Virtually Together: What to Expect at Funding Forward 2021

Virtually Together: What to Expect at Funding Forward 2021

By: Luis Ramirez on April 29, 2021

Each year, Funding Forward is a unique moment that brings together LGBTQ people and allies from across the philanthropic sector for three days of learning, reflecting, and connecting with friends old and new. Recreating the magic of an in-person gathering in an online space may not be possible – especially now, as so many of us long for time in community – but we have been working diligently with our amazing planning committee, the brilliant Shaeana Johnson, and the talented team at Events by Lady K to plan a virtual gathering for these times. 

This brief overview of conference highlights should help you prepare to make the most of our virtual time together. Hosted in the interactive event platform Hopin, we’ve built an agenda that combines impactful presentations alongside space for networking, connection, and reflection.


The conference agenda features three plenaries and six workshops addressing some of the most pressing issues facing our movement. Each day of the virtual conference will kick-off with a main stage plenary followed by two concurrent workshops. Attendees will have opportunities to participate in virtual networking spaces and browse content from our conference partners and sponsors in a virtual expo space between events. We know screen fatigue is real, so we have condensed our daily schedule and invite attendees to participate in what they can. Those who register for the conference will have access to select recordings following the event.

The conference kicks off on
May 5th with a plenary featuring groundbreaking queer, trans, and non-binary organizers of color in conversation with funders to reckon with ways our sector can step up to  support silo-busting organizing for liberation. The agenda will unfold over three days to spotlight the wisdom of Black trans organizers moving money in times of crisis, share practical tools for funders supporting power building efforts for long term change, and timely updates from the fight for LGBTQ immigrant justice. There will be opportunities to hear about critical opportunities to support pro-LGBTQ policies like the Equality Act and fight back against the alarming national wave of anti-trans legislation. Our final plenary of the conference will center the leadership of our movement’s LGBTQI women of color across generations and make a case for investing in their leadership. Throughout the conference members of our board and staff will share updates and reflections on the state of LGBTQ Philanthropy and lessons learned from this past year. And, of course, it would not be a Funding Forward without a (virtual) after party. The full conference agenda with speaker information is available on the Funding Forward website. 

We hope that attendees will also participate in virtual networking opportunities to form connections with others in the field. We know a virtual networking session won’t be the same as an in-person meeting or sharing a meal. Still, we know the power of building relationships to advance our shared commitment to advancing well-being for LGBTQ communities.

Funding Forward would not be possible without the generous support and collaboration of our conference speakers and session organizers, representing over 30 movement organizations and philanthropic institutions. As a philanthropic network, one of our greatest tools lies in our role as a convener and connector of people and ideas. We hope that Funding Forward will be an opportunity for our movement to gather, connect, and share. Virtually, but together.

Funding Forward 2021 is presented with generous from our sponsors.

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