The LGBTQ Fund is the first of its kind, established to ensure a perennial source of funding for local nonprofits led by and serving the LGBTQ community.
In launching the LGBTQ Fund in 2016, we were particularly moved by the The “Out in the South Report, which had been released by Funders for LGBTQ Issues a few years prior. The report shared that while the South had more lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) adults than any other part of the country, the region received just 3-4% of domestic funding for LGBTQ issues. LGBTQ people in the South were also among the most likely to be experiencing poverty.
This wasn’t fair or right, and we knew we could help change it. We also knew members of our community were eager to help- for a year, we had been raising funds in the wake of the devastating Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, which claimed the lives of 49 people at a LGBTQ nightclub. Our donors wanted to continue to support our LGBTQ community, not just in the moments of tragedy.
We worked with the input of LGBTQ community members, nonprofit leaders, and donors to shape the focus of the fund. Together, we decided to offer funds to organizations that increase the quality of life for LGBTQ people and their families, particularly elders, transgender youth, and adults of color, LGBTQ people from low-income communities, and LGBTQ people who are disabled.
What is The LGBTQ Fund?
The Foundation’s LGBTQ Fund supports organizations that increase the quality of life and access to opportunity for LGBTQ individuals and families, particularly the most marginalized members of the community, including elders, transgender youth and adults of color, low-income LGBTQ people, and LBGTQ persons who are disabled.
Priority is given to work that aims to:
- Advocate for effective policies that will improve the quality of life for LGBTQ individuals and families.
- Build the cultural competency of “mainstream” organizations that serve LGBTQ clientele, particularly elders, transgender youth and adults of color, low-income LGBTQ people, and LBGTQ persons who are disabled. This work would provide the staff of “mainstream” organizations with the education, tools, and professional development opportunities that will help improve their knowledge, skills, and attitudes when serving LGBTQ clientele.
- Provide LGBTQ individuals and families with high quality, well-coordinated, and culturally competent direct services related to: primary care, behavioral, and preventive healthcare; crisis management and legal support; workforce development; financial literacy and asset building; transportation; housing and safe spaces to congregate, and non-HIV status-related social services.
Why We Use This Approach
The selection of these funding areas was informed primarily by input from members of the LGBTQ community, and by input from those who provide services to and advocate on behalf of members of the LGBTQ community. We believe these individuals can most effectively identify community needs and potential ways to address them.
Part of what we heard from community members is that elders, transgender youth and adults of color, low-income LGBTQ people, and LBGTQ persons who are disabled face the greatest challenges.
As for the specific priority areas:
- Advocacy: We understand that while direct services for members of the LGBTQ community are critically important and much needed, the community is very strongly affected by policies that fail to protect individuals and families from discrimination in employment, housing, and other areas, and that hurt the community in other ways.
- Cultural Competency: We heard that so-called “mainstream” service organizations can do a better job of understanding and responding to the special circumstances and challenges faced by members of the LGBTQ community. Mainstream service providers also acknowledge they can improve services by applying an “LGBTQ lens” to their work.
- Gaps in Services: Our informants identified the following service areas as being the highest priority: Primary, behavioral, and preventive healthcare; crisis management and legal support; workforce development; financial literacy and asset building; transportation; housing and safe spaces to congregate; and services (not relating to HIV status).
What We Don't Fund
Unfortunately, we are not able to support organizations that do not prioritize increasing the quality of life and access to opportunity for elders, transgender youth and adults of color, low-income LGBTQ people, and LBGTQ persons who are disabled.
We are grateful to the many organizations and foundations that support important LGBTQ interests, such as marriage equality. While we realize funding from the LGBTQ Fund is not enough to support the entire spectrum of LGBTQ issues, GNOF believes that supporting organizations that prioritize increasing the quality of life and access to opportunity for elders, transgender youth and adults of color, low-income LGBTQ people, and LBGTQ persons who are disabled is the most strategic way to support our LGBTQ community with limited dollars.
Additionally, we believe that supporting organizations that advocate for effective policies to increase the quality of life and access to opportunity for elders, transgender youth and adults of color, low-income LGBTQ people, and LBGTQ persons who are disabled will have the largest impact throughout the LGBTQ community, communities of color, and low-income communities.
Create an LGBTQ Field of Interest Fund
If LGBTQ advocacy and/or services is your passion, consider establishing an endowed field of interest fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
The LGBTQ Funds benefit LGBTQ individuals and families in Louisiana by providing much-needed funding to organizations that increase the quality of life for LGBTQ individuals and families. Thanks to the generous support of donors and fundholders, suffering individuals and communities in crisis have received aid. Schools have received support for their staff to alleviate challenges faced by LGBTQ youth of color. Other grants have supported community-wide awareness of the LGBTQ community. No matter the organization, all grants made from this fund have gone to improving the status of LGBTQ citizens in our region and working towards ensuring equality for all.
Your fund, which can be named for you or a loved one, will be administered by the Foundation according to your intention, in support of LGBTQ-serving organizations for generations to come.
Many donors who establish this type of fund understand that the local organizations at the leading edge of LGBTQ services today may or may not be the same ones leading the charge 50 or 100 years from now.
Why a Field of Interest Fund?
Partnering with the Greater New Orleans Foundation for your field of interest fund allows you to rest easy knowing the Foundation will carry out your intent forever and always fund those organizations whose work best aligns with your wishes, despite the changing landscape of local organizations.
Apply for the LGBTQ Fund Grant
Applications are closed for this year, but will reopen in 2023.
The LGBTQ Fund accepts only electronic application submissions through the Foundation’s online portal. The Greater New Orleans Foundation’s technology partner, Foundant, has created a brief tutorial for applicants that may be viewed here. It is highly recommended that all applicants review this video before beginning a new application in order to better understand the electronic submission process. Proposals that are not submitted electronically may not be considered.
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