Out in the South, an initiative of Funders for LGBTQ Issues, aims to transform philanthropy in the U.S. South to honor the fact that LGBTQ people and families are a part of every community in the region. We work to increase philanthropic resources that support a healthy ecosystem of LGBTQ organizations in the U.S. South.

By bringing more funders to the table, investing in locally-driven Southern funds, and helping grantmakers increase their cultural competency, we work to reverse the historical trend of underinvestment in LGBTQ communities in the U.S. South.

We advance the work with:

  • A Funder Network – a community of practice involving both Southern and National funders who care about LGBTQ communities in the South, some who have been investing in Southern LGBTQ work for decades and some who have yet to make their first grant.
  • The Out in the South Fund – a collaborative fund that awards matching and planning grants to catalyze locally-driven Southern funds that address the needs and strengthen the assets of LGBTQ communities in the South.
  • Trainings & Technical Assistance – services to support funders seeking to deepen their capacity to invest in LGBTQ work in the South, increasing National foundations’ understanding of the U.S. South and Southern grantmakers’ LGBTQ cultural competnecy.


Background: History and Need


In 2013, a group of Funders for LGBTQ Issues members with roots in the South gathered around the shared concern that Southern LGBTQ communities faced stark needs and were severely under-resourced. The group commissioned Funders for LGBTQ Issues to assess the current state of funding for LGBTQ communities in the South. This resulted in the first Out in the South report, which found that, at the time, the South received $1.71 in foundation funding per LGBTQ adult, compared to $10.10 for the Northeast.

Spurred by this under-funding of the region, a group of Southern and national funders worked collaboratively to develop strategies for bringing more resources to the region, resulting in the Out in the South Initiative.


Progress to Date


The Out in the South Initiative has already made substantial progress toward its goal of increasing foundation funding for Southern LGBTQ communities. As explained in the latest Out in the South infographic, LGBTQ funding for the South has increased from $4.8 million in 2012 to $17.8 million in 2016 (excluding OneOrlando Fund grantmaking). Since its inception, the Out in the South Fund has awarded more than $3.7 million to locally-driven Southern funds that address the needs and strengthen the assets of LGBTQ communities in the South.

To learn more or get involved with our Out in the South Initiative, contact our Interim Out in the South Project Director, Shaena Johnson, at [email protected].