Grantmaking to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities in the Global South and East more than doubled between 2005 and 2007, though the majority of dollars came from a small group of funders, according to a report just released by Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues (FLGI), a national philanthropic group based in New York City.
“A Global Gaze: LGBTI Grantmaking in the Global South and East” describes the amount and type of grantmaking for LGBTI populations in the Global South and East. It also examines the character of organizations and projects addressing populations in these regions.
For FLGI Executive Director Karen Zelermyer, this increase in foundation dollars reflects a growing awareness among grantmakers that LGBTI rights are pivotal to creating strong, equitable democracies.
“Though it’s important for more grantmakers to understand how global LGBTI rights can be central to their visions, it’s reassuring to see a shift in funding that will support LGBTI communities respond to the tides of government hostility, fundamentalism and other structural inequalities that shape the lives of everyone in their countries,” said Zelermyer.
The study also found that grantmakers based in Western Europe and North America provided virtually every dollar to LGBTI efforts in the Global South and East in 2007—and that grants tended to be project related, for one-year durations and supportive of strategies that employed litigation/policy reform, capacity building/technical assistance and leadership development.
For FLGI Research Director Robert Espinoza, the variety of grants reinforces how grantmakers of differing strategies and goals can find ways to make a difference in LGBTI communities.
“Grantmakers have an array of options for supporting LGBTI rights in the Global South and East, including working with intermediary funders that can regrant the dollars responsibly and investing in research that better describes the realities of these populations at the local, national and regional levels,” said Espinoza, who also authored the report.
In November 2008, FLGI presented the findings of the report at the International Lesbian and Gay Association’s (ILGA) World Conference in Vienna, Austria, where more than 200 leaders from 80 countries converged to discuss the state of LGBTI organizing around the world.
“FLGI’s presence at our international conference helped broaden awareness among activists from more than 80 countries about the ways in which grantmakers fund LGBTI issues globally,” said Trevor Cook, executive director of ILGA, which is based in Brussels, Belgium.
“These funding resources are lifelines for many groups,” added Cook.
The mission of Funders for Lesbian and Gay 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. To learn more, please visit http://lgbtqfunders.wpengine.com.