While many predict that funding for LGBT issues will drop in the wake of the big victory on marriage equality, there is still likely to be a lot more money out there for nonprofits in this space than was the case a decade ago. Also, funding may well grow for such causes as trans issues and LGBT groups of color. There is also new funding available for global efforts to promote LGBT rights.
While LGBT philanthropy is still dominated by a few big players like the Arcus and Gill Foundations, the breadth and nature of donors involved in this area is expanding. Any number of major corporations give money to LGBT issues through their foundations. More individual donors and family foundations are also entering this space. Anonymous donors have given huge amounts of money to LGBT issues, which is perhaps unsurprising.
The Arcus Foundation, now in its second decade of operation, specializes in defending LGBT rights and protecting the world's great apes. Awarding millions of dollars annually in domestic and international LGBT-related grants, Arcus is a huge player in this field. Arcus's LGBT funding emphasizes outreach to youth, people of color, and faith communities.
Astraea is both well-funded and accessible to initial grantseekers, even those of modest name recognition. Astraea prioritizes advocacy for lesbians, transgender individuals, and the arts.
Founded in 1997 by tech entrepreneur Bruce Bastian, the Bastian Foundation's areas of focus include the performing arts, LGBT rights, and HIV/AIDS advocacy. The foundation is not currently accepting unsolicited grant requests; grantseekers must first contact Executive Director Michael Marriott with ideas or proposals. Prioritizes projects based in the U.S. Intermountain West region (Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana).
The David Bohnett Foundation's LGBT funding focuses primarily on LGBT equality and access to technology. Grants are also awarded in several additional funding areas that include the arts (particularly in the Los Angeles area), gun violence, animal language, and municipal leadership.
The New York-based Calamus Foundation offers general operation and program-specific grants for charitable organizations providing "care and support" for individuals with HIV as well as those working on the LGBT community's identity and rights. In a recent year, the foundation awarded a total of over $2 million in grants. Calamus does not accept unsolicited grant proposals, and all inquiries must follow an "organization introduction" via the foundation's web site.
The Ford Foundation is one of the stalwart funders of progressive causes and issues of social justice. Owing to a recent restructuring, the foundation will continue to support LGBT issues internationally, but has ended its support for U.S.-based LGBT work.
The Denver-based Gill Foundation has awarded millions of dollars annually in grants for "organizations working on policy and advocacy efforts to achieve equality in the United States for all people, including sexual orientation and gender identity or expression" both nationally and in founder Tim Gill's home state of Colorado.
The Haas Fund is a pioneer in marriage equality and awards large-scale grants for a range of LGBT-related work. However, grant proposals are accepted by invitation only.
Horizons, led by Executive Director Roger Doughty, is more accessible than many LGBT funders. Most of its funding consists of small grants to organizations working at the grassroots level.
With total assets exceeding $2 billion and more than $136 million in annual grants, the NYCT is a powerhouse funder for causes of social, economic, and environmental justice. NYCT supports organizations that provide legal assistance, aid individuals with HIV/AIDS, and provide a number of services to elderly, minority, and economically disadvantaged LGBTs.
The New York-based OSF focuses on a wide range of domestic and international human rights and social justice issues, with a particular focus on developing countries. The LGBT program at Open Society is part of its Human Rights Initiative.
Overbrook's work is split into two categories: human rights, which includes LGBT issues, and the environment. Supports marriage equality and other issues affecting LGBTs both domestically and internationally. A small number of repeat grantees receive funds each year; unsolicited calls or proposals are discouraged.
The Civil Marriage Collaborative is Proteus's major contribution to LGBT funding. This program provides major funding to a small number of grantees each year, and proposals are by invitation only.