Jim Collins Foundation to Award Multiple Grants for Gender-Affirming Surgeries

(North Branford, CT) March 26, 2012 – The Jim Collins Foundation is pleased to announce that it will be awarding grants to two transgender individuals in 2012, its second grant cycle.

“The need is immense,” said Tony Ferraiolo, co-founder of the organization and a transgender youth advocate. “Many transgender people are not able to access the health care that they need, and this can lead to extremely unfortunate circumstances. These surgeries are life-saving.”

The Jim Collins Foundation is a non-profit, all volunteer organization whose mission is to provide financial assistance to transgender people for gender-affirming surgeries. Founded by two transgender people in 2008, the organization operates on individual donations and is run by a board comprised of medical professionals, attorneys, and activists. Last year, the Jim Collins Foundation gave away its first grant to Drew Lodi, a transgender man on Medicaid who resorted to collecting cans towards his surgery expense.

“Not every transgender person needs surgery as part of their transition,” says Dru Levasseur, co-founder of the Jim Collins Foundation and national transgender rights attorney. “However, we’ve seen first-hand the significant harms that transgender people face when they cannot access treatments that their doctors deemed medically necessary. The Jim Collins Foundation is proud to provide some assistance to people who face discriminatory barriers to coverage in public and private health insurance.”

This past year, the foundation received over 300 applications, many from people who were desperate for assistance. A nation-wide selection committee comprised of anonymous transgender individuals chose the 2012 grantees based on financial need. Thanks to the generous donation of pro bono services from Dr. Christine McGinn at the Papillon Center in New Hope, Pennsylvania the foundation is able to fund two surgeries this year. Dr. McGinn is one of the nation’s leading surgeons specializing in gender-affirming surgery and an out transgender person herself. She has been featured on the GLAAD media award nominated Anderson Cooper show and will be highlighted on the Dr. Oz Show on March 29th.

“I believe in what the Jim Collins Foundation is doing,” said Dr. McGinn “I have been waiting for the right organization to collaborate with to give back to my community in this way, and I am happy to donate my services to a foundation and cause such as this.”

The Jim Collins Foundation operates on individual donations. To learn more about our grant recipients and to make a donation, please visit www.jimcollinsfoundation.org.