Specialty Report

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The Philanthropic Closet: LGBTQ People in Philanthropy highlights the findings on sexual orientation and gender identity from the inaugural Diversity Among Philanthropic Professionals (DAPP) Survey, a first-of-its-kind pilot study on diversity in philanthropy, conducted in partnership with SMU DataArts and made possible by funding from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Thirty-four percent of individuals responded to the survey, resulting in the highest response rate of any such survey SMU DataArts has conducted. As a result, with a 99.9 percent confidence level, the findings are representative of the composition of the 36 participating foundations.
Highlights from the report include:
  • Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people make up 16.2 percent of the staff and board at participating foundations.
  • Transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people people account for 2.0 percent of the staff and board at participating foundations.
  • However, the percentage of LGBTQ people varied depending on a foundation’s focus, with gay, lesbian, and bisexual people accounting for 22.8 percent of the staff and board at foundations with a social justice or LGBTQ focus and 11.6 percent of people at foundations with another focus.
  • The majority of LGBTQ people in philanthropy are “in the closet” at work, meaning they have not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity to all or most of their co-workers. Across all foundations surveyed, 53.4 percent are “in the closet” at work.