In honor of the Pope’s visit to the United States, we decided to explore LGBTQ funding for religious issues.
LGBTQ funding for religion runs the gamut from funding to foster welcoming and affirming faith–based communities, to funding to support the work of multi-faith LGBTQ and ally coalitions and leaders, to funding that supports advocacy efforts to push back harmful religious exemptions legislation.
LGBTQ funders have supported work across many faith and spiritual traditions, with the majority of funding focused on groups based in Christian, Jewish, and some Muslim communities.
In the last decade, more than $36 million has been awarded to foster positive connections between faith-based and LGBTQ communities. Between 2011 and 2013 alone, 72 foundations awarded more than $10 million to the issue. The top ten funders from 2011 and 2013 included:
Recently, we have seen harmful legislation pop up across the country that threatens to undercut the rule of law and lead to a number of unintended consequences.
Religious freedom is important – and it is, in fact, already protected in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Unfortunately, the language of religious liberty has been increasingly used by some as a smokescreen to allow individuals and businesses to impose their own religious views on LGBTQ people and other marginalized populations, including women, people seeking healthcare (particularly reproductive healthcare), unmarried couples, single mothers, and people of faith. The unforeseen ramifications of religious exemptions legislation could range from a paramedic refusing to help an LGBTQ person, to a man obstructing law enforcement and justifying domestic violence because he believes he can “discipline” his spouse and children, as he sees fit.
In the years ahead, funders have a key opportunity to support advocacy and culture change efforts that preserve the progress LGBTQ advocates have made and to continue to foster vibrant communities of faith that are open and welcoming of LGBTQ people.
As such, for the first time, our 2014 Tracking Report will track funding for work within specific faith traditions and funding focused on religious exemptions. If your foundation has yet to submit its grants list for inclusion in the 2014 Tracking Report, it’s not too late! Contact Naa Hammond at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how your LGBTQ grants can be counted.