Culture

Guitars Over Guns and Alliance for LGBTQ Youth Awarded Grants From Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation

Lady Gaga performing at the Grammy Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 3, 2022
Lady Gaga performing at the Grammy Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 3, 2022 Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Born This Way Foundation, the nonprofit founded by Lady Gaga that supports youth mental health, has announced that 22 organizations will receive grants and volunteer support ahead of Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Summer Ball Tour, which kicked off on July 17 in Düsseldorf and stops at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on September 17.

Two South Florida organizations, Guitars Over Guns and the Alliance for LGBTQ Youth, will receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 and meet with volunteers from the Born This Way Foundation during the Chromatica Summer Ball's Miami stop.

“We are thrilled to announce the 22 organizations whose community-led work we will invest in through our Kindness in Community Fund," said Maya Enista Smith, executive director of the Born This Way Foundation, in a statement. "The diversity of essential services these organizations provide represents the intersectional approach we must take to address and support mental wellness,” adding that “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.”

Guitars Over Guns originated at a Miami middle school in 2008 with a mission to address the mental health of Miami youth in underdeveloped areas. The program, which focuses on music counseling, has expanded to Chicago and Los Angeles and offers no-cost music lessons. Its data shows that students greatly benefit from the mentorship and life skills learned in the program. Supporter of Guitars Over Guns include the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Children's Trust, and the Miami Foundation.

“Guitars Over Guns proves what is possible when we invest in tomorrow’s leaders and create equitable opportunities for youth," Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has said of the organization. "Their work addressing the scourge of gun violence at its root, using the power of music, is a shining example of meaningful change-making."

The Alliance for LGBTQ Youth describes itself as an organization that “provides a comprehensive system of care to LGBTQ youth, their families, and community organizations throughout Miami-Dade at no cost.” The organization's services include counseling for LGBTQ youth in one-on-one and group sessions. It also specializes in family therapy and sensitivity training for community organizations and teachers. The organization published a zine this year, Queer Youth Are Eternal, which focuses on the stories of LGBTQ youth and the increasing number of anti-LGBTQ policies and laws. The Alliance for LGBTQ Youth supporters include the National LGBTQ Task Force, the Children's Trust, and the Miami Foundation.

Born This Way Foundation was created by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. The foundation centers its work around support for young people in every community. In 2017, members volunteered with local organizations during stops at Gaga’s Joanne World Tour. This prompted the creation of the Kindness in Community Fund, which gives grants to local organizations that support the well-being and mental health of children and teenagers in their areas. Now the fund has committed $1 billion to the organizations located where the Chromatica Summer Ball Tour stops.
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Reina Perez is a freelance writer at Miami New Times. She studied journalism at Nova Southeastern University.
Contact: Reina Perez