Our Big Week at the Supreme Court: Reflecting on the Role Funders Have Played

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Our Big Week at the Supreme Court: Reflecting on the Role Funders Have Played

By: Andrew Wallace on November 6, 2016

This week, the Supreme Court heard two cases on marriage equality, keeping LGBT activists and funders glued to cable news networks, online news, and Twitter feeds as history unfolded before us.

The philanthropic community has played an essential role in the movement for the freedom to marry. As shown in our report on 40 Years of LGBTQ Philanthropy, foundations have invested more than $75 million in marriage equality. Here are just a few of the funders that have played an important role in supporting the movement:

  • The Civil Marriage Collaborative is a partnership of several funders working together to support state-by-state efforts to win the freedom to marry. Since it was founded in 2004, the Collaborative has awarded $13.5 million in grants to organizations working in 17 states and the District of Columbia—including significant investments in all of the jurisdictions that have won marriage equality. Housed at the Proteus Fund and supported by nine funding partners, the Collaborative is a powerful example of how funders can increase their impact by coordinating strategies and pooling resources.
  • The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund was the first foundation to invest in marriage equality with a grant made in 2001. The Fund’s most recent newsletter looks at how the nation’s hearts and minds are rapidly shifting in favor of the freedom to marry.
  • Across the country, local foundations like the Pride Foundation and the Horizons Foundation have played leading roles in supporting marriage equality in their home states. On the Horizons blog this week, Executive Director Roger Doughty reflects on how the case could change the lives of LGBT people – and on all the ways that LGBT people have taken a stand for equality long before this week’s case.
  • Since its founding 17 years ago, the Gill Foundation has been a leading funder for marriage equality and recognition of LGBT relationships and families. They’ve supported a range of strategies, from litigation and state-level advocacy to awareness-raising and engaging allies from beyond the traditional LGBT movement.

And here are a few other pieces this week on the marriage cases that we found especially interesting:

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