An Update on the Top 10 Funders in the U.S. South

rainbow flag

rainbow flag

An Update on the Top 10 Funders in the U.S. South

By: Andrew Wallace on November 6, 2016

In 2013, we launched what has since become known as our Out in the South Initiative with the goal of increasing funding for LGBTQ communities throughout the US South. In 2014 we released Out in the South, Part One: Foundation Funding for LGBTQ Issues in the U.S. South, the first report that looked specifically at philanthropic support for LGBTQ communities in the South. In 2015, we hired our Out in the South Project Director, Chantelle Fisher-Borne, and continued our networking and outreach efforts throughout the region. Earlier this month we announced the first round of Out in the South Fund Grants. We are excited with our progress so far!

As our Southern work has moved forward, the landscape has changed dramatically over the past three years. When a group of our members first asked us to explore LGBTQ issues in the South, we looked at 2012 data for foundation funding in the U.S. South and found that it only amounted to $4.8 million for the entire region. In 2013, as Funders for LGBTQ Issues and our members began elevating the need for more resources for Southern LGBTQ communities, we saw funding for the region increase to $8 million. In 2014, the funding increased another $3.2 million to $11.3 million.

Funders for LGBTQ Issues and our partners in the Out in the South initiative have together set the ambitious goal of bringing $60 million to LGBTQ communities in the South over five years. With the 2013-2014 increase in funding for Southern LGBTQ communities, we have begun to make progress toward our goal and toward improving the lived experience of Southern LGBTQ communities.

Between 2013 and 2014, the top ten funders in the region shifted some – with the notable additions of Foundation for a Just Society, the Gill Foundation, and The Laughing Gull Foundation (a recently established foundation) none of which appeared in the top twenty list from the 2011-2012 report.

Top Funders 2013-2014

  1. Elton John AIDS Foundation
  2. Gill Foundation
  3. Arcus Foundation
  4. Black Tie Dinner
  5. Our Fund
  6. Tides Foundation
  7. Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
  8. Laughing Gull Foundation
  9. Foundation for a Just Society
  10. AIDS United

The LGBTQ issues philanthropy supports in the region have also become a bit more diversified, with significant gains in funding for: civil rights; strengthening communities, families, and visibility; and economic issues.

It is heartening to report this upward trend in funding for Southern communities and we are committed to doing our part to make sure this trend continues. In many ways, our work in the South mirrors the next chapter of our movements’ work in the US. While the South is a place where backlash and resulting regressive policies take root, we also know that the South holds an alternative story as a place where communities have resisted and thrived. We remain hopeful that funders will continue to transform their relationship to Southern communities so that we can continue this legacy in more and more communities throughout the region.

We’re incredibly grateful to the Arcus Foundation, The Chartrand Family Foundation, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the Freeman Foundation, the Gill Foundation, Laughing Gull Foundation, The Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis Fund, the Palette Fund, and an anonymous donor for their generous support of the Out in the South Initiative

If you are interested in learning more about the Out in the South Initiative, check out or contact Chantelle Fisher-Borne, Project Director for the Out in the South Initiative, at [email protected].

Quick Links

Twitter Feed

Twitter feed is not available at the moment.

More News