Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues

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Racial Equity ‘Report Card’ Examines LGBTQ Grantmakers as Part of a Broader Dialogue on Philanthropy and Widespread Equity

Nine out of 19 foundations studied in a first-ever racial equity "report card" provided dollars in 2006 to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of color organizations and projects, according to a report recently released by Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues (FLGI), a national philanthropic group based in New York City.

The LGBTQ Grantmakers 2008 Report Card on Racial Equity examines how a subset of 19 LGBTQ grantmakers addresses racial equity in grantmaking, governing documents, policies and practices, demographics and leadership, and strategic communications.

“It's clear that while LGBTQ grantmakers have contributed enormously to improving the landscape of our communities over the last decade, LGBTQ people of color have yet to benefit from this transformation,” said Karen Zelermyer, executive director of FLGI.

“The purpose of this report card is to ask our philanthropic sector where LGBTQ giving can help bring about vibrant and inclusive communities,” added Zelermyer.

Among other findings, the report card found that total giving from this subset of foundations increased from $173,400 in 2002 to $2.9 million in 2006. Yet among staff and board members of these foundations, people of color were less represented as management employees, executive directors or board members.

Further, transgender people account for eight of these foundations’ 231 staff and board members.

“The report card provides numerous, specific areas where foundations can enhance their policies and practices to create a fairer and more inclusive workplace—all while strengthening their grantmaking,” said Robert Espinoza, author of the report and director of research and communications at FLGI.

The 19 foundations studied are a diverse spectrum that includes community, public and private foundations differing in size, geographic focus and the extent to which they have formalized their internal capacities in areas such as strategic communications.

Yet it’s because of this diverse sample that Zelermyer believes any grantmaker can draw insights from the findings and begin asking where racial equity fits into its unique context.

“The foundation run by a single donor with few or no trustees will find opportunities to explore its grantmaking criteria and the questions it asks of its grantees, while a foundation with multiple staff members or trustees will see an opportunity to incorporate racial equity guidelines into its bylaws or board and staff recruitment practices,” said Zelermyer.

The report card is part of FLGI’s Racial Equity Campaign, a national, multi-year effort to support the leadership of LGBTQ people of color and their organizations by generating supporting from the broader philanthropic sector.

In early 2009, FLGI will release an online, interactive web site that links these report card findings to grantmaking and non-profit management “tools” related to racial equity.

The full report is available at http://www.lgbtfunders.org/RacialEquity.

Category(s): Philanthropic Sector, General LGBTQ Community

Focus(es): Focus on Bisexuals, Focus on Gay Men, Focus on Lesbians, Focus on Transgender People

Topic(s): Anti-Violence, Aging/Elderly, Arts/Culture/Media, Civil/Human Rights, Disabilities, Education, Family/Parenting, Government/Political, Health, HIV/AIDS, Immigration, Low-Income/Poverty, People of Color/Ethnic Communities, Religion/Faith, Science & Technology, Youth