Horizons Foundation: Grants for LGBT

OVERVIEW: The Horizons Foundation has been a major presence in the world of LGBT funding for decades. Based in San Francisco, Horizons concerns itself exclusively with work relating to the LGBT community. The foundation does emphasize activism and advocacy in the Bay Area, although not exclusively so.

IP TAKE: Horizons, led by Executive Director Roger Doughty, is more accessible than many LGBT funders. Much of its funding comes in the way of small grants to organizations working at the grassroots level.

PROFILE: Initially the "philanthropic arm" of a Bay Area business association, the San Francisco-based Horizons Foundation became an independent organization in 1988. Some prominent early donors to Horizons, including Lawrence R. Lucas and Douglas M. Jackson, paved the way for the foundation to become involved in LGBT advocacy in the 1980s, and Horizons touts itself as the "world's first LGBT community foundation."

Horizons' philosophy stresses community-related LGBT issues, both in the Bay Area and nationally. Describing itself as a "community foundation rooted in and dedicated to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community," Horizons "envisions a world where all people live free from prejudice and discrimination, and where LGBT people contribute to and thrive in a vibrant, diverse, giving, and compassionate community" (read more about Horizons's vision and values here).  

This is not a foundation that awards large-scale grants to a limited number of organizations. Led by Executive Director Roger Doughty, Horizons "has intentionally funded across a broad range of issues and communities," including the arts, culture, youth outreach, diversity programs (such as those targeting Latino and Latina LGBTs), public health services (especially for victims of HIV/AIDS), support for the elderly, and trangender people of color. 

While awards may range as high as more than $100,000, Horizons has in the past awarded many small grants in the range of $2,500 to $5,000. Horizon's annual grantmaking, which in recent years has generally totaled between $1.5 million and just below $2 million, have been spread out among a large number of grantees (see a list of recent grant recipients here). Because Horizons has "prioritized supporting smaller, emerging organizations that take on cutting-edge issues and start pioneering programs," small, local groups have a strong chance for receiving funding. The foundation has experienced a a significant increase in assets in recent years, due to a large bequest and a substantial spike in investment.  

The foundation holds workshops so grantseekers can gain a complete understanding of the application process, but those who are unable to attend are free to contact Horizons directly for information about how to proceed. Detailed information about Horizons funding programs, including scholarships, are available here.


  • Roger Doughty, Executive Director 
  • Francisco Buchting, Director of Grantmaking and Community Initiatives