Jim Collins Foundation Announces A Record Number of Grantees

Jim Collins Foundation Announces A Record Number of Grantees

Calls For Donations, Opens New Grant Cycle

April 1, 2014 (New York, NY) – The Jim Collins Foundation is thrilled to announce a record number of grantees and is now accepting applications for the next grant cycle. Founded in 2008 by two transgender men, the Jim Collins Foundation is the only national nonprofit organization with a mission to fund gender-confirming surgeries. The number of grants awarded is dependent on funds raised throughout the year.

Each year the Jim Collins Foundation receives hundreds of applications for a limited number of grants. More than 300 people applied for the 2014 grant, demonstrating urgency and financial need. Due to widespread discriminatory exclusions in public and private health care, most transgender individuals are unable to access medically necessary transition-related health care. This is the first year the Jim Collins Foundation has been able to provide three grants, thanks to over 200 individual donors from around the country and pro bono services provided by renowned surgeons Dr. Christine McGinn and Dr. Marci Bowers. Gender-confirming surgery is impossible for most, as many transgender people struggle to survive, never mind save for surgery costs, which can range can range from $7,000 to $90,000 depending on the procedure that a person needs. With the addition of this year’s grantees, the Jim Collins Foundation has awarded a total of eight grants.

“The Jim Collins Foundation is a source of hope for so many who have nowhere else to turn,” said JCF President and Co-Founder Tony Ferraiolo. “When people give to the Jim Collins Foundation, they are changing lives.” Donations may be made at jimcollinsfoundation.org.

Jim Collins Foundation 2014 Grantees are Cassie LeGrave, Omar Yadielle, and PoetHeather.  In spite of their severe financial need, all three grantees have given back to the transgender community, raising awareness about discrimination and getting involved in LGBT clubs and support groups. Cassie hopes to publish a book about her weight loss and gender transition. Omar moved to Boston, Massachusetts from Puerto Rico and is currently working as a barber and stylist, with hopes to study communications and model. PoetHeather is a 45 year-old, married, disabled veteran and writer active in the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA).

“The Jim Collins Foundation has had a notable rise in the number of applications from transgender veterans who serve their country and return home to face discriminatory federal regulations that currently bar coverage,” said Dru Levasseur, JCF Vice President and Co-Founder. “The Jim Collins Foundation is filling a critical gap in the national transgender health care crisis.”

Health care discrimination against trans people is known to be linked to the high suicide rate in the trans community. According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 41% of transgender people surveyed reported attempting suicide.

The Jim Collins Foundation 2013 Year-in-Review is available, highlighting the volume of applications received, a breakdown of income and expenses, and the volunteer board and staff that help make this all possible. Applications for the next grant cycle will be accepted from April 1 – August 1, 2014, with grantees selected based on financial need by a nation-wide committee comprised of anonymous transgender individuals.

For press inquiries and interviews, contact rebekah@jimcollinsfoundation.org. For more information on the Jim Collins Foundation, grantees, the issues, and to donate, visit jimcollinsfoundation.org.


The Jim Collins Foundation raises money to fund gender-confirming surgeries for transgender people who need surgery to live a healthy life, but have no ability to pay for it themselves. We recognize that for those people who require surgery for a healthy gender transition, lack of access to surgery may result in hopelessness, depression, and sometimes, suicide. The Jim Collins Foundation is a community-based initiative promoting the self-determination and empowerment of all transgender people.