The good news about LGBTQ grantmaking in the South lately is that funding has increased from what it used to be just a few years ago, including as a result of some notable initiatives by national funders. In fact, about two-thirds of giving for LGBTQ causes has been coming from outside of the region.
At the same time, though, local community foundations are increasingly stepping up to support LGBTQ groups in the South, reflecting a larger national trend of funders' comfort with backing a cause that was once much more controversial.
A good example of this is the Community Foundation of Broward, which recently launched its Broward Pride program in response to stories about continuing discrimination and bias. This is an important issue in Broward County, which has more same-sex couples than anywhere else in Florida. On top of that, Broward is also a top travel destination for the national LGBTQ community.
To help local LGBTQ residents and visitors feel more included, accepted, and able to seek out the social services they need, the community foundation set a goal to “unite our diverse community to ensure equality, justice and inclusion of our LGBT neighbors throughout Broward.” Upon launching the new grant program, the funder looked for organizations promoting greater access to services and social environments, especially by way of expansions and improvements to institutions that have traditionally catered to the mainstream population.
One interesting thing about the new Community Foundation of Broward grants is that three of the five are going to organizations that are not LGBTQ-based. For example, the funder awarded a grant to Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science to start an LGBTQ task force and adjust its marketing to make the museum feel more welcoming to LGBTQ individuals and families.
“Whether it’s what a family looks like or coastal resiliency and climate change, the museum really wants to be a forum for those ongoing conversations the community is having,” said Joseph Cox, the museum’s new president and CEO.
Another new grantee, Keystone Halls, is a sober living facility that is making changes to its safe housing program to make it more welcoming to homeless LGBTQ people. The organization is using the Broward Pride grant to buy new beds that will accommodate up to 45 LGBTQ homeless people who need a safe place to live before transitioning to permanent housing.
So, while LGBTQ-focused groups that promote sensitivity training and counseling are still common grantees for community foundations, we think this Broward-based one is onto something with targeting mainstream organizations for LGBTQ inclusion. This approach gets to the heart of changing structure and culture in organizations that don’t have LGBTQ needs on the forefront of their minds every day. To learn more about this approach, check out the Broward Pride Report to the Community.