Funders for LGBTQ Issues Launches an Online Toolkit for Foundations Interested in Learning about LGBTQ Communities of Color

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Funders for LGBTQ Issues Launches an Online Toolkit for Foundations Interested in Learning about LGBTQ Communities of Color

By: Andrew Wallace on November 6, 2016

To increase philanthropic awareness and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities of color, Funders for LGBTQ Issues has launched an online toolkit that compiles tools, original commentaries and other resources related to these communities.

The grantmaking toolkit can be accessed at

“We’re thrilled to draw the spotlight on an underserved population that struggles with a multitude of harsh societal barriers yet continues to receive little institutional support,” said Karen Zelermyer, executive director at Funders for LGBTQ Issues, a national philanthropic group based in New York City.

“We hope that this toolkit serves as the beginning of a much broader philanthropic conversation on the many ways in which any foundation can promote widespread equity by supporting our diverse communities,” added Zelermyer.

The online toolkit includes a variety of original funder tools, including a comparison of frameworks for uncovering racial disparities, 10 steps for adopting a grantmaking lens that addresses racial inequality and LGBTQ issues, and an interactive slideshow that teases apart the elements of structural inequality.

“Research has long emphasized how deeply embedded discrimination has depleted the quality of life and self-advancement of communities of color. For LGBTQ people of color, these conditions are exacerbated by attitudes and structures that treat people differently based on their sexualities and their gender identities and expressions,” said Robert Espinoza, project lead on the toolkit and director of research and communications at Funders for LGBTQ Issues.

“Understanding the magnitude—and the variety—of these disparities is a critical first step for foundation leaders,” added Espinoza.

Additionally, a broad range of foundation representatives and nonprofit leaders provided original commentaries to enrich the ideas offered on the site. These perspectives from the field come from all parts of the country, across foundations of all types, and speak to a variety of populations and issues.

The toolkit also includes a glossary of terms, a primer on transgender people of color, assessment diagrams for leading an internal conversation, a nonprofit directory of related organizations, and population snapshots on LGBTQ communities of color.

Over the next year, the online toolkit will produce additional tools, resources and commentaries.

To inform the content and direction of this online toolkit, Funders for LGBTQ Issues been working with a national advisory committee of 13 grantmakers, philanthropic experts and leaders in the fields of structural racism and LGBTQ rights.

This toolkit is part of Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ Racial Equity Campaign, a multi-year initiative to create healthy grantmaking institutions that embody fairness and inclusiveness and support the leadership of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of color and their organizations.

According to Funders for LGBTQ Issues, foundation dollars to LGBTQ people of color grew from $1.2 million in 2002 to $7.8 million in 2007. Despite this growth, foundation giving that explicitly reaches people of color accounted for a modest 10.1 percent of all LGBTQ foundation dollars in 2007. Further, only one in four LGBTQ grantmakers explicitly supported organizations that serve LGBTQ communities of color in 2007.

“Whether it’s dealing with race as a question for political campaigns, diversity and inclusion, or the widespread generation-to-generation effects of structural racism in communities across the country, it’s critical that foundations take a closer look at our most vulnerable populations,” said Espinoza.

The mission of Funders for LGBTQ Issues is to seek equality and rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and communities by mobilizing philanthropic resources that advance racial, economic and gender justice.

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