Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues

Celebrating 36 years of mobilizing
        philanthropic resources for the LGBTQ community.
1982 – 2018

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Funding LGBTQ Issues in Challenging Times

Author: Rebecca Fox & Ben Francisco Maulbeck

Last week, our work got harder.

Donald Trump was elected President after a divisive campaign that intentionally stoked xenophobia and racism and was filled with base insults toward women, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Trump is not an ordinary politician. He has promised to deport millions of immigrants, to explicitly profile Muslims, and to strip millions of Americans of health insurance. His Vice President, Mike Pence, implemented one of the nation's most anti-LGBTQ laws, using religious freedom as a smokescreen to allow people and businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Trump promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who would return us to the days when women did not have the right to choose. Now he is the President Elect, and his party controls both houses of Congress. If left unchecked, his agenda will devastate our communities for decades to come.

When Funders for LGBTQ Issues was founded in 1982, it was also a dark time for our movement. Ronald Reagan was President, and the AIDS epidemic was ravaging our people. The entirety of foundation funding for LGBTQ communities that year totaled $214,962. LGBTQ communities did not give in to despair. We mobilized with unprecedented courage. We took to the streets and we took care of each other. In our philanthropic sector, LGBTQ people and allies determined to move more resources to our communities and in a time of crisis and calamity, founded Funders for LGBTQ Issues and our sister organization, Funders Concerned About AIDS.

In the era of Trump, we are again called upon to act with leadership and courage. We must explore creative ways to fight back against bigotry and to strengthen movements for social change. At the same time, we must take care of each other and protect each other. The two of us are especially worried about our friends and loved ones who are undocumented, who are already living in fear of deportation and detention. We're also concerned about the rise in violence and profiling against Muslims. We must do all we can to support all those being targeted and to protect their rights. This unprecedented challenge will require unprecedented resources. All of us in the funding community must begin strategizing now about how to move more money to social and racial justice movements.

Funders for LGBTQ Issues pledges to do all we can to convene and support our members and other funders in developing innovative funding strategies to protect the rights of LGBTQ people and all vulnerable communities. We will double down on our work with CHANGE Philanthropy, the coalition of funder networks working for social change. This work will be ongoing - it's a marathon not a sprint - but here are some places to start:

  • On Thursday, December 1st at 3pm EST, we invite all of our members to join us for a confidential conference call to share initial responses and potential funding strategies for advancing LGBTQ issues in this challenging new context. E-mail our Director of Engagement, Kristina Wertz ( if you have questions or suggestions for the call. Learn more and register here.
  • We are co-sponsoring a call hosted by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) on Trump’s Presidency and the New Congress: What the Future Holds for Immigrants and Refugees, on Monday, November 21st at 1pm EST.
  • Look for more updates from both Funders for LGBTQ Issues and CHANGE Philanthropy in the coming weeks and months, as we will create a number of forums for funders to strategize and coordinate efforts across a range of social justice issues.
Under an administration that has promised to roll back the rights of immigrants, LGBTQ people, people of color, women, and all those living at the intersection of marginalized identities, it's crucial that we develop collective and coordinated funding strategies for social justice as we never have before.

In solidarity,

Rebecca Fox
Chair of the Board of Directors

Ben Francisco Maulbeck