Gill Foundation: Grants for LGBT

OVERVIEW: The Denver-based Gill Foundation, started by tech entrepreneur Tim Gill, has been in operation for over two decades. The 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 Gill's home state of Colorado.

IP TAKE: Gill is a titan of LGBT funding and has regularly awarded more than $10 million in annual grants for a range of issues affecting the LGBT community. Grant proposals are by invitation only, although the foundation does accept letters of interest. Recently Gill stated that his foundation will start to target states like Mississippi and Georgia to support legal protection from discrimination.

PROFILE: The Gill Foundation, based in Denver, was established in 1994 by software entrepreneur Tim Gill, who was inspired to play a more prominent role in LGBT advocacy after his home state of Colorado passed a ballot initiative denying equal protection to LGBT Coloradoans.  

As stated on its web site, the foundation offers grants to "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." The foundation has four stated priority areas for funding: equal treatment in exmployment, housing and accommodations; family recognition; "safe schools" (to reduce the indidence of anti-LGBT bullying); and "A Prosperous Colorado," which focuses specifically on the state of Colorado in the areas of LGBT advocacy, STEM education, civic engagement, and public broadcasting. In a recent year, the foundation estimated that clost to 35% of its funds were dedicated to programs in Colorado.  

The foundation regularly has awarded grants small and large for national LGBT advocacy as well as work based in Gill's home state of Colorado.  LGBT-related causes have constituted the majority of the foundation's work and funding, though it has also awarded grants to support other causes including support for the Latino and African American communities. The foundation does not provide funding support to individuals, endowments, scholarships, capital projects, direct care services, pride events, or media productions. Gill also does not award grants for clinical HIV/AIDS research, prevention or direct client services to community-based HIV/AIDS organizations outside Colorado, or art programs for or about HIV.

Over the course of its existence, the foundation has awarded millions of dollars in grants of a variety of sizes. Awards in recent years have ranged in size from as little as $1,500 (even less for 'employee matched' contrbutions) to well into the six figures, with total annual grants ranging from approximately $11 million to more than $15 million.  Past grant recipients have worked on a wide array of LGBT causes, including marriage equality and anti-discrimination efforts in housing, employment, health care, adoption, and education. Additionally, Gill has "fostered" a "donor network known as OutGiving," for which the hallmark event is an annual OutGiving Conference focused on strategy and networking for "funders and philanthropists whose annual philanthropic giving to LGBT causes exceeds $25,000." 

While Gill does accept letters of inquiry, unsolicited grant proposals are not accepted, either for the foundation's Colorado-based funding or at the national level. Formal grant proposals are by invitation only, but organizations may submit a letter of interest.  Grantseekers seeking funds will follow a different process, depending on whether the funding requested is for Colorado-based or national LGBT work.  

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