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Future of LGBTQ Funding?

August 14, 2018

The times have never been stranger. We live in a time of greater awareness in this land about queer and trans issues than we have since it was colonized. With this greater awareness, however, has come greater repression. 2016 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States. It was also the year of the Pulse club shooting in Orlando.  And, it was the first year after Obergefell v. Hodges gave us the freedom to marry in the United States which sparked a sharp rise of anti-LGBTQ bills across the country. In the world of philanthropy, LGBTQ funding in the midwest dropped 6% from 2015-2016 and some funders, most notably the Ford Foundation, have been inclined to move on to other causes after the marriage equality victory. We have our victories, though. The word “transgender” is now more commonplace than it was even 5 years ago. Webster has officially declared that “they/them” is a also a third person singular pronoun (not that we needed Webster to tell us that), and in some areas, in some parts of the country funding for LGBTQ issues increased dramatically. In this report, we will take a closer look at some national and local trends, and explore ways of how we can support each other on this odyssey towards liberation.

Post Orlando

The impact of the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub was felt in queer communities across the country, and the world. We are still feeling the effects from this terrible tragedy today. The Philanthropic community is no exception. It had a massive impact on who is funding queer issues and in what way. In the words of Funders for LGBTQ Issues:

“2016 also saw the most violent attack on the LGBTQ community in our history—the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This massacre was followed by an outpouring of support from corporations, foundations, and individuals, which ultimately raised more than $30 million to support the victims, their families, and the healing and empowerment of all the communities affected. This inspiring giving—much of it channeled through the OneOrlando Fund for direct support of victims and families—was, to our knowledge, the largest single fundraising campaign and philanthropic effort in the history of LGBTQ philanthropy.”


    1. 2016 was the largest year for LGBTQ giving ever on a national scale, but only because of donations/funding related to the tragedy at the Pulse Club in Orlando.
    2. In 2016, funding for LGBTQ issues in the United States reached a record high of $156.8 million, up from $129.1 million in 2015. Without the funding from the OneOrlando Fund, funding for LGBTQ issues in the United States reached $127.2 million—a slight decrease from 2015.
    3. Funding for local, statewide, and regional LGBTQ work in the United States reached a record high of $102.9 million in 2016—up from $67 million in 2015. Excluding the grants for individuals provided through the OneOrlando Fund, funding for local, statewide, and regional LGBTQ work in the United States still reached $73.4 million.

This Ship Ain’t Sunk Yet

If you’ve been living in the Twin Cities for the past few years, probably you’ve noticed some changes… the University of Minnesota has been researching gentrification in Minneapolis, and just recently they released some of their findings. According to the MN Daily:  

“In interviews with community members, all respondents viewed rising rent and home values as signs of change in their neighborhoods, and 88 percent noticed an “increase of whiteness in their community,” the study says.”

In addition,

“Researchers also identified gentrification-related concerns specific to certain neighborhoods. For example, in some Northeast Minneapolis neighborhoods — part of a historic art district — participants noted that rent for living and working spaces has become unaffordable for many artists, forcing them to the suburbs.”

And not only that, but:

As more white people have moved to the Hamline-Midway neighborhoods, residents have noted an increased police presence in the area. The study says that though crime in the area is down, phone calls to 911 and 311 have increased. “As demographics begin to shift in the neighborhood and younger, white families move into the neighborhood and become more visible, so does the identity of those who get to control the narrative surrounding youth crime,” according to the study. (

We’re feeling it. All the places we’ve lost. Cafe Southside. Bedlam. Patrick’s Cabaret. Intermedia Arts. The list goes on. All the places that we felt we could go to feel safe. To express ourselves. Dream together. While we may have lost some of the places we would go to gather, we have gained some, too. Plans are being made, and we may just witness within the next few years the founding of a new queer community center in the Twin Cities where we can provide for each other what we need to survive and thrive. Contact to find out more!

Data Tables

All data from Funders for LGBTQ Issues


  • Top 10 community foundations giving for LGBTQ issues (minneapolis foundation is #10)


1 Chicago Community Trust $859,825 Chicago, IL

2 California Community Foundation $813,725 Los Angeles, CA

3 New York Community Trust $613,130 New York, NY

4 Community Foundation for Northeast Florida $529,534 Jacksonville, FL

5 Boston Foundation $470,190 Boston, MA

6 Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan $428,375 Detroit, MI

7 Miami Foundation $417,895 Miami, FL

8 San Francisco Foundation $322,463 San Francisco, CA

9 Philadelphia Foundation $265,895 Philadelphia, PA

10 Minneapolis Foundation $263,088 Minneapolis, Minnesota


  • Top 10 Domestic Funders in the U.S.

 1 Strengthen Orlando
Orlando, FL

2 Arcus Foundation
New York, NY

3 Gill Foundation
Denver, CO

4 Equality Florida Institute
St. Petersburg, FL

5 Ford Foundation
New York, NY

6 Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
San Francisco, CA

7 Gilead Sciences
Foster City, CA

8 Elton John AIDS Foundation
New York, NY
9 Pride Foundation
Seattle, WA
10 H. van Ameringen Foundation
New York, NY


  • Breakdown of Domestic Grant Dollars for LGBTQ Organizations, By Recipient Organization Type and Sub-Type

Organization Type / Sub-Type




Advocacy Organizations




Arts and Culture Organizations




Grassroots Community Groups




Infrastructure Organizations




Service Providers




Universities and Post-Secndary Schools








Grand Total






  • Funding per LGBTQ adult, per state

Midwest: $4.38

Illinois $9.06 Indiana $1.40 Iowa $0.10 Kansas $0 Michigan $4.06 Minnesota $8.17 Missouri $1.00 Nebraska $0.09 North Dakota $0.32 Ohio $1.82 South Dakota $0.46 Wisconsin $2.70

Mountain: $4.64 Arizona $4.68 Colorado $4.63 Idaho $1.71 Montana $8.20 Nevada $2.13 New Mexico $10.11 Utah $4.28 Wyoming $0

Pacific: $10.92

Alaska $3.02 California $11.46 Hawaii $0.93 Oregon $9.71 Washington $6.82

Northeast: $8.86

Connecticut $2.09 Delaware $0 District of Columbia $36.44 Maine $0.24 Maryland $3.06 Massachusetts $5.95 New Hampshire $0.03 New Jersey $1.54 New York $15.60 Pennsylvania $3.60 Rhode Island $7.87 Vermont $6.20 South (Including OneOrlando Fund) $14.96

South (Not Including OneOrlando Fund): $5.64

Alabama $3.16 Arkansas $1.73 Florida (Including OneOrlando Fund) $49.47 Florida (Not Including OneOrlando Fund) $6.80 Georgia $7.10 Kentucky $1.72 Louisiana $8.54 Mississippi $11.81 North Carolina $7.34 Oklahoma $2.01 South Carolina $1.45 Tennessee $2.08 Texas $2.92 Virginia $1.86 West Virginia $0.87


  • Breakdown of Issues Addressed


2016 Funding


2015 Funding

Civil and Human Rights




Violence, Homophobia and Transphobia




Health and Wellbeing




Strengthening Communities, Families and Visibility




Economic Issues




Education and Safe Schools




Other Issues










  • Distribution of LGBTQ Grant Dollars by Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex Characteristics
  • The vast majority of LGBTQ grants in 2016, over $169 million or 83% of funding, targeted the LGBTQ community broadly. The data below looks at grants that specifically supported one segment of the LGBTQ community



Lesbians/Queer Women




Gay Men/Queer Men/ MSM





Bisexual People





Transgender People





Intersex People







  • Sources of LGBTQ Grant Dollars by Funder Type

2016 (excluding OneOrlando Funding)

2016 (including OneOrlando Funding)


Anonymous Funders







Community Foundations







Corporate Funders







Non-LGBTQ Private Foundations







LGBTQ Private Foundations







LGBTQ Public Foundations







Non-LGBTQ Public Foundations













  • Top 20 recipients of LGBTQ funding


    1. In 2016, the top 20 recipients of LGBTQ funding received a total of $40.2 million, accounting for 20 percent of all LGBTQ dollars granted in 2016.

1 National LGBTQ Task Force
Washington, DC

2 Los Angeles LGBT Center $3,270,791
Los Angeles, CA

3 National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
San Francisco, CA

4 Transgender Law Center
Oakland, CA

5 Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
New York, NY

6 OutRight Action International
New York, NY

7 San Francisco AIDS Foundation
San Francisco, CA

8 The East Africa Sexual Health and Rights Initiative
Nairobi, Kenya

9 Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network
Oakland, CA

New York, NY

11 Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
Boston, MA

12 Horizons Foundation
San Francisco, CA

13 ILGA – Europe
Brussels, Belgium

14 Equality Federation Institute
Portland, OR

15 Freedom for All Americans
Washington, DC

16 Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
New York, NY

17 New York LGBT Center
New York, NY

18 Creating Resources for Empowerment and Action
New Delhi, India

19 Movement Advancement Project (MAP)
Denver, CO

20 Center for the Study
of Social Policy
Washington, DC


The challenges are many, but all is not lost. In fact, it could be true that we have never been better prepared as a local queer community to rise to the occasion and show up for each other at this moment when we need it more than ever. There will be many different solutions to the many problems we face. What we need is a diversity of tactics, and this past year has shown that philanthropy can be one of them. Let’s harness all of our resources; there are those with capital who have not bent to the will of fascism that is rising in this country. And for those of you you fancy yourselves allies, who are not a part of our community but who recognize that your liberation is bound up with ours, who are asking yourselves “My organization wants to be funding in the LGBTQIA community, but I don’t know where to begin?” Access Philanthropy is here for you, too. This time is about fractaling outwards, it is about creating decentralized webs of interdependency, which means identifying those places, people, and tools that can connect us. We at Access Philanthropy humbly place ourselves at your disposal. Reach out. You’ll find yours isn’t the only hand groping in the dark.