Two local organizations were selected to receive funding from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation ahead of the pop star’s upcoming Houston tour stop.
The Montrose Center, an LGBTQ nonprofit, and Young Audiences of Houston, Inc., which supports children through the arts, were among 22 national organizations selected by the Foundation to receive a combined $1 million from the Kindness in Community Fund, in coordination with Gaga’s Chromatica Ball Summer Tour. The selected organizations, all located in the US cities hosting her tour, will receive grants ranging between $25,000 and $50,000 to promote mental wellness among youth.
“The diversity of essential services these organizations provide represents the intersectional approach we must take to address and support mental wellness,” Maya Smith, Born This Way Foundation’s executive director, said in an August 3 press release. “Young people have clearly stated their need for proactive mental-health support, especially as they face overlapping global crises. These organizations work for and with young people, ensuring their perspectives and needs are placed first.”
The Montrose Center said it plans to use the funding for its Hatch Youth program, a social group dedicated to empowering LGBTQ youth between the ages of 7 and 20.
“We’re extremely grateful to have been chosen for the inaugural cohort of Born This Way Foundation’s Kindness in Community Fund recipients,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “This support will allow our Hatch Youth program to continue serving LGBTQIA+ youth in Houston, providing critically needed mental health and wellness services while also creating an advocacy arm of the program.”
In 2017, Born This Way Foundation helped the Montrose Center launch its Youth Rapid Rehousing program, which provides case management and rental assistance for young adults ages 18 through 24.
“We can’t thank Lady Gaga, Channel Kindness, Cynthia Bissett Germanotta, Maya Smith, and Born This Way Foundation enough for their continued partnership and support,” the Montrose Center said. “Congrats to Young Audiences of Houston for also being chosen for the cohort!”
In addition to the Kindness Fund grants, Born This Way Foundation team members will meet and volunteer with the local organizations during the dates that the Chromatica Ball stops in each city. The tour hits Houston’s Minute Maid Park on September 13.
Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2012 by Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, to support youth mental health and work with young people to build a kinder and braver world. Through high-impact programming, youth-led conversations, and strategic cross-sectoral partnerships, the Foundation aims to “make kindness cool,” validate the emotions of young people and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health.
The idea for the Kindness Fund originated in 2017, when Born This Way Foundation team members volunteered alongside local organizations at each stop on Lady Gaga’s Joanne World Tour. The local nonprofits each had their own unique set of challenges and unmet needs, so a permanent fund was created to respond directly to the emerging and changing needs of nonprofit partners and the communities they serve throughout the country.
For all US shows, $1 from each Chromatica Ball ticket sold will go to Born This Way Foundation. Purchase tickets to the Houston show here.