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GRANTS MADE

​In reverse chronological order:

2024

●  Southwest Love Fest Fund:  $3,500 for scholarships to help enable low-income people attend, and low-income presenters present at, the Southwest Love Fest poly/ENM convention to take place in Tucson, Arizona April 12-14, 2024.

●  Jay Shifman, longtime community organizer and bookstore/ safe space manager in Philadelphia: $1,000 to help assemble and present a photography show and poetry event titled "Celebrating the Beauty of Polyamory." $400 given in January 2024 to help gather photos and materials; $600 to be given to publicize the event once the materials are ready. He writes, "I have dreams about further phases of this project. If it's as successful as I want it to be, maybe we could make it a regular event. Maybe we could publish a collection!"

2023

●  Kaitlyn Rianne Swecker, doctoral student at Texas Tech University: $2,000 for expenses regarding research project "An Exploration into the Experience of Polyamorous Clients Finding and
Utilizing Mental Health Professionals." Swecker writes, "Through the use of a survey platform, such as Qualtrics, I intend to reach out to the polyamorous community to ask for their experiences related to finding a therapist and remaining in or leaving therapy. This will benefit the polyamorous community by improving therapists’ knowledge on how to market themselves so polyamorous clients can find appropriate therapists, and so therapists know how to improve services to better benefit polyamorous clients. Specifically, it is my hope that I can utilize the results of this study to develop a training protocol to help prepare therapists for working with the polyamorous community, which would aim to reduce the potential negative impacts of therapist bias on members of the polyamory community including preventing early drop-out from services." 

●  Modern Family Institute:  $10,000 as seed money to help develop this ambitious new research and education nonprofit under the aegis of the University of California/ Berkeley. Polyfamilies and other long-term CNM households will be part of its focus. Directors Heath Schechinger and Lily Lamboy write, "We have been invited by UC Berkeley to establish the world's first institute dedicated exclusively to the study of family and relationship diversity. This groundbreaking initiative represents a monumental step in academic and social progress, offering an unprecedented platform to explore, understand, and advocate for diverse family structures and relationships. Our goal is to raise $500,000 by January 2024 and $2M by June 2024."

"The Modern Family Institute is dedicated to redefining the concept of family based on its purpose rather than its 'traditional' structure. The institute [will conduct] research on the diverse family and relationship structures of today's society in order to advocate for changes that strengthen care relationships in the future. With a focus on the evolving landscape of family and relationship dynamics, we address the challenges faced by non-nuclear families and partnerships and aim to reshape legal, financial, housing, and social systems to accommodate these changes. Our goal is to create a future where all families and relationships are acknowledged, respected, and empowered to fulfill their unique purpose."

●  Incarnation Institute for Sex and Faith:  $6,440 for expenses to produce an educational seminar (including CEUs for professionals) and a subsequent training video, titled "The Morality of Sexual Freedom and Consensual Non-Monogamy." The Incarnation Institute, headed by Rev. Beverly Dale, is at the forefront of advocating for sex positivity in Christianity, including in-depth education of clergy on the topic and elucidating healthy, genuinely moral approaches to sex and relationships for believers. Dale writes, "We will invite experts with academic credentials, sex-positive clergy, and persons with experiential knowledge of CNM to participate in this panel that will be held at two times, part #1 and part #2. After editing, the video will be made available for a small fee on the website of the IISF. It will be advertised and promoted through polyamory organizations but more widely through past trainees, dating circles, and general venues for interested couples."

●  National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF):  $1,000 to help cover printing bills for the booklet What Professionals Should Know About Consensual Non-Monogamy. Writes NCSF, "So far this year we have tabled at 8 professional conferences where we advocate, provide information and brochures, and teach classes. We continue this high level of activity throughout the year." The $1,000 will "support our continued printing and supplying of educational materials freely at events, freely online in downloadable format, and freely in print to individuals and organizations who request these materials through our website. During the American Psychological Association (APA) conference we tabled at recently, we gave out 96 of the CNM booklets."

●  Loving More Nonprofit:  $5,000 to pay expenses for low-income/DEI presenters to travel to and present talks/workshops at the Poly Living convention to be held in Philadelphia February 9-11, 2024, and to provide scholarships for low-income polyfolks who could not otherwise afford the convention registration. This will be the first Poly Living East convention after a hiatus of three years. We hope the grant will not only increase and diversify the number of Poly Living attendees and presenters, but will also help the polyamory movement's original conference to get back on its feet following the Covid gap.

  OPEN, the Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-Monogamy:  $2,500 toward expenses to develop a Polyamory and Deathcare Resource. "OPEN aims to produce a resource to help polyamorous and non-monogamous people navigate end-of-life planning and deathcare, where the hurdles of a world built exclusively around monogamy can be particularly challenging." The project will start with a professionally run brainstorm workshop of about 25 poly- and care-community experts. Expected products are "a downloadable PDF resource with comprehensive guidance on end-of-life planning and deathcare for the polyamory community" and a 1-hour webinar "to present the resource and address questions from the community."

Update December 2023:  The Non-Monogamy End of Life Planning Guide is finished and available online for the public (54 pages; free). It's an impressive product.

  Rose Bern, doctoral student at University of California/Davis:  $2,000 to UC/Davis for fiscal sponsorship of expenses for Bern's "Polyamorous Networks" research project. Says Bern, "This study examines how polyamorous network dynamics map onto overall relational well-being. We aim to collect quantitative and qualitative data on all members of the same polyamorous networks/polycules. This study will enable us to examine partner interactions across an array of domains, including attachment style, goal fulfillment, and sexual outcomes. This study may offer insight into both macroscopic close relationship experiences (i.e. how attachment styles may shift across different intimate partnerships) and microscopic poly-specific experiences (i.e. the role of compersion in polyamorous relationships across different network structures).
 

"While prior research has examined the experiences of polyamorous individuals, research has yet to actually capture key network experiences. Given that polyamory is inherently a collective and network-based relationship model, this kind of data is crucial."   

  MN Poly:  $2,000 toward expenses for the 2023 MNPolyCon convention to be held near Minneapolis, July 15, 2023. This follows the success of the 2022 MNPolyCon, which we helped to revive post-Covid. Says ConChair Rose, "MNPolyCon [a nonprofit] focuses on education in topics relevant to the world of Polyamory and Ethical Non-Monogamy (ENM), as well as vendors and information booths. Our convention is focused on educating people interested or participating in this lifestyle through workshops, panels, presentations, and peer-to-peer interaction. MNPolyCon 2023 has a theme of 'Building Community.'

"We had to get a bigger, more modern location for 2023 to continue to make room for growth. We have room to grow here for the next few years and can rent more space if we outgrow what we rent this year." Their long-term plan is to become a major, weekend-long convention that will draw attendees regionally and nationally.

 

Update: ConChair Rose says there were 136 attendees in 2023 and as a result the group is now financially set heading into the coming year.

  OPEN, the nonprofit Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-Monogamy:  $10,000 for fiscal sponsorship and fiduciary oversight of work by Heath Schechinger (psychologist and co-founder of the American Psychological Association's Division 44 Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy) to develop OPEN's Consensual Non-Monogamy Policy Project. Schechinger writes,

"The CNM Policy Project targets two essential areas to advance polyamory recognition and rights.

 

"In the healthcare sphere, I will spearhead efforts to propose a resolution in support of consensual non-monogamy within the American Psychological Association (APA). This involves collaborating with key stakeholders, researchers, and practitioners to raise awareness; develop a compelling proposal; and advocate for its adoption by the APA. I will also advocate for policy support in other healthcare organizations, such as the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. By advancing these efforts, the CNM Policy Project will foster greater understanding, acceptance, and support for consensual non-monogamous individuals within the psychological and healthcare communities.

 

"In the municipal domain, I will concentrate on stewarding [others'] efforts for non-discrimination ordinances that protect polyamorous families and relationships in municipalities across the United States. This will include activities such as engaging with community leaders and advocacy groups to raise awareness of polyamory rights and helping draft inclusive ordinances.

 

"To achieve these goals, the project will employ a range of strategies, including compiling research,
collaboration, education, and advocacy. Collaboration with a diverse network of stakeholders, such as mental health professionals, legal experts, and policymakers, will help ensure that the proposed changes are well-informed and widely supported. Furthermore, I will engage in targeted educational initiatives aimed at both the general public and professionals within the healthcare and legal sectors."

  OPEN, the Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-Monogamy:  $1,350 for expenses for a polyamory representative to network and present at the ENM Summit in Houston, "a gathering of swinger/lifestyle content creators, event organizers, and venue owners to discuss the development of standardized consent frameworks for swinger clubs and events, as well as to discuss integrating the lifestyle community into emerging political organizing efforts under the umbrella of the broader consensual non-monogamy movement." Recent years have seen increasing overlap and recognition of common interests between the swinger and polyamory communities.

  Tessa DesMarais, student at DePaul University:  $1,000 for certain expenses making a pilot for a TV series titled "Myths of Free Love", which "centers around ENM and a young woman's foray into polyamory. I created and wrote the show with the explicit goal of making media I wish I had seen -- a show with the ENM lifestyle I wished for portrayed in a positive light. This production already has 10 out of 20 crew members, a completed script, and dates to be shooting the pilot through April and May [2023]."

 

Update July 2023: DesMarais writes, "Myths Of Free Love is complete! It's about 40 minutes long, which hits our goal of a full-length [TV] drama." It's available for streaming here. "I cannot thank you enough for your help with this project. With your generous grant, I was able to bring a long-standing dream of mine to life. I've had so many wonderful conversations about polyamory with my cast and crew, and it feels like I'm finally using my artistic voice the way I've always dreamed."

  Katie Nicole Adams, post-doctoral research fellow at Purdue University: $4,000 to recruit and pay 200 subjects $20 each for their time in a research study tentatively titled "Keeping It Going: Novel Relationship Maintenance Strategies within Polyamorous Relationships." This project will assess "what validated and/or novel maintenance strategies are used among people in consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships," with an eye to identifying particularly effective ways that people maintain mutual long-term commitments within these nontraditional relationships. $2,000 given February 2023, the other $2,000 given December 2023 after the first 100 subjects were recruited.

  Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition (PLAC):  $2,456, fiscally sponsored by the Chosen Family Law Center, to pay expenses enabling PLAC's first in-person strategy and planning retreat, held at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, February 3-4, 2023. This was the first gathering of all the principal PLAC activists. Through many hours of meetings across two days they learned much more of each other's polyamory legal advocacy work and experience, shared information from around the country, built deep bonds as trusted colleagues, and strategized directions forward. Two Polyamory Foundation directors were invited to the final dinner (take-out at a member's apartment). Intense discussions ran to nearly midnight. We were dazzled by the concentrated brilliance, expertise, and capability packed into these couple of rooms. Watch these folks.

2022

●  Cathy Vartuli of The Intimacy Dojo, San Jose, California:  $590 for expenses to present a workshop on body image and body acceptance at the Loving More Retreat in Vernonia, Oregon, Sept. 15-18, 2022. The grant enabled Vartuli, following a sudden financial crisis, to attend and present this material as scheduled.

●  MNPoly:  $2,000 toward expenses for reviving and putting on MN PolyCon, a one-day poly education and support convention to be held near Minneapolis July 24, 2022. MNPoly is a nonprofit. The convention had been off to a fine start pre-Covid, with a reported 86 people attending in 2018 and 171 in 2019; then Covid hit. After a two-year gap they were concerned that a 2022 restart would fail to cover expenses. Following the convention, writes organizer Randy Frehse, "We had 112 attendees [total]. [MNPoly] did really well with ticket sales and has a good nest egg set aside for the coming year," including a 2023 convention at a larger venue.

●  OPEN, the Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-monogamy:  $1,220.92  for expenses related to setting up this new nonprofit, which has a mission that matches ours, including expenses for an OPEN representative to attend the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit in Washington DC, August 2022, to spread the news of OPEN, network with activists, and recruit talent.

●  Loving More Nonprofit:  $2,500 to pay expenses for low-income/DEI presenters to travel to and present talks/workshops at the Rocky Mountain Poly Living conference in Denver, May 2022, and to fund scholarships for low-income polyfolks who could not otherwise attend.

 

Update: Writes Loving More director Robyn Trask, "With the funds we were able to help three presenters to be at RMPL and present. This was a huge help in bringing some diversity in presenters / presentations to the conference. Scholarships: We were able to give eight scholarships for attendees, some full and some partial."

●  Lindsay Hayes, graduate student at the University of Colorado/ Denver:  $460 for several expenses related to her research study, “How Do You Do Poly? A Narrative Inquiry of a Polycule.” “This study explores [in depth] the lived experience of polyamorous individuals in a unit (polycule) and as individuals. ... Research must keep up with relationship practices to help educators, therapists, social workers and others understand complexities of these [types of] relationships.

 

Update July 2023: Hayes has completed the project and writes, "This work has been published as a thesis by the University of Colorado Denver. The principal researcher and thesis committee chair intend to craft shorter research articles for publication in psychotherapy and counseling journals over the course of the next year. A better understanding of polyamory is crucial to the psychological and therapeutic disciplines. Polyamory conference presentations and other articles within the polyamorous community will continue ensure that this information gets into the hands of the community itself as well. The principal researcher will present this research to the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality’s annual conference in November 2023.

 

"Having material costs of the project covered has left me more able to spend money traveling to conferences to present the findings and get this information into other’s hands. This project came at considerable cost in terms of time and energy, and having research and dissemination materials paid for by this grant made the project feel more manageable."

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Two other grants were approved in 2022. In one case the recipient declined it because of a scheduling problem, and in the other the grantee withdrew the application in favor of a different one.

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