Forty grantmakers from around the world awarded nearly $10.5 million to groups working on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues in the Global South and East, according to a historic report just released by Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues (FLGI), a national philanthropic group based in New York City.
The report—“A Global Gaze: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Grantmaking in the Global South and East”—represents the first-ever study analyzing LGBTI grantmaking and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in those regions. Most of the money was provided by private and public foundations around the world.
According to Karen Zelermyer, executive director of Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues, $10.5 million is miniscule compared to the $3.8 billion provided by US foundations alone in 2005, as reported by the Foundation Center, which unlike FLGI’s report does not include non-US funders.
“The report is a call to grantmakers, media, and advocates to step into the broader human rights arena and support the diversity of LGBTI groups globally that are positively transforming communities, often under harsh conditions and political opposition,” said Zelermyer.
The report describes how most of the NGOs residing in the Global South and East came about in the last decade, operate with minimal staffing and survive on small, annual incomes, often under $5,000.
However, as the study found, most of the funding originated in, and was received by, entities based in North America and Western Europe. Further, the 20 largest groups identified received the majority of the $10.5 million for LGBTI rights in the Global South and East.
“The study highlights an incredible opportunity for grantmakers to nourish a vibrant yet under-resourced infrastructure of Global South and East LGBTI groups that are changing the political discourse in their countries,” said Robert Espinoza, author of the report and director of research and communications at Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues.
The full report is available at www.lgbtfunders.org/programs/global.