LGBTQ Funding and Racial Equity Funding: Can We Talk?

Karen Zelermyer is the executive director of Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues. She has also served as the deputy director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

Every year, Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues (FLGI) tracks how many U.S. foundations offer grants to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) issues, measuring total foundations, total giving and total grants to LGBTQ organizations and projects. We gather this data by asking foundations to report who they are funding, the kind of support they are providing and for what issues and populations. We have learned that hundreds of foundations – large and small, public, community, corporate and private – collect data on their grantees as a part of their ongoing work. And while inconsistent taxonomies present numerous problems, the task does not appear to be so onerous as to prevent foundations from doing it.

FLGI is one of several identity-based affinity groups established over the past three decades to address an inequitable distribution of resources that undermines the very heart and soul of what it means to be a democratic society. These groups also challenge the underwhelming representation of people of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities and women in leadership positions within foundations and nonprofit organizations.

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