Freedom to Work has been leading the charge on behalf of ENDA, the federal legislation banning discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Among Freedom to Work's most prominent donors for this cause are the David Bohnett Foundation and the Gill Foundation.
Started in 1987 with an original grant-giving fund of $2,000, the Philanthrofund Foundation (or PFund for short) has grown into a valuable resource for the LGBT community in the Upper Midwest. One of the fund's major initiatives for the 2012-2013 funding cycle is the LGBT Aging Initiative. The initiative aims to address the special concerns facing LGBT seniors in Minnesota as they age.
We've been following the Arcus Foundation's implementation of its new Social Justice Initiative for a few weeks now. The new initiative, announced in January, is to guide the foundation’s grant-making decisions for the next five to ten years. We have already seen the new personnel brought on to oversee the initiative. Now let's take a look at the first wave of grants under the new initiative.
Next week comes the moment so many LGBT philanthropists have worked for: arguments before the United States Supreme Court on the question of gay marriage. In two separate cases, the Court will consider first California's Prop 8 and then the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Arcus has been a big believer in multi-year grants, giving organizations the predictable funding streams needed to sustain projects over an extended period. Major gifts announced a few years ago are still playing out, underwriting a host of important activities.
Since 1985, the Pride Foundation has provided over $38 million in grants to LGBT efforts in the Northwest, becoming a big player in LGBT philanthropy in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. The foundation is currently reviewing its grant guidelines, with plans to announce new guidelines later this spring, though they don't expect any major changes. They plan to accept grant applications next in June 2013.
LGBT philanthropy isn't just about funding LGBT issues. Since 2000, The Rainbow World Fund and its all-volunteer staff has advanced the cause of LGBT acceptance and civil rights by gathering members of the LGBT community and their allies to provide humanitarian relief throughout the world. The fund, based in San Francisco, takes the approach that by being a positive force in communities that need humanitarian aid, LGBT people can build bridges and build acceptance.
Both the Pride Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund are publicizing their efforts to support the LGBT Dreamers Fund. Last year, President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The idea is to assist undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children in becoming legal residents and eventually citizens. These young people are commonly called "Dreamers," a reference to the Dream Act.