LGBTI philanthropy: still less than a cent in the donor dollar

Emily Hurley and Andrew Milner

A number of prominent foundations around the world are now supporting LGBTI causes, reflecting the growth of acceptance of those causes. However, despite this acceptance and the achievement of milestones, such as the legalisation of gay marriage in more than two dozen countries, the LGBTI sector continues to endure prejudice and unequal rights.

More funding is needed, but where should it go? In order to explore this question, Alliance looked at where funding is currently going, the pressures facing LGBTI communities in different parts of the world and how philanthropy is responding to them. It’s not just that more funding is needed but that funding must be directed to areas where the challenges are gravest. There is an urgent need to influence government and social attitudes while fostering the resilience of the LGBTI community.

The global picture of LGBTI philanthropy

While the general trend of funding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities is an upward one, the most recent Global Resources Report, covering the period 2015-16, by the Global Philanthropy Project (GPP), suggests that this is not uniformly so. In fact, the 2015-16 figures show a slight drop in the last year, from $275 million in 2015, to $249 million. Moreover, this represents only a tiny fraction of overall foundation giving – the GPP report calculates that, ‘for every $100 awarded by foundations, only 17 cents specifically benefited LGBTI communities.’

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