Ford Foundation: Grants for LGBT

OVERVIEW: The Ford Foundation, a stalwart funder of social justice work, invests in an array of causes; however, its LGBTQ grantmaking supports projects that "secure legal rights, improve economic security and address safety concerns" of LGBTQ individuals outside of the U.S.

IP TAKE: Ford is well resourced and funds a wide array of LGBTQ projects, but grantseekrs can expect stiff competition. Furthermore, LGBT organizations based in the U.S. are no longer eligible for funding.

PROFILE: Established in 1936 with an initial gift of $25,000 from Edsel Ford (then president of the Ford Motor Company), the Ford Foundation, now based in New York, and has grown to become a national and international grantmaking institution. The foundation "believe[s] in the inherent dignity of all people. But around the world, too many people are excluded from the political, economic, and social institutions that shape their lives." Indeed, it seeks to "reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement." One of seven programs, Ford also hosts a Gender & Racial Justice program.

Ford conducts grantmaking that benefits the LGBTQ community through its Gender & Racial Justice program, which oversees the advancement of "freedom and dignity," as well as expanding the rights of women and girls. The foundation's LGBTQ work largely supports "countering abuses of power and reimagining the state’s role in protecting the safety and dignity of all people." Past LGBTQ efforts aid HIV positive individuals in Africa, as well as those LGBTQ members who live under a repressive regimes. Since its restructuring, Ford no longer facilitates LGBTQ grantmaking in the United States. 

Ford's LGBTQ grantmaking ranges from $100,000 to $1 million, with the now-defunct Advancing LGBT Rights program recently recording an average grant amount of approximately $230,000. Past grants can be reviewed in more detail on the foundation's grants database.

Ford is known internationally, and as such, attracts thousands of requests annually. The foundation notes that less than 1% of unsolicited inquiries result in an actual grant. While the foundation still plans to make thousands of awards each year, the total number of annual grants has been predicted to drop by 20%. 

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