Is philanthropy finally responding to the anti-transgender hate crisis in the United States?

Transgender and gender non-conforming people, and the families that support them, are under increasing attack in the United States. Proposed and Passed State Laws targeting transgender children and threatening parents of trans childrenas well as a marked increase in violent hate crimes speaking to transgender people, raise the question of life and death: as threats mount, what, if anything, is the philanthroposphere doing to support organizations that serve and advocate for transgender and gender non-conforming people and their families ?

Historically, donors have done little to support these communities, although anti-trans violence has been an issue for years. However, while funding to support nonprofits serving transgender people and their families still falls far short of what is needed, there are good reasons to be optimistic and cautious that philanthropy is starting to pick up. spread.

Funders for reported LGBTQ issues in 2015, just one penny of every $100 donated by foundations went to trans-focused organizations. Today, according to the organization this figure has quadrupledbut that still equates to a paltry $0.04 per $100 awarded in block grants.

In 2019, Funders for LGBTQ Issues also launched United donors for trans communities (GUTC), an initiative to inspire the philanthrosphere to create a culture that is inclusive and supportive of trans people. As of 2021, 52 funders have signed the pledge, including the Ford Foundation, Boston Foundation, California Endowment, Colorado Health Foundation, Simmons Foundation, and Levi Strauss Foundation. There is also evidence that funders take engagement seriously. In June, for example, Ford pledged to double its support for cross-serving organizations, to “at least” 10 million dollars over the next five years.

GUTC Engagement Participants announced money Support, included specific trans organizations in their LGBTQ+ block grants, publicly pronounced against misinformation and hurtful legislation targeting transgender people and their families, and made it clear that transgender equality is part of their values.

Ford’s announcement wasn’t the only development on the trans rights funding front last month. June also saw the launch of the Trans Futures fundraising campaign, a call for philanthropy to invest $10 million in new funds to support local trans-focused organizations. Remember that this is less than one tenth of the $110 million raised in 2020 alone by SPLC-identified hate groups that oppose LGBTQ+ equality, many or all of which support efforts to undermine the well-being of transgender and gender non-conforming people. In March, Inside Philanthropy profiled eight funders supporting local LGBTQ+ movements, including several with funds specifically feeding support groups and run by trans people. In the face of the crises facing so many trans people in the United States today – and what we hope will be a growing trend in energy and funding to address this threat – we have decided to do a quick count of the number of funders that focus specifically on trans-serving organizations, or have dedicated fundraisers specifically for that purpose.

We found five such organizations, one of which is currently accepting applications.

The Fund for Trans Generations at Borealis Philanthropy, a signatory of the 2019 Grantmakers United for Trans Communities Pledge, transferred $8 million to 205 grantees between 2016 and 2021. A Borealis spokesperson told IP that this invite-only fund would commit $2.5 million in grants this year.

The Groundswell Fund’s Black Trans Fund (BTF) launched in 2020, awarding just over $200,000 in grants and paying tax fees to black trans-led groups that year. In response to the pandemic, BTF joined the Groundswell Rapid Response Fund to transfer an additional $200,000 to organizations led by black trans people. Groundswell Black Trans Fund accepting applications until September 15, 2022.

Groundswell, a GUTC participant, is also the headquarters of the Invitation-Only Release Fundwhich supports organizations led by cis and trans women of color and awarded $1.1 million in 2021.

Trans Justice Funding Project supports U.S.-based grassroots groups led by and for transgender people, providing much-needed small grants to frontline groups protecting and advocating for trans people and their families. A GUTC participant, the trans-led Trans Justice Funding Project, which was founded in 2012, announced more than $1.9 million in grants to 355 grassroots groups in 2022. Applications for the project Trans Justice funding will reopen at the end of December 2022. according to the funder’s website.

Transgender Strategy Center Transgender Strategy Fund announced unspecified funding for eight organizations and four fellowships in 2022. The Strategic Fund, which launched in 2020, awards average grants of $18,000 and is supported by ViiV Healthcare, the Levi Strauss Foundation, AIDS United and Gilead Science.

The Arcus Foundation, founded in 2000 by billionaire and leading LGBTQ donor Jon Stryker, is another GUTC participant with a history of trans-specific fundraising commitments. For example, Arcus launched the Global Trans Initiative with the NoVo Foundation in 2015. According to a spokesperson for Arcus, the foundation has announced $425,000 in grants to trans-focused organizations in the United States so far in 2022 and continues to fund trans-focused work at the International scale. Arcus is an international foundation that also prioritizes great ape conservation in addition to its LGBTQ funding. The application process for its social justice program, which encompasses trans funding, is by invitation only.

While the above five organizations are the only ones with funds dedicated entirely to trans-focused organizations that we have been able to identify, other funders include support for trans and gender-led nonprofits. trans people in their grantmaking. For example, 24% of Third Wave Fund grants over $2 million in 2021 went to groups led by transgender people, while Third Wave Fund itself proudly proclaims its focus on community-based and youth-led groups working for gender justice. And Jean Hardisty Initiative of the Women Donors Network recently announced $250,000 in funding to the black youth organization LGBTQIA+, including $50,000 to LA’s ProjectQ, whose work includes a focus on black and brown trans youth. A WDN spokesperson said trans-led and trans-focused organizations are also included as winners in the funder’s other initiatives.

There’s also reason to hope that the work of Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ Grantmakers United for Trans Communities Initiative, the Trans Futures fundraising campaign, and funding increases like Ford’s will further nudge the philanthroposphere toward substantial and overdue action. since a long time. The level of urgency and commitment from philanthropic funders may well help determine whether or not the scourge of physical and legislative violence against transgender Americans is allowed to continue.

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