The annual gathering of grantmakers committed to LGBTQ issues.

Funders for LGBTQ Issues is proud to announce that Funding Forward 2023 is coming to Chicago from November 29-December 1, 2023! The annual gathering of grantmakers committed to LGBTQ issues provides an exciting opportunity for funders to connect, learn, coordinate efforts, and maximize impact.

Planning Committee

Frank Baiocchi

Executive Director

Hunter Family Foundation

Sherly Chavarria, Ed.D.

Senior Program Officer, Education

Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

Emmanuel Garcia

Development & Communications Director

Crossroads Fund

Caronina Grimble


Chicago Community Trust, LGBTQ Community Fund

Kelli King-Jackson

Strategic Advisor

Kim L. Hunt

Executive Director

Pride Action Tank

Daniel Maiuri

Program Manager

Arcus Foundation

Maryse Pearce

Program Manager

Stonewall Community Foundation

Elizabeth Powley

Director, Grants Management

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Jon Quinn

Deputy Director

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Bré Anne Rivera

Black Trans Fund Director

Groundswell Fund

analía rodríguez

Program Officer

The Field Foundation of Chicago

Luis Roman

Program Officer

JB and MK Prizker Family Foundation

Paul Sapp

Events Project Manager

Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Richard Tran

Program Officer

The Field Foundation of Chicago

Carla Wheeler


Chicago Community Trust, LGBTQ Community Fund

Call for Sessions

Submissions Closed! 

Funding Forward accepts session ideas from funders and philanthropic organizations who are members of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. Proposals will be reviewed by our planning committee. Member foundations and affinity groups are strongly encouraged to partner with one another to pool creativity and expertise and share the financial responsibilities of session sponsorship. The Call for Submissions closed on Friday, May 26. Thanks to everyone who submitted!

Click here to learn about session criteria and formats, suggested topics of interest, and logistical and financial responsibilities.


Funding Forward is the annual gathering of grantmakers committed to LGBTQ issues organized by the affinity group Funders for LGBTQ Issues.

Funding Forward provides an exciting opportunity for funders to 

  • connect with one another
  • learn from each other
  • coordinate efforts
  • and maximize impact

Yes! This year’s program promises to be filled with dynamic, engaging and interactive sessions, however, there will also be ample time set aside for networking with Funding Forward attendees who are committed to LGBTQ issues.

Funders for LGBTQ Issues is a network of foundations and corporations working to increase funding for LGBTQ communities. We provide three key services for the field, we:

  • Connect and create spaces for LGBTQ funders to coordinate their efforts, learn from each other, and maximize their impact
  • Expand the scale and reach philanthropic resources for LGBTQ communities and social justice by building relationships with a wide range of foundations, corporations, and other partners
  • Provide up-to-the-minute information, research, and resources on LGBTQ grantmaking for the benefit of funders and the broader LGBTQ movement

Registration is open to representatives from any grantmaking entity or philanthropic infrastructure organization (i.e., board members, staff, grant advisory committee members, etc.). If you have a specific question about your own eligibility please contact Stephen Switzer, Director of Finance at [email protected].

Funding Forward offers rich content on LGBTQ issues as they relate to a range of grantmaking priorities, including children & youth, criminal justice reform, economic opportunity, education, health, immigrant rights, racial equity, and reproductive and gender justice.  If you need assistance making the case to your institution how the conference programming will help substantively advance your grantmaking priorities, please reach out to April Bethea, Director of Philanthropic Outreach at [email protected].

Funding Forward 2023 will take place from November 29 to December 1st in Chicago, IL. The majority of Funding Forward conversations, events, and meetings will be held at our host hotel to be announced shortly.

Early Bird Regular
Member Rate:
$800 $900

Nonmember Rate:

$1000 $1200

The registration fee covers admission to Funding Forward conversations and several meals. Hotel accommodation is not included.

We will also offer virtual plenaries for those unable to attend in-person. More information on virtual registration is forthcoming. 

Funders for LGBTQ Issues is a social justice organization committed to making Funding Forward accessible to all eligible and interested parties regardless of their economic means. While we currently have no formal scholarship program, if you would like to attend but financial circumstances make your attendance difficult please email us and we’ll see what we can do.

The official start time of the conference is 1 PM CT on Wednesday, November 29th. There will, however, be a pre-conference learning tour from 10:30 AM to 2 PM on the 29th with details forthcoming. Conference attendees will be able to register beginning at 7:30 AM on the 29th.

The official ending time of the conference is 2:30 PM on Friday, December 1st. For those local to Chicago or staying in the area through Saturday, there will be an afterparty the evening of the 1st.

Note: the Loews room block has limited Tuesday night availability. If you are planning to arrive on Tuesday we advise you to book accommodations soon.

Covid-19 and General Care Protocol

This protocol was adapted from the Immune Deficiency Foundation, the Harambe Conference COVID-19 Policy, and The People’s CDC Safer in Person Gatherings.

  • Funding Forward will be using Universal Masking meaning all attendees are directed  to wear a mask during all indoor components of the event unless they are actively presenting, eating or drinking. Social distancing will be advised when meals or refreshments are served, and additional dining space will be available outside the meeting room. Presenters may remove masks while speaking but must ensure a minimum six-foot distance from others.
  • All attendees are recommended to be fully vaccinated BUT are not required to show proof of vaccination when they pick up their registration badge. FLGBTQI strongly recommends all attendees receive the most recent booster shot as well.
  • Funders will require in-house COVID-19 testing on arrival in order to receive your name badge. We encourage you to test before traveling, as you will not be admitted to the conference with a positive test. We will provide additional tests to participants as needed.
  • Stay home when appropriate: If you have tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting for COVID-19 test results, have COVID-19 symptoms, feel sick or unwell, or have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19, please do not attend. FLGBTQI recognizes that COVID-19 is not the only immunocompromising threat and that a negative COVID-19 test does not necessarily equate to wellness. FLGBTQI acknowledges that the individual can only determine wellness, and our staff and contractors will not police or monitor attendees throughout the conference. Please be aware of shifts in your wellness throughout your time in Funding Forward for yourself and the well-being of other attendees. Please check in with conference organizers to see how we can further support you if you are unable to attend.
  • We will follow all federal, state, and local laws, rules, and recommendations to lessen and reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus; however, we cannot guarantee that attendees will not be exposed to the virus. Attending this event, attendees voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and other illnesses.
  • Individuals not in compliance with all consent and wellness protocols, without communication to conference staff, may be asked to leave the conference. 

FLGTBQI will institute the following health and safety protocols to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and illness at our in-person conference:

  • FLGBTQI recommends that all conference participants, speakers, vendors, and FLGBTQI staff have up-to-date vaccinations and boosters for COVID-19 upon or before arrival at the conference venue.
  • Conference organizers will modify room layouts for conference sessions for physical distancing and limited seating per table.
  • We will work with our host hotel, Loews Hotel, to ensure all conference rooms are cleaned and sanitized before and after breakout and general sessions. The Loews Hotel also utilizes a Merv 13 air filter – the high-efficiency air filtration system- to ensure purified air in rooms with no windows.
  • Following The People’s CDC recommendations for Safer In-Person gatherings, we will direct all conference participants, speakers, vendors, and Funders’ staff to wear a mask** during the all indoor components of the event except when actively presenting, eating or drinking. Due to differing abilities in wearing masks for long periods, if you cannot keep a mask on for health reasons, please distance yourself from others and communicate to conference staff so we are aware of your needs.
  • Attendees are encouraged to bring their own masks. We recommend N-95, KN-95, or multi-layered surgical masks rather than cloth face coverings. FLGBTQI will provide masks for all conference attendees who need them.
  • We ask that attendees notify conference organizers when they find insufficient PPE supplies.
  • We will provide reminders, signage, and verbal annoucements before and after sessions to enforce mask wearing. Should you feel uncomfortable by the atmosphere of the conference for any reason, we ask that you find a conference staff representative to help mediate and problem-solve.
  • Closer to the event, Funders will share details on what to do if you feel ill and/or test positive for COVID while attending the event.

All attendees, including staff and volunteers, are directed to wear masks during all indoor components of the event regardless of vaccination status, negative COVID test, or self-determined wellness.

If a venue, state, or local requirements prevent FLTBTQI from implementing or practicing these minimum safeguards, FLGBTQI will host a virtual event. 

If the transmission rate of a particular county increases substantially, Funders for LGBTQ Issues reserves the right to implement additional requirements (limiting capacity, enforcing social distancing) or move to a completely virtual event.  

Each vendor will be responsible for ensuring its staff’s compliance. We will inform vendors, hotel staff, and other third parties (e.g., anyone directly performing services during an in-person event) with existing contracts of our COVID-19 safety protocols for events and inquire how they align with their safety protocols.

 Unless otherwise provided, masking requirements do not apply to outdoor events.  Masks remain a requirement for outdoor events when attendees cannot practice social distancing.     

Masks make it more difficult for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to understand speech or sign language because they obscure the lips and part of the face. If persons who are deaf or hard of hearing request an accommodation, we’ll take steps to ensure clear, effective communication and determine remedies on a case-by-case basis. Alternatives may include written communication or closed captioning.  CDC does not recommend using face shields as a mask substitute because of concerns about their efficacy. 


Funding Forward 2023 is made possible thanks to the support of the following sponsors

Sponsor #FF2023

Platinum Level Sponsors

Anniversary Level Sponsors

Bronze Level Sponsors

i2i Advisors
General Service Foundation
Masto Foundation
NEO Philanthropy
Third Wave Fund

It’s Funding Forward’s tenth anniversary! The conference has grown substantially from the first grantmaking retreat in 2013 into a cornerstone philanthropy conference bringing together more than 250 of the most influential LGBTQ funders, allied funders, and movement leaders to connect with and learn from one another, coordinate efforts, and maximize philanthropic impact to queer, trans and gender nonconforming communities.

Demonstrate your commitment to advancing LGBTQ issues and connect with some of the most influential leaders in LGBTQ philanthropy through sponsorship.

Your support helps us keep Funding Forward accessible to nearly all eligible and interested parties, regardless of their economic means.

Sponsorship inquiries may be directed to April Bethea, [email protected].

#FF2023 will be held at the Loews Chicago Hotel

Rooms can be booked here at the discounted rate of $249 a night until November 6th pending availability.