Aqua scholarships are available to all LGBTQ+ women, transgender, intersex, and non-binary students who are pursuing a degree – associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorates. The scholarship helps pay for tuition and supports scholars in their leadership development. Each scholar is paired with a mentor. The scholars and mentors meet regularly, attend events together, and meet quarterly as a group.

Meet Your 2023-2024 Aqua Scholars!

2024-2025 Academic Year Aqua Scholarship Application

How to apply

All applicants must submit an online application. Applications must be completed in order to be considered.

The 2024-2025 Aqua Scholarship Program will open in May 2024.



Mentors are integral to the Aqua Scholars Program. Many past participants in the Scholars Program have noted that the time spent with their mentors has had a lasting impact on their lives and achievements. Aqua’s amazing group of mentors act as the personal bridge between Scholars and AFW, helping the students to grow into leaders for the LGBTQ+ community. Each mentor is carefully matched to a scholarship winner through a rigorous review process. The selection committee considers multiple factors when deciding who to include in the list of mentors each year such as past experience and their level of participation in South Florida’s LGBTQ+ community. While any woman who identifies as LGBTQ+ is welcome to apply to be a mentor, we prefer that those working with scholars are “out and proud” in their personal and professional lives.

Mentors chosen to participate in the Scholars Program are expected to:

• Meet with their assigned Scholar on a monthly basis, at minimum
• Attend a day-long mentor training orientation
• Participate in the program’s designated community service project for the year
• Attend quarterly gatherings with the entire program group
• Provide encouragement, advice, and support to their Scholar
• Assist their Scholar in identifying and working towards accomplishing their academic, professional, and personal goals

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Mateo Ventura Bruer, Executive Director for more information at


We’re excited to announce that TransCon will be returning on September 9th, 2023 after a 3-year COVID19 hiatus at the Scott Galvin Community Center in North Miami.

AQUA Foundation’s TransCon is a FREE one-day conference for the South Florida transgender and non-binary community, put together BY the trans/non-binary community, with backbone and financial support from Aqua Foundation for Women.

TransCon is a safe space to empower and educate the transgender and non-binary community and their allies. This year, the theme of the event is “Connecting Community to Resources,” and will focus on the following 3 areas:

– Education/Self-growth

– Employment/Entrepreneurship

– Health & Wellbeing


What TransCon attendees are saying about their experience:

“TransCon changed my life and helped me understand more about transitioning”

“That weekend was the first time I allowed myself to actually be myself. I’ve never felt that weight lifted before.”

“It was nice to go somewhere where I was specifically not misgendered”

“It meant I can be myself around people who were being themselves and we can all be happy without persecution”

“Since my son came out as transgender female, it gave me information and hope that everything can be alright. It made me much more comfortable by meeting good people who care”



Each year we host a FREE LGBTQ+ Family BBQ in Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. It is an opportunity for queer South Florida families and our allies to come together in a safe place and celebrate the unique and beautiful ways that our community makes a family. It is a day filled with lots of activities for the kids and great food.  The photos speak for themselves.

Thank you to our 2023 Sponsors that made this event possible: Football Unites, HotSpots/HappeningOut, Lexi Goza-State Farm, Pridelines, & SAVE LGBTQ.

If you are interested in being involved with Aqua Foundation for Women, please email Mateo Ventura Bruer, Executive Director for more information at


Aqua Foundation for Women takes its role as a local leader and the voice of LGBTQ+ women very seriously. As such, each year we support other non-profit organizations’ projects to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals throughout South Florida.

We have found in our time working with the community that, while there are plenty of people with big ideas for improving the lives of the LGBTQ community, there is rarely enough money to go around. With that in mind, we made a commitment to share our resources with others doing incredible work. Since our grants program began in 2004, Aqua has awarded over $400,000 to local organizations who share our vision for a better future through projects supporting LGBTQ homelessness, women’s wellness, transgender people, the arts, mental health and more.

The LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Initiative was created by Aqua Foundation for Women in response to the need for funding to support much needed new programming for LGBTQ youth who found themselves homeless or at risk. In 2013, its first year, Aqua partnered with Our Fund and The Projects Fund at the Miami Foundation to provide $100,000 to two local organizations for a program that is now known at Project Safe.

Our goal to improve the outreach for homeless or at-risk LGBTQ youth in the area is fueled by research from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago which shows that young LGBTQ people living in urban areas are 40% more likely to be homeless than their peers. We have seen the evidence of this fact on the area as young adults who identify as part of the queer community represent a disproportionate number of the unaccompanied homeless youth population in Miami-Dade County.

According to the 2018 iCount, approximately ¼ of homeless youth in the area identified themselves as part of the LGBTQ community. Even so, we believe that even that number is conservative given the myriad of reasons a young person might have for declining to self-identify and the difficulties in determining the true size of the homeless population in the area.

The initiative has proven results yet there is still much work to do and Aqua continues to be dedicated to supporting this important work. We hope you will join us in our ongoing efforts.


Our newest program, Break the Stigma is an HIV/AIDS conference specifically catering to women and femme folks with the goal of providing connections to resources, community, and breaking the stigma of living with HIV/AIDS. Our inaugural event held in 2022 at Pridelines, was a tremendous success.

Queer people and people of color face numerous barriers to accessing affordable and compassionate healthcare in the US. Due to systemic bias, governmental policies, and cultural stigma / misinformation, accessing HIV/AIDS healthcare and preventative services is even more difficult, especially for people of color and transgender people.

Despite medical advances like pre-exposure and post-exposure treatments, new HIV diagnoses are made every day in the US. While the majority of new HIV diagnoses are still found in men who have sex with other men, heterosexual women of color make up a disproportionate portion (75%) of new diagnoses of HIV1

In Florida, which is currently leading the nation in rates of new infections, Black women are 16 times more likely than white women to contract HIV2 and an estimated 42% of transgender women across the US are HIV positive3. Therefore events and workshops providing education, resources, testing, and healthcare to these demographics, like AQUA’s Break the Stigma which focuses on women with HIV, and TransCon which caters to transgender people of all backgrounds, are of the utmost importance.

With that in mind, we hope you will join AQUA in our ongoing efforts. Help ensure that Miami’s HIV+ LGBTQ+ community continues to have access to the services they need by making a recurring donation to AQUA today.

Break the Stigma will return in on August 19th, 2023, at the HappeningOut Television Studios, on the Sunshine Cathedral Campus in Fort Lauderdale.


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