This past year challenged us in unprecedented ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has left more than 300,000 Americans dead, created the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression, and laid bare the stark inequalities that too often dictate which lives have value and which are deemed disposable. A global movement for the defense of Black lives continues to rise in the face of police brutality and emboldened White nationalists. The ongoing epidemic of violence against Black trans women continues in the face of demands to protect Black trans life. This fall, the presidential election challenged democratic norms and institutions in ways that may have lasting effects.
Alongside these challenges, we also found inspiration and hope. Like so many others, our network adapted to adverse conditions and learned to work in new ways. Our 2020 looked different than any of us could have imagined a year ago, but we are honored to have collaborated with so many of you to respond to this moment and accomplish what we have.
Some of the ways our network adapted to the unique challenges of this past year include:
- In place of Funding Forward, we hosted a series of webinars drawing on our originally planned program, including an additional webinar on how funders can address the unique needs of vulnerable LGBTQ communities in the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve already started planning for an adapted Funding Forward in 2021.
- We established a hub of resources and information for funders seeking to address the unique needs of LGBTQ communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Through our Out in the South initiative, we helped several of our grantee partner funds set up rapid-response funds to provide financial assistance to LGBTQ individuals and organizations affected by COVID-19 and supported the Southern Power Fund to fuel Southern movement organizations.
- We helped to coordinate and develop several COVID-19 rapid-response funds for trans communities, including a coordinated application process to minimize the burden on grantees.
While we know the crises of 2020 will not disappear in January, the work we have been able to accomplish together in 2020 makes us hopeful for the year ahead. We look forward to working with you all in 2021 to continue the work of advancing LGBTQ, racial, and gender justice in philanthropy in a critical time for our communities.
More highlights from 2020:
We distributed $450,000 in funding to catalyze locally-driven Southern LGBTQ philanthropy, adapting our 2020 grantmaking strategy to be responsive to the current conditions related to the pandemic and racial justice uprisings.
In place of the Funding Forward conference, we hosted a series of webinars drawing on our originally planned Funding Forward program, including specific content to help funders address the unique needs of vulnerable LGBTQ communities in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Defending the Equal Access Rule
We partnered with Funders Together to End Homelessness to help foundations take action to oppose attacks on HUD’s Equal Access Rule, continuing to expand on the public policy programming we started last year.