2019-2020 Tracking Report

2019-2020 Tracking Report: LGBTQ Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations


Published: June 28, 2022

Author(s): Alyssa Lawther, Andrew Wallace, Erin Howe, Somjen Frazer

Topic(s):  Tracking Report

Region: National


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The 2019-2020 Resource Tracking Report: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations (2022) explores the scope and character of U.S. foundation funding for LGBTQ communities and issues in calendar years 2019-2020. This 18th edition of the tracking report represents the next iteration of work from Funders for LGBTQ Issues in our ongoing effort to document the scale of philanthropic support for LGBTQ communities and issues.

The report finds that foundation funding for LGBTQ communities and issues has fallen since its record high in 2018, totaling $193 million in 2019 and $201 million in 2020. This is concerning, as it comes at a time when, according to Giving USA, overall foundation support has soared. For every $100 awarded by U.S. foundations in 2020, only 23 cents specifically supported LGBTQ communities and issues.

Highlights from the report include:

  • The funding landscape for U.S. LGBTQ communities and issues grows increasingly top-heavy. In 2020, the top funder, Gilead Sciences, accounted for 18 percent of total foundation support for U.S. LGBTQ communities and issues. The top ten funders accounted for over 60 percent of this funding, and the top twenty funders accounted for more than 75 percent.
  • Gilead Sciences remained the top funder of U.S. LGBTQ communities and issues in 2019 and 2020. They also remained the top named U.S. funder of LGBTQ communities and issues globally, though a single anonymous donor would have topped this list in both years.
  • While total foundation giving to LGBTQ communities in the United States has decreased from its record high in 2018, nominal giving to transgender communities has held steady, even reaching a record high of $36.1 million in 2019. However, this accounts for a very small amount of total foundation giving. For every $100 awarded by U.S. foundations, less than 5 cents supported transgender communities in both 2019 and 2020.
  • Funding for Black U.S. LGBTQ communities rose to a record high of $18.7 million in 2020, a 71 percent increase from 2019. This may reflect the philanthropic response to the racial justice uprisings of 2020. However, funding for both LGBTQ people of color generally, as well as funding for all other specific LGBTQ communities of color, fell from 2019 to 2020.
  • The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 had a profound impact on every aspect of society. Our analysis of U.S. foundation funding for LGTBQ communities and issues in 2020 found nearly $16 million in grantmaking — 10 percent of all reported grantmaking in our dataset — was related to COVID-19.

The 2019-2020 Resource Tracking Report is primarily focused on grantmaking supporting LGBTQ communities and issues inside the United States, which represented almost 80 percent of all funding awarded by U.S.-based foundations in both 2019 and 2020. For a detailed look at funding for LGBTQ communities outside of the United States, consult the 2019-2020 Global Resources Report produced by the Global Philanthropy Project.

Grantmakers Appendix

List of grantmakers and their totals from 2019-2020