No Products in the Bag
I'm proud to announce the launch of the Queerly Beloved Direct Aid Fund, a new initiative providing financial support to LGBTQ people in need. It's our experiment to encourage you to give your money, with no strings attached, directly to LGBTQ people who need your support. The Fund's first recipients (read about them here!) are seeking $1000 in aid, so we're giving 20% of our profits to them until we hit that goal.
In addition, you can give directly to the Fund by:
100% of these donations go to fund recipients, on top of the amount the recipient requested. Donate $5 or more to the Fund, and we'll send you a code for free shipping on your next purchase. It's our way of saying thank you for your generosity.
Keep reading to learn more about our inspiration for the Fund and how we expect it to operate. You can also visit our new webpage for the Fund at donate.queerlybeloved.shop.
In December of 2018, when Kevin and I launched our Kickstarter for Queerly Beloved Tees, we told our backers about our dream for this business. From day one, Queerly Beloved Tees has always been about so much more than selling cute shirts (though that's certainly an important part of it!). Kevin and I shared several goals for our business, one of which was to give a portion of our profits back to our beloved LGBTQ family and the individuals and organizations doing the hard work of creating change in our society. We know that the money isn't what actually makes change happen, but it certainly does help in our society, especially for traditionally under-resourced people and organizations.
So over the last few months, I've found myself thinking a lot about how we go about making change. Between the pandemic, the economic recession, and the ongoing protests against systemic racism, it's become quite clear what needs to change in our society, but when it comes to the how—to the actual work of making change happen—things get a lot trickier, I think. That one-word question of "how?" opens the floodgates to more and more questions: what are the best tactics for change? What are we willing to compromise on or sacrifice as we work together? How do we prioritize our various commitments to different movements? Each person has to determine how they answer these questions for themself, and that's exactly what I've been trying to do with Queerly Beloved. As a business, we also have to balance the very real needs to make a living, pay the artists we hire, and manage our finances responsibly.
I've come to believe that change doesn't happen in huge leaps and bounds, even if it may look that way in our history books. Rather, change happens in the everyday and in the grassroots, in brief but meaningful conversations, in those boring but vital administrative tasks, and in each small but treasured micro-donation. A million little bits of change add up to create the big change we ultimately want.
$1000 might just be a drop in the bucket to some well-funded organizations or wealthier individuals, but that same amount of money can mean the world to a group just getting off the ground or a person left unemployed by COVID-19. We're not exactly rolling in dough at Queerly Beloved, so I want to make sure the money we donate ends up in places where it can make a meaningful difference. The Direct Aid Fund allows us to do just that.
People with unmet financial needs often already face a great deal of stress, and our fund shouldn't add to that. We work directly with LGBTQ individuals who have shared specific financial needs with us to determine their full financial need. Once we have determined an amount we can provide them, we donate 20% of our sales to the fund recipients until we hit their goal. Thus, recipients don't need to "advertise" another crowdfunding campaign—because they're guaranteed to receive the full amount of money they request. There's also no stipulations on how they use the funds; we trust recipients to know their needs and to put the money toward those needs. The only variable is how quickly we can raise those funds for the individual; the more customers we have, the faster we can provide the funds to these individuals in need.
This is all a big experiment, and we'll likely tweak things as we learn. Still, I believe in the power of simply giving our money to individuals who need it, no strings attached. I know we're not going to change the whole world here, but the Direct Aid Fund may just change one person's world—and if we can do that, then we're on the right path. To meet our inaugural fund recipients, check out our fund website at donate.queerlybeloved.shop.