Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues

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The Top Ten Community Foundations Funding LGBTQ Issues

Author: Lyle Matthew Kan

Did you know, that out of the more than $4 billion awarded by community foundations annually, only $5 million goes to LGBTQ issues? In other words, for every $100 awarded by community foundations, less than 14 cents goes to LGBTQ issues.

Community foundations play a vital role in supporting LGBTQ organizations by increasing local investment in and awareness of LGBTQ issues. For quite some time now, community foundations have steadily accounted for 5 percent of all LGBTQ funding, however, there are strong indications that community foundations may be steadily increasing their investments in LGBTQ communities.

In 2013, the Cleveland Foundation became the first presenting sponsor of the Gay Games, almost doubling their total investment in LGBTQ issues up until that point. Earlier this year, more than 10 community foundations and field of interest funds at community foundations joined the Out in the South Funder Network as charter members helping to lead the effort to increase funding for LGBTQ communities in the South. Two of those community foundations -Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and Community Foundation for Northeast Florida- recently launched new LGBTQ field of interest funds.

Between 2011 and 2013, community foundations awarded more than $15 million to support LGBTQ issues in their local communities. More than two thirds of this grantmaking was discretionary, with approximately 30 percent coming from donor advised funds. The top ten community foundations funding LGBTQ issues during that time include:

  1. New York Community Trust ($1,933,150)
  2. The San Francisco Foundation ($1,727,328)
  3. Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan ($1,062,446)
  4. Chicago Community Trust ($943,800)
  5. Philadelphia Foundation ($938,343)
  6. California Community Foundation ($833,397)
  7. Boston Foundation ($710,654)
  8. Greater Milwaukee Foundation ($672,827)
  9. Miami Foundation ($661,900)
  10. Community Foundation of Broward ($551,644)
As we work to increase funding for LGBTQ issues to $200 million by 2017, one of the priorities of Funders for LGBTQ Issues will be to build local capacity and foster new connections in the service of expanding place-based LGBTQ funding. We estimate that approximately 7 percent of community foundations were funding LGBTQ issues in 2013. If we can increase that percentage and strengthen place-based philanthropy, we can help to secure sustainable funding for local nonprofits, which are uniquely positioned to respond to the day-to-day needs of LGBTQ communities.

Category(s): Philanthropic Sector