2017 Annual Report from the Lambda Scholarship Foundation Canada

  • Posted on: 28 December 2017
  • By: jefferson

Lambda Scholarship Foundation Canada Annual Report 2017

 

The 2016-2017 year has been a big planning one for the Lambda Foundation, a non-profit organization that been raising funds for student research in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI), and other queer issues since the 1990s. Twenty-five years ago, research, and writing on gay and lesbian issues – let alone transgender and intersex ones – were not very welcome or respected in Canadian universities. We are proud to say that Lambda Scholarship Foundation Canada has helped create a climate of change and respect through establishing awards for graduate and/or undergraduate students doing LGBTI research and writing at nine Canadian universities. There are now a number of specialized university courses in Canada, dedicated to furthering knowledge about LGBTI people in all their queer diversities.

We are going to take some of the credit for that, but it has been a long journey, and we are adding new routes. We are not abandoning our dedication to excellence in research, just thinking of other ways to help as well.

 

Our Lambda Tuition Award Fund

A couple of years ago, we asked members of our community if we should start either a brand new research award or a bursary to help an LGBTI student get through university. Based on your feedback, we came up with a plan for the Lambda Priority Bursary Fund. Bursaries are financial aid, mostly for tuition and other school expenses, for students in need. We have since discovered, however, that verifying true financial need is a complicated process for a small volunteer board like ours, and best undertaken by universities. But the administrations do not specify what kind of student should be awarded a bursary. To ask about an individual’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity under those circumstances breaches their privacy rules.

So we went back to the drawing board. We have decided on the Lambda Tuition Award Fund because tuition, books, and living expenses are high for most students, not to speak of the ongoing burden of student loans. The Lambda Foundation is preparing to administer a series of special legacy awards for outstanding LGBTI people who are “out,” have contributed constructive energy to our community in some way, and want to take an undergraduate degree. We would organize the award applications, decide on the successful applicant, and send at least $1,000 per year for four years to the registrar of the recipient’s program to help with tuition, assuming they keep their grades high enough to stay in school. We hope there will eventually be a series of awards under the Lambda Tuition Award Fund. We could specify a particular area of study for one award, or a particular university for another. Much would depend on our donors’ visions, generosity, and their willingness to act now and/or leave a legacy later.

 

Lambda’s Awards for Research and Writing

Most of the money we raise at Lambda these days still goes into our LGBTI research and writing awards at nine universities across Canada. When Lambda receives donations, we forward the funds to the host universities at the end of the year, and we also liaise with the on-campus development offices, professors, student associations, and campus media to promote excellent applications. The universities invest the funds carefully, each in their own way, and the annual payouts – that is, the interest they earn – constitute the awards. They do not touch the principal investment. The universities’ awards committees (in some cases in consultation with Lambda), decide whose research on LGBTI issues merit the awards.

The endowment totals and the available awards (in rounded-off figures) as of April 30, 2017 are:

 

Name

University

Endowment

Award

Christian Landry Memorial Award

University of New Brunswick

$26,386

$800

Fonds des bourses Fondation Lambda

Université de Montréal

$27,355

$1,155

Gary Sealey and Friends of Lambda Award

Carleton University

$62,538

$2,297

Nicole LaViolette and Friends of Lambda Prize

University of Ottawa

$34,945

$500-$1,000

Grant Halle Lambda Award

Laurentian University

$21,100

$644

Lambda Foundation Scholarship in Gay and Lesbian Studies

University of Guelph

$47,883

$1,000

Les McAfee Memorial Award

University of Manitoba

$46,788

$2,100

Candis Graham Writing Scholarship

University of Victoria

$39,196

$1,575

 

We have two other awards as well:

  • The bi-annual Doctor Gary Gibson Award at the University of British Columbia/St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation in Vancouver. This $1,000 award is named after the late gay physician who specialized in treating HIV-related illnesses. It is not the product of a multi-thousand dollar university endowment, but we raise it every second year through donations to Lambda Foundation’s Gary Gibson Fund. We send the award money to the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, which chooses the worthy recipient. The award goes to a resident doctor doing medical research to benefit LGBTI patients.
  • The Jack Hallam Human Rights Award at Gulf Islands Secondary School on Salt Spring Island, BC. This $1,000 award challenges the students to consider the ways that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation intersects with other forms of bias, such as race, religion, and gender, and allows them to submit presentations in the formats of their choice, including essays, videos, and social media productions.

 

For our current award winners and their interests: please visit our website at www.lambdafoundation.org and check us out on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Lambda-Foundation-Fondation-Lambda-47501658828) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/lambdafdncanada).

 

New People on our Board of Directors

We are delighted to welcome three new directors to our board, who bring a wealth of talent, knowledge, and energy with them. They are Patrizia Gentile, a specialist in gender and queer history and theory at Carleton University, Cameron Aitken, who has both theatre and fundraising experience, and our former volunteer of two years, Jefferson Morris IV, who has worked with a number of LGBTQ+ organizations and directs our social media, web presence, and outreach. Jefferson has taken over from the departing Kathleen Reid, who set up our new webpage. We are very grateful to her. Thank you, Kathleen!

Our other directors are Barbara Freeman (president), Chris Fox (vice-president), Michael Graydon (secretary), Tuan Vu (treasurer), and Meryn Stuart (director at large). The board, whose members live in different cities, meets every eight weeks via teleconference, and communicates through email between meetings.

We also welcome new volunteers who are not on the board but want to help out in different ways. Our latest volunteer is Tony Truong of Ottawa, who will be helping us with administration and fundraising events, while a former Vice President of Lambda, Bill Turner, is our volunteer on Salt Spring Island, BC, where we have our high school award. All our directors and volunteers are members of the Lambda Foundation, and any of our donors are free to become members on an annual basis. There is no membership fee.

 

Thank you so much for your continuing support of Lambda Foundation.

 

Sincerely,

 

Barbara Freeman

President