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Member Spotlight: An Angelic “troublemaker” Uplifting the LGBTQIA+ Community

Member Spotlight: An Angelic “troublemaker” Uplifting the LGBTQIA+ Community

Chapter Leadership Brief 6.28.24

Meet Tay Hughes of The Trevor Project.

Tay Hughes (she/her) has supported initiatives to raise more than $12 million to elevate The Trevor Project's life-saving mission to end suicide amongst LGBTQIA+ young people. In her role as the Grants Manager she focuses on researching, stewarding, and cultivating a supportive community of institutional foundations and government entities. As a Black, lesbian fundraiser — an identity not often represented in her profession — Tay takes pride in the unique perspective and lived experience she lends to securing funds that uplift her community. “Working at an organization whose mission I can relate to and connect with, has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my professional life span,” said Tay.

1. What unique challenges and opportunities do you encounter when applying for grants on behalf of an LGBTQIA+ organization?

While there has been significant growth in funding for LGBTQIA+ organizations, this case area still remains relatively limited in funding, in comparison to others, and it is sometimes difficult to identify grant opportunities that specifically target LGBTQIA+ issues. On a positive note, the opportunity these challenges present is the ability to build deep, collaborative, and trust-based relationships with partners who do support our work, and who are champions and allies of our mission.

2. How has your identity as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community influenced your approach to fundraising and grant management?

The Trevor Project is the only workplace where I’ve felt safe and comfortable enough to show up as my authentic self, without the fear of being judged, discredited, or overlooked. The culture and environment that the organization has cultivated makes it easier to be out and open amongst the many external stakeholders with whom I interact with daily. So much of fundraising entails being a people-person, and to me, that means being able to be my true and authentic self.

3. What message would you like to share with other LGBTQIA+ fundraisers and grant managers during Pride Month?

To quote Bayard Rustin, “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” We can and should be angelic troublemakers not just during Pride but every day and in both our personal and professional lives. To me, angelic troublemaking means having the audacity to ask for things that may be seen as challenging to society at large, even if the answer is going to be 'no'.

4. How do you balance the demands of your job with self-care as a frontline fundraiser?

I do try my very best to ensure I am practicing self-care because that makes it all the better for me to be able to show up to this work. Every morning before I start my work day, I take about a 30-45-minute walk to set my intentions and goals for the day. I do the same thing when I wrap my day up, but this time to reflect on how the day went.

5. How has the AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) NYC chapter, supported you in your professional journey?

AFP-NYC has been a wonderful resource in sooo many ways! It has helped expand my peer network through both in person and virtual opportunities, helps shape my thoughts on the next steps in my professional career and journey,  and propels me to step outside my comfort zone. In many ways, AFP gives me a “seat at the table” through its variety of affinity groups.

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