Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues

Celebrating 34 years of mobilizing
        philanthropic resources for the LGBTQ community.
1982 – 2016

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The 2013 Funders for LGBTQ Issues Grantmakers Retreat

FUNDING FORWARD: What's Next for LGBTQ Philanthropy?

Conversation One

The Lived Experience of LGBT People: A Framework for Funding

Made possible by the support and partnership of Wellspring Advisors

Sangeeta Budhiraha Andrew Park M. V. Lee Badgett

Laura Hughes Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez Denicia Cadena


The lived experience grantmaking framework, a model born in the international development field, seeks to assess the quality of people's lived experience more fully than traditional economic indicators such as GDP (gross domestic product). Applying this in a U.S. context, this session will explore the ways in which a lived experience framework can complement our growing momentum in securing legal equality. We'll discuss how this lens could be applied to LGBTQ communities and how it might advance our various grantmaking strategies.


M. V. Lee Badgett, Director, Center for Public Policy & Administration, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Research Director, The Williams Institute
M. V. Lee Badgett is research director of the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA. She is also the director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as a professor of economics. She studies family policy issues and labor market discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, and gender. Her latest book, When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage (NYU Press, 2009), focuses on the U.S. and European experiences with marriage equality for gay couples. She co-edited of the recent book, Sexual Orientation Discrimination: An International Perspective (Routledge, 2007). Her first book, Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men (University of Chicago Press, 2001), presented her groundbreaking work debunking the myth of gay affluence. She is also the author or co-author of numerous journal articles and policy reports. In 2010 she was an expert witness in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. She is quoted regularly in newspapers across the country, and has appeared on television and radio in the United States and Europe. In 2008, Curve Magazine named Badgett one of the twenty most powerful lesbians in academia. The Advocate magazine named her one of "Our Best and Brightest Activists" in 1999 for her research and for her efforts to found the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies (now merged with the Williams Institute). She was named one of the "Out 100" by Out Magazine in 2001 for her first book. Badgett received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1990, and has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago (1982). She has also taught at Yale University and the University of Maryland.

Sangeeta Budhiraja, Director of Programs, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Sangeeta brings over a decade of movement building experience and philanthropic advocacy skills to the Astraea Foundation as a seasoned activist, organizer, educator and advocate. Sangeeta joins the Astraea Foundation after four years as Program Officer at the Ms. Foundation for Women, where she managed the Foundation's Movement Building, Southern Strategy, and Economic Justice Initiatives. During her time as Regional Program Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Sangeeta served as member of Astraea's International Funds panel. She also worked as a consultant to the International Fund from 2005-2007, and has worked with many of AstraeaÕs international grantee partners. Sangeeta's expertise with international women's human rights, sexual rights, racial and economic justice is paired with a strong base in local movement building. She is a community board member of the Open Meadows Foundation, served on the board of FIERCE! and Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ), and has been a consultant to the Urban Justice Center and Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM). She also participated in the Bridge Builders Leadership Development cohort of the Women's Funding Network. Sangeeta is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Urban Studies Department at CUNY Queens College. She holds a Bachelors degree in Women's Studies from Hamilton College, was a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship recipient, and earned a JD from CUNY School of Law.

Denicia Cadena, Interim Director, Young Women United
Denicia is a queer chicana, born and raised in Mesilla, New Mexico. A proud sister, aunt, daughter, and friend--she couldn't imagine herself without all of the strong women that have shaped her. Working with young people to create change and build healthier communities for us all is her passion. Denicia is the Interim Director of Young Women United, a community organizing project by and for young women of color in Albuquerque, NM. In the future Denicia will be moving into the role of Communications and Cultural Strategy Director where she will increase YWU's capacity to create meaningful change rooted in community. She is her happiest, truest self when on the dance floor. Denicia holds a BA in History with a concentration in Diaspora Studies from Amherst College.

Laura A. Hughes, Consultant and former Executive Director, Ruth Ellis Center
Laura was Executive Director of Ruth Ellis Center from 2009 - 2012. The Center provides short and long term residential safe space and support services for some of our nation's most vulnerable youth. Hughes was responsible for providing leadership and the strategic vision, goals, and objectives for the Center and its 25 staff members and volunteers, as well as for the thousands of young people who the Center serves each year.

Hughes is a member of the board of directors for the Michigan Humane Society, a member of the board of Trustees of Detroit Receiving Hospital, and serves as a member of the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, Public Health Advisory Commission. She is appointed by Michigan's Governor Snyder to the Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity. Hughes was honored by the Michigan Chronicle as a Women of Excellence in 2010.

Hughes gradated with honors from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she received a bachelor's degree in sociocultural anthropology. Hughes has a master's degree in public health from the University of Michigan, and is a graduate of Leadership Detroit XXX.

Andrew Park, Program Director, Wellspring Advisors, LLC
Andrew has directed a variety of human rights programs and is currently the director of the sexual orientation and gender identity program at Wellspring Advisors. He has served as the coordinator of the International Human Rights Funders Group and is currently a member of the LGBT Advisory Committee for Human Rights Watch. During a distinguished legal career in Philadelphia, he also founded the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights (now Equality Pennsylvania) and served as its executive director for five years where he successfully led a coalition to defeat an anti-gay ballot initiative and pass domestic partnership legislation. Andrew has also served as a trustee of the Mertz-Gilmore Foundation and the Philadelphia Foundation and as an officer of several organizations, including the Gay and Lesbian Attorneys of Washington, D.C. He has won several awards for community service, including being named Grand Marshall of the Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade.

Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, National Field Director,
Felipe was ranked one of the top 20 community college students in the United States and best student in the state of Florida in 2008 according to the American Association of Community Colleges. In addition to his educational excellence, Felipe served his peers as Student Government President of Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus and then graduated with a business degree from St. Thomas University. He was born to a single mother in the slums of Brazil, who sent him at age 14 to the United States, where he first dreamed of becoming a teacher. Felipe walked from Miami to DC on the Trail of Dreams in 2010 to draw attention to the need for the DREAM Act, and has organized campaigns nationally for immigrant families with both Presente and United We DREAM. He has a long record of fighting for progress on Latino issues — and now he’s bringing that knowledge and history to the LGBTQ movement. Felipe is working as GetEQUAL's national field director to build a robust grassroots LGBTQ organization to implement bold and creative strategies without losing sight of the intersections between LGBTQ rights, migrant and women's rights, and racial justice.