2021 Resource Tracking Report

2021 Tracking Report: LGBTQ Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations


Published: June 26, 2023

Author(s): Alexander Lee, Alyssa Lawther, Erin Howe, Somjen Frazer

Topic(s):  Tracking Report

Region: National


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The 2021 Resource Tracking Report: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations (2023) explores the scope and character of U.S. foundation funding for LGBTQ communities and issues in calendar year 2021. This 19th 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.

Our research finds that foundation funding reached a new high of $251 million in 2021. However, this does not tell the full story, as the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community did not necessarily see this benefit. Funding to transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary communities, Black LGBTQ communities, and Southeastern LGBTQ communities has not increased commensurate with total LGBTQ funding. As a sector, we also continue to see an increase in overall foundation funding, meaning that even at this new high, for every $100 awarded by U.S. foundations in 2021, only 28 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. The top ten funders accounted for over 60 percent of this funding, and the top twenty funders accounted for more than 70 percent.
  • Nominal giving to trans communities only slightly increased from 2020, and remains lower than the record high in 2019. Foundations allocated less than 4 cents per $100 of their total giving to U.S. trans communities and issues.
  • Grantmakers appear to continue to deprioritize funding for capacity-building efforts by LGBTQ organizations across the U.S. Given the unprecedented challenges in recent years facing the LGBTQ community on multiple fronts, it is clear that winning and defending the rights of intersectional LGBTQ communities requires building long-term, sustainable movement organizations and coalitions. Funding for capacity-building is key to support these long-term strategies.
  • Funding to Black LGBTQ communities slightly decreased from 2020 to 2021, both in terms of dollars and as a share of overall LGBTQ funding.
  • The U.S. Territories and the Mountain and Midwest regions continue to lag far behind in receiving funding support compared to the U.S. mainland coastal areas. This is especially concerning given rising extremism and violence towards BIPOC LGBTQ communities, drag performers, trans and gender expansive communities and youth, families seeking affirming health care, and their intersections, in some of these regions.