 from the Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation and the Western Reserve Health Foundation.

"The expansion of the project represents an important step in empowering and uplifting the voices and priorities of LGBTQ+ communities across northeast Ohio," Snyder says. He explained that understanding the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals in the Valley enhances decision-making, commitments to community.

Equality Ohio will hire a community organizer to work in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties with the support of a two-year commitment from the Community Foundation. This is Equality Ohio's second community organizer position, following a similar position currently serving Greater Cleveland communities.

Equality Ohio received $90,000 from CFMV sources – $40,000 from both the Western Reserve Health Foundation and Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation, along with $10,000 from the Community Foundation General Grant.

Grant awards were also made to PFLAG Youngstown and Full Spectrum Community Outreach.

The Foundation will sponsor two upcoming Valley Pride celebrations: Pride Youngstown on June 22, and Columbiana County Pride on July 20.