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July 9, 2022 and later

Our First Grants


When we announced The Polyamory Foundation, we were worried we might get overwhelmed with asks for free money (even at the price of some paperwork). That didn’t happen. So if you’ve got a good poly education, awareness, or community project – or project plan – that could use some funding for its expenses, don’t be shy. See the Apply for a Grant tab above.

We’ve made nine grants so far:


●  Lindsay Hayes, graduate student at the University of Colorado/ Denver:  $460 for several expenses related to a 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.” Academic publication is expected, as are semi-popular summaries for publications used by the types of professionals described.


●  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. Writes Loving More director Robyn Trask, "We were able to help three presenters to be at RMPL and present with the funds. 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."

●  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.

●  MNPoly:  $2,000 toward expenses for reviving and putting on MN PolyCon, a one-day convention held near Minneapolis July 24, 2022. MNPoly is a 501(c)4 nonprofit. This convention was 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 grant, writes organizer Randy Frehse, "We had 112 attendees. [MNPoly] did really well with ticket sales and has a good nest egg set aside for the coming year," including a 2023 convention.

Added August 22:

●  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 enables Vartuli, following a sudden financial crisis, to attend and present this material as scheduled.

Added December 20:

●  Heath Schechinger, psychologist and co-founder of the American Psychological Association Division 44 Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy: $10,000 as seed money to help set up, with nine colleagues, a Family and Relationship Diversity Institute in partnership with the University of California/Berkeley. The FRDI will advance and fund research and disseminate empirically based information, especially to mental-health professionals, regarding multi-partner families and relationships. Goals include generating and supporting CNM research, creating an education program, and developing resources to support agencies and institutions that want to update policies and practices to be inclusive of CNM. $5,000 granted in 2022, $5,000 to be granted in 2023 if project development goes as expected.

Further updates:

  Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition (PLAC):  $2,456 (fiscally sponsored through the Chosen Family Law Center) to pay expenses enabling PLAC's first in-person strategy and planning retreat, held at the 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.

  Katie Nicole Adams, post-doctoral research fellow at Purdue University: $4,000 to recruit and pay 200 volunteers $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 8, 2023; the other $2,000 to be given after the first 100 subjects are recruited.

  Tessa DesMarais, student at DePaul University: $1,000 for 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]." 

In addition we approved a tenth grant, but the recipient ended up declining it because of a scheduling problem.


In other news, your President/Clerk filed the Foundation’s 2021 tax and other documents with state and federal agencies on time and in apple-pie order, including IRS Form 990-PF. The latter was relatively simple considering that by the end of 2021 we were still just setting up, had made no grants, and only received our 501(c)3 tax status near the end of the year.

We're especially proud of one line in our 990-PF. Elsewhere on this site we say, “We are committed to keeping administrative expenses to the bare minimum to maximize the effect of donors’ dollars.” Even with all the complicated administrative stuff, legal advice, and filing fees for setting up the Foundation, its expenses in 2021 totaled only 0.75% of contributions received – thanks to your all-volunteer directors and officers covering a bunch of things out of pocket and not billing the Foundation. And we thank Diana Adams Law and Mediation, PLLC, for giving us a discounted rate for their legal help in setting up.

When Charity Navigator gets around to looking at us, we hope that this ratio makes their eyes pop. No promises that we'll match it again this year, but 2022 is more than half over and it's looking good.


March 22, 2022

Our Origin Story, by Alan M.


The Polyamory Foundation's moment of conception came several years ago at the Poly Living convention in Philadelphia.


A pair of friends took me aside and said they wanted to discuss something over dinner. It turned out they were writing their wills, and one of them wanted to leave a substantial sum of money for polyamory education and support. But they weren't sure where, or how to guarantee that the money would be used as intended after they were gone.

I told them I was donating to Loving More (which puts on Poly Living) and also named the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, Woodhull, and a couple others. But what they were talking about was in a different league. In particular, they were not expecting to die and the money to come available for many years.

We were quite aware that activist organizations come and go and sometimes fall into unexpected hands. We knew of tragic stories where a benefactor left a big pot to a beloved cause, and then when the bequest finally came through it was misused or flat-out stolen. A poorly guarded treasure chest will attract sharks, and the only winners may be the various parties' lawyers.

I'd also heard the story of a small progressive group that was destroyed by a benefactor dropping an unexpected bequest on it. Factions formed up and fought to mutual destruction for the pile of gold that each felt they ought to administer (for the purest of reasons, of course). When the stakes were low they had gotten along and accomplished things.

"What this movement really needs," I mused to the two over dinner at the convention, "is an independent granting foundation. It would give money for worthy projects, not people or organizations. It would need an independent board that approves grants on their merits. It would need a mission and policies that were legally locked in. Lots of other movements have foundations like that, and we don't."

"Well, Alan..." said the will-writer, giving me a spreading grin....

"Ohhhhhh, shit," I thought.

Now, after several years of discussions in the community, team building, several offers of promising routes forward that petered out, lawyer brought in, incorporation and 501(c)3 and IRS and state regs navigated, i's dotted and t's crossed, it's real: The Polyamory Foundation is alive and accepting grant proposals from the community.

Along the way, somebody none of us had heard of showed up out of Seattle high tech, got enthused, and donated a treasure chest of early money just like that -- enough to fund a respectable first year of grants. And, we now also have a different pledge for annual, keep-us-going gifts that should guarantee the Foundation will be making grants every year for the next several years at least.

We're guessing this is a sign that there's more money out there that has been looking for a home like this.

Since the modern poly movement began taking shape about 38 years ago, it has accomplished amazing success in public recognition and understanding on the barest financial shoestrings. That has happened thanks to passionate volunteers all over. We hope to help. We intend for the Foundation to become an increasingly significant resource supporting creative choice in consensual relationship structures for decades to come.


January 28, 2022

Aaaand, we are open for business! After several years of discussions and setting up, The Polyamory Foundation is finally up and taking grant requests. Thank you for your patience.

Have you nurtured an idea for advancing polyamory awareness and community but lacked the funds to carry it out? Are you running low on funding for what you're currently doing?

Have your plans to put on a conference run up against the large deposit that hotels require upfront? Have you been running a poly conference but it took a hit from Covid cancellations, and you need help to get it back on its feet? Do you want to offer scholarships for more low-income people to attend your poly education/support event, but you can't afford to? Do you have great material to present but need help to finance a tour? Looking to start a poly-supportive community center?

Talk to us. Whether your idea is large or small, if you have developed a plan but could use some funds, that's what The Polyamory Foundation is here for.

Per our charter, we fund designated projects and activities. We can help you achieve your goals that fit our Statement of Purpose (see homepage), especially if cost has been a problem. The polyamory-awareness movement has always had lots of great people with great ideas. If you've got it together, we may be able to help you carry out yours.

If you are a nonprofit organization, we can directly fund your work that advances our Statement of Purpose. If you're an individual or otherwise not a non-profit there's a bit more paperwork, but we've made it pretty easy.

We are still new and small as foundations go. We are currently accepting applications for grants in the range of $100 to $5,000. We hope to make 10 or more grants in our first year, and yes, we do take applications for as low as $100. For some effective, creative people even a hundred bucks -- for a printing bill, or expenses to give a presentation, or necessary materials -- can be a roadblock that it wouldn't be for someone with more means. We hope to even that up a bit.


We're off to our start thanks to early benefactors. If you can afford to help sustain and grow this ambitious project, please see the Donate page! We are a 501(c)(3) private grant-making foundation, charitable and educational; your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.


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