Ten years ago, Tony Ferraiolo and M. Dru Levasseur recognized a particular need for some in our transgender community — receiving funding support for gender-affirming surgeries. This led to the creation of the Jim Collins Foundation or (JCF). Ten years later, JCF has given grants to twenty recipients that has covered either fully or partially twenty surgical procedures. The organization has also provided a heightened awareness of the disparities within healthcare that may hinder some transgender people from achieving a healthy transition.
It is with great respect and admiration of our Founders and the mission of the Foundation that we step into the roles of President and Vice President as Tony and Dru move on to new endeavors. While access to surgery has improved over the years, the need for financial assistance and community empowerment remains. We understand this and are committed to continuing the work and growth of the Foundation.
Tony and Dru established the Foundation as a community-based initiative in honor of Jim Collins, a licensed clinical social worker and noted ally to the transgender community. There have been many others who like Tony and Dru, have given generously to Jim’s legacy. One such person is Julie Thibodaux who after nine years is also retiring from our board. As our grant coordinator, Julie worked with our grantees and their chosen surgeons to assure a smooth experience. Board member Ava Arnett has graciously volunteered to move into the grant coordinator position.
Over the weeks ahead, our 2019 grant cycle will open. Beyond that, we will be hard at work with our board, colleagues and supporters, like you, on ways to grow over the next three, five, and ten years.
In case you are wondering about us and how we come to this work, we encourage you to visit the “Board of Directors” section of our website. While you are there, feel free to learn more about our work, the recipients of our financial support, and ways in which you can support the Jim Collins Foundation.