Community One Foundation Awards Thousands of Dollars in 2SLGBTQIA+ Rainbow Grants to 20 Greater Toronto Area Initiatives

For over 31 years, Rainbow Grants have helped nurture the early days of many community initiatives, grassroots projects, established organizations and one-off projects. The Grants are awarded in three different tiers: General (up to $1,500) for projects or people that are not a part of an organization, charity or corporation; Foundation (up to $7,500) for registered charities; and the James Stewart Rainbow Grant (up to $10,000), for registered charities, created thanks to a generous bequest from famed mathematician James Stewart.


The recipients of this year’s 2021 Rainbow Grants are:

General (up to $1,500)

  • The 2021 Virtual POZ-TO Awards ‐ An online awards ceremony that will shine light on individuals and organizations who do thankless work in the HIV/AIDS community.
  • The Art of Blackness Workshop Series ‐ A virtual workshop series that will connect Toronto Black Queer and Trans folks ages 30+ through visual arts, creative writing, and movement workshops by promoting community, healthy expression, destigmatization of mental health needs, and safe(r) spaces, while considering the isolation caused by the pandemic.
  • ACE ‐ A short film following Ace, a socially awkward trans-man. The two are unrelated but have an equal impact on his life. Narrated, visual vignettes – adapted from three short stories written by the man himself.
  • Queerdigital Speaker Series – Indigenous Friends Association will host (3) Queerdigital speakers series and invite Queer Black, Indigenous, and Afro-Indigenous speakers to facilitate conversations with Queer BIPOC youth around ways digital spaces can affirm and support queer identities, and foster solidarity and relationship building between Black and Indigenous communities. 
  • Asian Queer Alliance Community Growth Project ‐ A project that aims to provide spaces, events and programs for support, advocacy, education and connection of queer Asians of marginalized genders. Asian meaning East-, South-, and Southeast Asian communities. Marginalized genders include cis and trans women, non binary folks and gender diverse individuals. 
  • Queer of Colour ‐ A storytelling platform where queer people of colour have a safe space to tell their stories on their own terms. 
  • Asian Transmasculine Community Space Project ‐ This project will build a peer support network by hosting monthly workshops, events that address culturally-specific issues for East& Southeast Asian transmasculine and non-binary people. We’ll also improve coping of Gender Dysphoria and overall well-being of trans folks by increasing access to transition-related gear to those who lack disposable income.
  • The Goddess Day Arts Festival – a not-for-profit women-run festival celebrating International Women’s Day, featuring women artists from different genres.

Foundation (up to $7,500)

  • Sanjina: The Untold Story of a Fijian Drag Queen –  BollyHeelsTO will share the story of a Fijian male, gay dancer based in Toronto named Sanjay DaBish Queen, in the form of a short dance piece. The aim is to open doors to both Bollywood and Hollywood and raise more awareness, create, and establish more openness within the South Asian and BIPOC communities.
  • Drag Academy – Drag Academy (run by The Concerned Kids Charity of Toronto) brings together 2SLGBTQ+ artists who share their expertise in drag through immersive classes.
  • QueerDigital – Indigenous Friends Association will deliver 8 QueerDigital educational sessions to Queer BIPOC youth in the GTA, with content around the intersections of Queer digital spaces and Indigeneity. The aim of the program is to increase the digital literacy and career skills of the participants while simultaneously embracing their identities. 
  • 2021 Virtual Visible Pride Week – An initiative that will assist Pride Durham in continuing Pride in the Durham Region through virtual events and online presence.
  • Music In Community: Rainbow Writes 2021 – A music program for Scarborough LGBTQ2S+ youth to explore, collaborate on, and create music that discusses identity for the BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities. At the end of the project, youth will have recorded and completed 2-3 original songs.
  • Durham TransEmpowerment – An initiative by Durham Alliance Outreach that seeks to improve and ease the cost that the trans community faces in transition.
  • Bigger Than We 2 – A project to develop an intergenerational creative experience using the arts to build connections and facilitate knowledge exchange among members of the GTA’s Black queer communities. 
  • Journey of Rainbow Pride in Scarborough 10 year anniversary – A documentary bringing much needed visibility to QTBIPOC community with intellectual and physical disabilities. It will be used as a tool to raise awareness, generate discussion and to address the stigma that the community faces.
  • Queen West Art Crawl Festival – Kids Zone – A project that focuses on creating spaces for our 2SLGBTQ+ families and their youth. The event will bring live and interactive theatre that teaches inclusivity, along with arts/crafts and drag story time. 
  • Mature Trans Sisters –  A social drop-in group where mature trans women unite, talk and learn, share resources, and enjoy a hot meal. Led and supported by participants and facilitators, MTS is a safe space for self-identified trans women, gender-non confirming, Two-Spirit and intersex people aged 45 years plus.
  • EducAsian – Community Learning for LGBTQ+ Youth in the Face of Anti-Asian Racism – A workshop series that will equip and empower East and Southeast Asian LGBTQ+ youth with basic knowledge and skills to deal with Anti-Asian racism in their daily lives and connect them to the community.

James Stewart Award (up to $10,000):

  • MCC Toronto’s LGBTQ+ Refugee Programs – As identifying as LGBTQ+ is still a criminal offence in 72 countries, the LGBTQ+ Refugee Programs work to support LGBTQ+ refugee claimants to Canada by providing a host of programs that provide support to help them navigate their new beginnings, along with a community of family to call their own. 

“We are delighted to present this year’s Rainbow Grants to such a diverse group of communities in the areas of education, health, human rights, arts, culture, research and advocacy,” said Community One Foundation Rainbow Grants Chair, Karen Arturton. “Although we’re still not able to celebrate our community in person this year, we’re very much looking forward to shining a light on these fantastic projects at our June 24th online event.”

To watch the Community One Foundation 2021 Rainbow Grants live stream, please visit: