Shutterstock launches global grant in partnership with the It Gets Better Project to empower and authentically portray LGBTQ+ communities

Shutterstock It Gets Better Project

Shutterstock press release – 13 July, 2021.

An extension of The Create Fund launched in December 2020, the It Gets Better partnership celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community with a $10,000 grant to provide financial and professional support to LGBTQ+ creators

Shutterstock, Inc. (NYSE: SSTK) a leading global creative platform offering full-service solutions, high-quality content, and tools for brands, businesses and media companies, today announced a partnership with the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit organization with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth around the globe.

The partnership between the It Gets Better Project and Shutterstock aims to challenge LGBTQ+ visual stereotypes to better represent the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, while helping to educate the media and advertising industries about the power of diverse photography — both in front of and behind the camera.

To affect meaningful change in this area, Shutterstock identified the top searched for images for LGBTQ+ and established a poll, which was completed by members of the It Gets Better community, to determine whether these visuals and search terms accurately represent their personal experiences, as well as those of the LGBTQ+ community.

Key findings include:

  • 40.1% of respondents felt that they weren’t represented as a member of the LGBTQ+ community
  • When looking for representations of LGBTQ+ Persons of Color, the top three stories and images respondents would like to see shared include:
    • Day to day life – 66.1% of respondents
    • Raising a family – 52.4% of respondents
    • Positive / uplifting moments – 51.9% of respondents
  • The top three locations where respondents would like to see more LGBTQ+ representation include:
    • Family events – 70.4% of respondents
    • Casual group settings – 64.6% of respondents
    • Workplaces – 64.2% of respondents
  • When asked how we can more authentically represent LGBTQ+ members, and who from this community needs more representation, the top three responses were:
    • Trans bodies and the Trans experience – 81.8%
    • LGBTQ+ Persons of Color – 76.3%
    • Non-binary bodies and the non-binary experience – 71.6%

Additionally, a $10,000 grant has been established to advance representation within LGBTQ+ content, and support LGBTQ+ creators by highlighting their diverse experiences, perspectives and perceptions in a way that’s authentically illustrated in their art.

“At Shutterstock, providing content that is inclusive and representative of the different backgrounds, perspectives and opinions of communities around the world is core to who we are,” said Meeckel Beecher, Global Head of DEI at Shutterstock. “We are thrilled to partner with the It Gets Better Project to support LGBTQ+ artists, and help the media and advertising industries visualize stories that accurately represent and validate the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people.”

“We are delighted to partner with Shutterstock by providing key findings that will influence content decisions made by marketers and advertisers, so that members of the LGBTQ+ community are represented authentically,” said Jimmy Ancheta-Tilley Jr., Development Manager at the It Gets Better Project. “After listening to members of the LGBTQ+ community, we have identified areas where certain stereotypes prevail, and we look forward to working with Shutterstock to support the community in a more inclusive way.”

The $10,000 grant will be awarded in three prizes: a first prize of $5,000, with second and third prize each receiving $2,500.

LGBTQ+ artists including photographers, videographers, illustrators, 3D artists or writers are open and encouraged to apply. Applicants must submit a project proposal, examples of their work, and a short biography by 5 p.m. EST on September 3, 2021 to be considered for the three grants. Applicants are encouraged to outline how their submitted projects will add to the narrative of the LGBTQ+ perspective. Grant recipients will be selected by a diverse panel of expert judges who are knowledgeable in the various genres of grants Shutterstock will be offering. All artists selected for a grant will be provided an outlet to license their work, either via Shutterstock, Shutterstock Editorial, Premium Beat or OFFSET.

The Create Fund, a $300,000 artist grant, was established by Shutterstock in December 2020, to fill content gaps and further diversity and inclusion within its content library and contributor network.

At launch, the first three grants offered through The Create Fund included:

  • Create for Climate: Drawing awareness to global climate change by supporting artists who use their talents to depict climate change, environmental protests, and our changing landscape.
  • Support Invisible Illness: Promoting artists who create visual stories and representations that break the stigma around mental health, portraying a more inclusive view of mental illness around the world.
  • The Senior Creatives: Supporting our community of senior creatives—those over 50 who have had years to hone their craft and want to share their experiences and perspectives through creative means.

On International Women’s Day 2021, The Create Fund launched “Through Their Eyes,” a $10,000 grant to champion underrepresented female and non-binary creators, and their creative projects across photography, visual journalism, videography, illustration, 3D modeling, and writing.

To learn more about the partnership with the It Gets Better Project, visit

About Shutterstock

Shutterstock, Inc. (NYSE: SSTK), is a leading global creative platform offering full-service solutions, high-quality content, and tools for brands, businesses and media companies. Directly and through its group subsidiaries, Shutterstock’s comprehensive collection includes high-quality licensed photographsvectorsillustrationsvideos3D models and music. Working with its growing community of over 1.7 million contributors, Shutterstock adds hundreds of thousands of images each week, and currently has more than 370 million images and more than 21 million video clips available.

Headquartered in New York City, Shutterstock has offices around the world and customers in more than 150 countries. The Company also owns Offset, a high-end image collection; Shutterstock Studios, an end-to-end custom creative shop; PremiumBeat, a curated royalty-free music library; Shutterstock Editorial, a premier source of editorial images and videos for the world’s media; TurboSquid, a leading 3D content marketplace; Amper Music, an AI-driven music platform; and Bigstock, a value-oriented stock media offering.

For more information, please visit and follow Shutterstock on Twitter and on Facebook.

About the It Gets Better Project

Launched over a decade ago by syndicated columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller, the It Gets Better Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that leverages the power of media to reach millions of people every year and provide critical support and hope to LGBTQ+ youth around the world. Through collaborative partnerships elevating positive portrayals of the LGBTQ+ community, and community building initiatives, the It Gets Better Project strives to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the globe.  The It Gets Better Project received the 2012 Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; has garnered support from President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama; along with numerous celebrities such as Kelly Clarkson, Gabrielle Union, Josie Totah, Hayley Kiyoko and Patrick Starrr, and more than 600,000 others who have taken the pledge to share messages of hope and to speak up against intolerance. Connect with the It Gets Better Project: on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter at @ItGetsBetter;; and