Responding to the Tragic Shooting and Massacre in Orlando – What Can Funders Do?

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Responding to the Tragic Shooting and Massacre in Orlando – What Can Funders Do?

By: Andrew Wallace on November 6, 2016

Updated December 2016

On June 12, 2016, a gunman attacked an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, leaving at least 100 victims, nearly all LGBTQ, Latino/a, and young. It was one of the worst mass shootings in the U.S. since the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. For funders and individual donors concerned about this tragic act of anti-LGBTQ violence, there are a number of ways you can help. We welcome additional resources or recommendations, and will continue to update this list as we receive them. (If you have additional resources or recommendations, please email them to Lyle Matthew Kan, Director of Research & Communications, at [email protected].)

Support the victims, survivors, and their loved ones.

In the wake of the shooting at Pulse, several funding structures were set up to directly assist the victims, which include the following:

  • The day after the shooting, Equality Florida, the statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization of Florida, established the Pulse Victims Fund. Equality Florida arranged for the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) to administer the funds. NCVC has prior experience managing similar funds in the wake of September 11 and other tragedies, and also has cultural and bilingual competence for working with Latinx communities and the diversity of LGBTQ families. Several national LGBTQ funders have provided funding to cover NCVC’s full administrative costs, allowing 100 percent of funds donated to the fund to be devoted to the victims and their families.
  • Within days of the shooting, the Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer established the OneOrlando Fund, drawing on the model of the OneBoston Fund established in the wake of the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Initially, the Mayor said the OneOrlando Fund would address a range of needs, including funding for nonprofits, but ultimately focused exclusively on direct financial assistance for victims.  As of December 2, 2016, the Fund has disbursed $27.4 million for victims and their families.

Note that the Pulse Victims Fund and the OneOrlando Fund coordinated their efforts so as to allow victims and families to apply for support from both funds through a single unified process. As of December 2016, both funds have distributed nearly all dollars raised to victims and their families.

Support the healing and strengthening of Orlando’s LGBTQ and Latinx communities.

Several funds have been established to support nonprofits and community programs working to heal the communities affected by the tragedy and to address the longer-term community needs raised by the shooting:

  • The Central Florida Foundation has established the Better Together Fund, which will fund nonprofits providing services for the victims as well as support for organizations working in the LGBTQ, Hispanic, and faith communities affected by the tragedy. Initially, the Central Florida Foundation and the City of Orlando had planned to collaborate on the OneOrlando Fund, but the two ultimately separated their efforts, with OneOrlando focusing on direct support for victims and Central Florida Foundation focusing on support for nonprofits. Several local funders and corporations have contributed to the Better Together Fund and will be part of a funders collaborative advising the Fund. To date, the Fund has raised more than $1.1 million.
  • The Arcus Foundation and a group of national funders have established the Contigo Fund, a pooled fund to provide support for the Orlando area’s LGBTQ and Latinx communities, which is housed at Our Fund Foundation in Fort Lauderdale. The Contigo Fund has raised more than $1.3 million, and its grants process is being guided by a committee of local leaders from the communities most affected by the Pulse tragedy.
  • The onePULSE Foundation is a new nonprofit incorporated by the owners of Pulse Nightclub. Barbara Poma, owner of Pulse nightclub, leads the organization as its Executive Director alongside two co-founders, Jason Felts of Virgin and local attorney Gus Benitez. Through the end of 2016, it will contribute 90% of funds raised to the National Compassion Fund, with the remainder devoted to the creation of a permanent memorial at the existing site of Pulse Nightclub.

Give to local LGBTQ and Latino nonprofits in Orlando.

In the wake of a tragedy like this one, the needs of the community can be overwhelming, and a number of LGBTQ nonprofit organizations are working to respond to those needs. All of these local organizations are in need of additional resources to meet the unexpected demand.

  • Over 40 Latino and Orlando-based organizations have established a community-based coalition called “Somos Orlando” to fundraise for culturally competent services for victims and their families, 96% of whom were Latino. Services will include culturally competent emergency assistance, case management, crisis intervention, and mental health services, among other immediate needs.
  • The GLBT Community Center of Orlando is organizing a range of services and resources on the ground in Orlando.
  • The Zebra Coalition is a network of organizations serving LGBTQ youth in Central Florida. Zebra has expanded its hotline services to answer the flood of callers in need of help.
  • Two-Spirit Health Services offers mental health services to LGBTQ communities in Orlando, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.
  • Hope and Help Center provides comprehensive support for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Central Florida.
  • Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA) provides a safe space for GLBTQ youth in Central Florida.
  • Equality Florida is the organization advocating for equality for LGBTQ across the state of Florida, including protections from discrimination and violence.

Fund LGBTQ organizations across the country responding to anti-LGBTQ violence.

The shooting in Orlando is unfortunately the most extreme and visible manifestation of the violence, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia directed against LGBTQ people every day. A number of LGBTQ organizations around the country are working to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues and prevent these kind of violent acts before they happen.

  • The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs is a coalition of organizations around the country that provide services for LGBTQ people who are survivors of violence, and works to raise awareness and advocate for social change to build a world where such violence doesn’t take place.
  • CenterLink is a network of more than 200 community centers serving LGBTQ communities around the country, through services ranging from counseling and support groups to primary care and HIV testing.
  • Campaign for Southern Equality is launching a Rapid Response round of their Southern Equality Fund to direct resources to grassroots groups and individuals organizing across Florida.
  • Southerners on New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class, and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South. In the wake of the Pulse shooting, SONG mobilized to Orlando to show support for Orlando’s LGBTQ Latinx, immigrant, and Black community grappling with this intimate assault.
  • The Equality Federation is the national network of LGBTQ organizations advocating for equality for LGBTQ people at the state level.

Make a public statement in support of the LGBTQ community in Orlando.

As community leaders, funders can play an important role by stepping out publicly in support of the LGBTQ community in Orlando. This is an important time for all of us to ensure that the impact of this massacre on LGBTQ people and their families is understood and honored. Here are helpful talking points to consider when drafting a public statement. There has been an outpouring of supportive statements so far, including statements by several Muslim organizations such as Muslim Advocates and Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity. You can also join your local community through attending a vigil to honor the victims, survivors and families of this terrible attack. A list of vigils around the country can be found here.

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