Colin Higgins, acclaimed screenwriter, director, and producer of films such as Harold and Maude and 9 to 5, established the Colin Higgins Foundation in 1986 to further his humanitarian goals. In addition to the Youth Courage Awards, the Foundation supports numerous LGBTQ organizations, ranging from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender outreach and AIDS prevention programs. The Foundation focuses on organization and projects that work with LGBTQ youth.
Colin Higgins was diagnosed with HIV in 1985, three years before the first AIDS “cocktail” was made available. He was determined to beat the disease and valiantly fought it on many fronts. Eventually, facing reality, he had to plan ahead. In order to insure that a major portion of his estate would be used to further the issues and areas that concerned him the most – namely the eradication of AIDS, helping those with HIV and the betterment of the lives and options for young gays, lesbians, transgenders, etc., he established the foundation to carry out his vision of a better world. Colin was an out, gay man who always rooted for and wrote about the triumph of the underdog, from Harold in Harold and Maude to the three secretaries in 9 to 5. He wanted to help those who needed help the most, especially the young. He was a compassionate, caring man who wanted justice, equality and opportunity for all, regardless of sexual preferences. These were the guidelines Colin set down for us to follow.
The Colin Higgins Foundation is dedicated to supporting LQBTQ youth in underserved communities and the programs and organizations that foster and build their leadership and empowerment. In addition to its occasional grantmaking activities, the Foundation annually awards the Colin Higgins Youth Courage Awards for bravery in the face of discrimination, intolerance and bigotry based on sexual orientation and/or gender. Since 1988, the Foundation has awarded over 660 grants totaling over $5.8 million dollars to further the humanitarian vision of its founder, Colin Higgins.