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|StandUp Foundation awards nearly $60,000 in grants to anti-bullying efforts|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Thursday, 17 January 2013 18:37|
Ben Cohen, the former English rugby star and always gay icon who has taken his fame and rugged good looks to raise money for anti-bullying efforts through his StandUp Foundation, announced today his organization donated nearly $60,000 in since it was founded in Atlanta 2011.
“Our mission is simple but will take time to fulfill. We are off to a strong start,” said Cohen in a prepared statement. “We exist to raise awareness of the long-term damaging effects of bullying, and to fund those doing real-world work to stop it.”
Cohen has also said he wants to specifically work to stop LGBT bullying as well as end homophobia in sports. He has become a popular attendee of many Atlanta LGBT events, enjoys working out with the Atlanta Bucks gay rugby squad, and was an honorary grand marshal for last year's Atlanta Pride.
A total of $58,200 was given in direct grants to 18 anti-bullying groups in the US, UK and Ireland, according to a press release from the StandUp Foundation. Those awarded grants and the amounts as provided by the StandUp Foundation:
• Campus Pride (2011) — $5,000 (matched another $5,000 by board members)
In addition to the direct grants, the foundation spent $140,700 "to support StandUp's international anti-bullying awareness and education campaign."
"The [$140,700] funded the 23 talks, 20 meetings at schools in the US and UK with student groups, teachers and coaches, and two pilot 'StandUp Schools' programs," explained Patrick T. Davis, chief executive officer of Ben Cohen Worldwide, which licenses StandUp.
"We really encourage Atlanta groups to go to standupfoundation.com and click on 'grants' to apply," Davis said.
"Start up was expensive — but that was all in year one. We have no salaries (all volunteer now) and brought down expenses by 40 percent in year two," he added. "We have also pledged $5,000 to Atlanta Field Day and more than $30,000 pledged for 2013 grants not yet announced."
The StandUp Foundation, modeling itself after the Livestrong brand, raises money through various fundraisers as well as StandUp merchandise, including a Ben Cohen calendar and T-shirts and even Cohen's own brand of underwear.
From the release:
“To have such an exceptionally strong leader in Ben and such a sustainable model of funding gives us real confidence about how much more we can do,” said Alison Doerfler, executive director of the Foundation. “With grants that we are preparing to announce next week, our total support to-date will approach $250,000.”
Check out this video from 2011 with Cohen at an Atlanta Bucks practice talking about the foundation and its goals:
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