Jim Collins Foundation Awards Its First Grant for Gender-Affirming Surgery (2011)

Drew Lodi 2011(North Branford, CT) May 9, 2011 – The Jim Collins Foundation is proud to announce that its first grant for gender-affirming surgery has been awarded to Drew Lodi. The Jim Collins Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, raises funds to provide grants to transgender individuals who need, but cannot afford, gender-affirming surgery. “Our hard work is paying off,” says Tony Ferraiolo, one of the organization’s co-founders. “Friends, families, and allies have helped us to raise these funds,
and with their help we are able to fulfill our mission by providing Drew with the surgery that he has long awaited.”

Drew came out as transgender to his family and friends in 2008. He states that “the Jim Collins Foundation for me is a miracle. They helped me to stay motivated to live each day purposefully…I improved my life, mind, body, relationships, and faith. To know that people are out there who do NOT have to be helping–but are–makes me motivated to do everything I can…”

Drew submitted his application for a grant in hopes of receiving funds to help him obtain gender-affirming surgery that, for far too long, seemed impossible to afford. In preparation for surgery, Drew collected cans three to five days a week, keeping in mind that “five cents was way more than zero.”

The mission of the Jim Collins Foundation is to provide financial assistance to transgender people for gender-affirming surgeries. The Jim Collins Foundation recognizes that not every transgender person needs or wants surgery to achieve a healthy transition. But for those who do, gender-affirming surgeries are an important step in their transition to being their true selves. However, access to gender-affirming surgery is impossible for most. Discrimination against transgender people is so prevalent that many transgender people struggle to survive, never mind save for surgery costs. Even for those who have health insurance, coverage is systematically denied. Many insurance policies contain a “Transsexual Exclusion Clause” which excludes all medical procedures related to a person’s transgender status. For many transgender people, access to surgery is out of reach.

The Jim Collins Foundation raises money to fund gender-affirming surgeries for those 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.