October 31, 2022 (New York, NY) – The Jim Collins Foundation (JCF), a national nonprofit organization with a mission to fund gender-affirming surgeries, is grateful for all the generosity and support of so many individuals and organizations. JCF is delighted to announce that for the 2022 grant year, 6 surgical grants from our Founders’ Fund have been awarded to a diverse group of grant recipients from across the United States. The JCF Founders’ Fund Grants cover 100% of the surgical fees associated with gender-affirming surgery. The Founders’ Fund was named in honor of JCF’s co-founders, Dru Levasseur and Tony Ferraiolo.
Grant recipients from the Krysallis Anne Hembrough Legacy Fund will be announced separately. The Krysallis Anne Hembrough Legacy Fund Grants cover 50% of the surgical fees associated with gender-affirming surgery, and the recipient provides the other 50% using their own financial resources.
“Each year our board and independent selection committee reviews hundreds of applications, considers each applicant’s personal and financial situations, and takes to heart their stories,” said Jody Randall, JCF president. “While we wish we could make surgery a reality for all of them, it is a very special moment when we notify several applicants of their selection and become part of their journeys. On behalf of the Jim Collins Foundation, congratulations to this year’s Founders’ Fund Grant recipients!”
These grants would not have been possible without the support of JCF’s donors and the commitment to serving the transgender and gender non-binary community demonstrated by this year’s participating surgeons. JCF is very thankful for the pro bono services of Dr. Christine McGinn (Papillon Center, New Hope, PA), who has generously donated her medical services to many JCF grantees over the years. JCF also looks forward to working this year with Dr. Nour Abboushi, Dr. Ethan Larson, Dr. Scott Mosser, Dr. Vartan Mardirossian, and Dr. Kenneth Wolf.
Hundreds of people applied for this year’s grants, demonstrating the continued urgency and financial need for gender-affirming surgeries. With the addition of this year’s Founders’ Fund grantees, JCF has awarded a total of 45 grants since 2011. With many of these grants covering 100% of the surgical fees, JCF continues to be a leader among nonprofits providing financial assistance to transgender individuals who otherwise would not have the financial means to access these life-changing surgeries.
Andrew Marshall (he/him) of Georgia was selected for a Founders’ grant for gender affirming surgery with Dr. Nour Abboushi. When asked about the meaningfulness of receiving a grant from the Jim Collins Foundation, Andrew stated, “If I could sum up this whole process in one word, I’d use ‘hope.’ I spent years researching for relief, battling insurance, and praying that something would come through so I could live life as the man I’ve envisioned. As a college student fighting to escape poverty, I steered away from help for quite a while. There was a lot of shame and guilt surrounding the idea of even asking. Because of this and many failed attempts at self-funding surgery, I feared my medical transition would be at a stand-still indefinitely. That was until I got the call that I’d been chosen to receive this grant. In just seconds, my hope toward the future was restored. I finally saw positive outlooks on my future again. One where I’ll be living in my absolute truth and a body in which I feel like me. One of comfortability and acceptance. One where I can shift my focus away from body dysphoria and instead toward mentoring and making an impact on the lives of BIPOC, impoverished, and LGBTQ+ kids like me through music and spiritual healing.”
Nadia Butler (she/her) of Pennsylvania was selected for a Founders’ grant for gender affirming surgery with Dr. Christine McGinn. When asked how this grant will change her life, Nadia said, “I couldn’t initially believe I was awarded a Jim Collins Foundation grant when members of the organization’s board told me on a Zoom call in late May that I would receive one. I went a little dumb, with shock. It was only on reflection that it hit me: one day soon my body will be as it ought to have always been. This grant allows me to dream and plan for a different future because it frees me from many of the financial restrictions accrued by trans people in our attempts to access necessary medical care. I am thankful for this grant beyond words and will spend my life in a debt of gratitude to the advocacy and resources of this Foundation.”
Robin (he/they) of Nevada was selected for a Founders’ grant for gender affirming surgery with Dr. Ethan Larson. When asked how this grant will impact his life, Robin shared, “I am a transmasculine non-binary person who grew up in a religious household where a majority of my family did not accept my gender identity. I tried to suppress myself for a long time, but I realized hiding pained me more than anything. When I finally came out, I received judgment from friends and family who continue to deadname me or refuse to talk to me to this day. It was upsetting at first, but I’ve learned to overcome it by remembering there are still loved ones in my circle who have shown their endless support and respect. Being chosen for this grant means I can live my life authentically and feel comfortable in my own body. It means I can hug someone I love without feeling dysphoric, and wear clothes that fit my body rather than trying to hide it. I am thankful to the Jim Collins Foundation for giving me and other trans folk the opportunity to receive surgeries that we need as part of our transition.”
Shahad Alghamdi (he/him) of New York was selected for a Founders’ grant for gender affirming surgery with Dr. Scott Mosser. When asked what receiving this grant means to him, Shahad said, “For me, this surgery is a lifeline that I have long dreamed of. I am a young, queer, immigrant transman from a religious fundamentalist country where being trans is punishable by the death penalty. My family and my society intensely pressured me to conform to the gender norms expected of women, and I was punished and beaten when I tried to defy their expectations. I was in a cycle of severe depression, dysphoria, and suicidal ideation. Even after I escaped to the United States, I was struggling financially, and the cost of gender affirming surgery was out of reach. I am forever grateful to the Jim Collins Foundation for awarding me a surgical grant and making my dream a reality.”
Jazmyn Watson (she/her) of Oregon was selected for a Founders’ grant to receive voice feminization surgery with Dr. Vartan Mardirossian. When asked why she is grateful to receive this grant, Jazmyn shared, “This surgery will enable me to authentically express myself, live a stable life, and pursue my career dreams. I am a Black Trans Woman and an award-winning dancer/choreographer, but there was a time when I almost quit and wanted to hide myself from the world because people would say hateful slurs against me, plus I was suffering from being misgendered and discriminated against when applying for jobs. I had tried vocal therapy for years and it was causing painful strain on my vocal chords. So I sought Voice Feminization Surgery to aid my transitioning, but my insurance company refused to cover it since they claimed it was ‘cosmetic.’ I am thankful to the Jim Collins Foundation for recognizing that this surgery is a medically necessary part of my journey, and for making it possible.”
Z (he/him) of West Virginia was selected for a Founders’ grant for gender affirming surgery with Dr. Kenneth Wolf. When asked what this grant means to him, Z said, “This surgery will save my life. I had been so close to giving up on life because I suffered years of abusive relationships, misgendering, rejection by my family and community, and even physical attacks on the street. I would stay home because I couldn’t bear going outside when I was feeling gender dysphoria and I was afraid of being jumped by transphobes. This surgery means the world to me because now I’ll finally be able to look in the mirror and feel safe, confident, and happy in my body.”
For press inquiries and interviews, contact email@example.com. For more information on The Jim Collins Foundation, grantees, and ways to support this work, visit jimcollinsfoundation.org.
Jim Collins Foundation Board of Directors: President Jody Randall (Texas); Vice President Ezra Young (New York); Treasurer Ryan Rasdall (Massachusetts); Secretary Ava Keely Arnett (Connecticut); Jennifer A. Gay (Texas); S.D. Manning (Georgia); Erin Marie Meyer (New Jersey); Aydin Olson-Kennedy (California); Elijah Palles (Arizona); and Xander Rice (Tennessee).