Chronicle of Philanthropy: Racial Equity & Grant Making to Gay Causes

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Chronicle of Philanthropy: Racial Equity & Grant Making to Gay Causes

By: Andrew Wallace on November 6, 2016

While foundations that support gay causes have significantly increased their giving to charities led by minorities over the last five years, not all such grant makers make racial equity a priority in their giving, according to a new report by Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues.

The report, which was released today at the annual meeting of the Council on Foundations, showed that giving to minority-led charities by 19 foundations supportive of gay causes jumped from $173,000 in 2002 to $2.9-million in 2006.

But only nine of the 19 foundations surveyed had made a grant to help communities of color in 2006, according to the report, LGBTQ Grantmakers 2008 Card on Racial Equity.

“The responsibility is not being shared among foundations,” said Robert Espinoza, director of research and communications with Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues, a New York group that seeks to increase donor support for gay causes.

The report also examined how foundations supportive of gay causes incorporated gender and racial diversity into their own organizations.

Forty-three percent of staff members employed by the foundations surveyed were members of minority groups, while 30 percent of board members were people of color. Eighty percent of board chairs or co-chairs, meanwhile, were white men.

“Many foundations didn’t have policies and practices in place to recruit people of color,” said Mr. Espinoza.

Transgender people accounted for only 8 of the foundations’ 231 staff and board members.

“There’s a real opportunity for foundations to consider how to include transgender people in our organizations,” said Mr. Espinoza.

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