U.S. foundations gave more than $65 million to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) organizations and projects in 2006, a 24 percent increase from 2005, according to a report recently released by Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues (FLGI), a national philanthropic group based in New York City.
The report includes 67 foundations that contributed to LGBTQ issues in 2006 but not in 2005.
For Karen Zelermyer, executive director at FLGI, these increases speak to how more funders are recognizing LGBTQ issues and rights as central to their visions for social change.
“As organizations continue to score wins for our communities, and second-class treatment persists, more and more funders are realizing how LGBTQ rights are necessary for creating a pluralistic, inclusive democracy for all of us,” said Zelermyer.
Despite the increase in funders and total giving, grantmaking to LGBTQ issues remains less than 0.1 percent of all foundation giving. According to the Foundation Center, in 2006 U.S. foundations gave more than $19 billion to organizations around the country.
The report also found that more than half of LGBTQ giving in 2006 (52 percent) came from the top 10 LGBTQ funders, yet a small percentage of the total dollars explicitly addressed LGBTQ people of color, transgender people and poor and low-income people.
“The challenge for philanthropy is to have more grantmakers align themselves with a vision for LGBTQ rights without overlooking the racial, economic and gender divisions that remain in our country and within our foundations,” said Zelermyer.
To address these disparities, FLGI has launched a racial equity campaign that encourages grantmakers to pay attention to racial inequities when supporting LGBTQ communities.
At this year’s Council on Foundations annual conference, on May 4, FLGI will convene LGBTQ grantmakers from around the country to discuss where racial equity fits into their strategies, as well as to review a first-ever racial equity report card on LGBTQ grantmakers.
“The goal of this report card—and the overall Racial Equity Campaign—is to spark a conversation among foundations about the best ways to repair racial inequities among our communities,” said Robert Espinoza, director of research and communications at FLGI.
Read a recent “Chronicle of Philanthropy” story on Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues at:
To register for the second annual gathering of LGBTQ grantmakers, May 4, at the Council on Foundations conference in National Harbor, MD, please contact Kim Ford at [email protected] or 212-475-2930.