U.S. foundation funding to address gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues reached a record $153.2 million in 2014, a report from Funders for LGBTQ Issues finds.
According to the affinity group's 2014 Tracking Report: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations (60 pages, PDF), only thirty-eight of the largest one hundred foundations awarded LGBTQ grants, and only five dedicated at least 1 percent of their grantmaking to the issue area. The 18.7 percent year-over-year increase in total funding for LGBTQ issues was driven largely by a doubling in funding, to nearly $25 million, for HIV/AIDS and a 54 percent jump, to $12.9 million, in support for transgender communities. In addition, support for anti-criminalization initiatives and criminal justice reform doubled, to $2.5 million, while funding to address LGBTQ issues in the South increased 40 percent, to 11.3 million.
At the same time, the report found that the number of foundations that award grants specifically for LGBTQ issues fell to 313 in 2014, the lowest number since 2009, with the top ten funders — the Arcus, Ford, Gill, Open Society, and Pride foundations; Gilead Sciences; the Haas, Jr. and MAC AIDS funds; amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research; and Wells Fargo — accounting for 48 percent of total funding. And with some funders realigning their resources and others spending down their assets, the report estimates that foundation funding for LGBTQ issues will see a net decrease of between $12.6 million and $15.3 million over the next few years.
"While this increase in LGBTQ funding is heartening news, I'm much more concerned about our finding that LGBTQ funding is likely to decrease by as much as 10 percent in the next year or two," said Ben Francisco Maulbeck, president of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. "Last year's victory for marriage equality was an inspiring step forward for LGBTQ rights, but it was a benchmark, not a finish line. Now is not the time for funders to close up shop on LGBTQ issues and go elsewhere. Now is a moment of urgent opportunity for funders to step up on LGBTQ issues as we never have before and to take on bold leadership for addressing the challenges faced by LGBTQ communities."