Achieving Impact for Global LGBT Rights
16 September 2016
As a gay man, I am tremendously lucky to be able to live my life freely and openly in London together with my loving husband Scott and our son Charlie. But I know this reality is the exception instead of the rule for the majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT) who live around the world.
Unfortunately, LGBT people often face violence and discrimination in almost every aspect of their lives. They are denied access to employment, education, and health care. They are targeted for attacks solely because of their actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation. Perhaps most painful of all, many experience rejection by their own families and religious communities.
As a philanthropist, I have the opportunity to leverage my giving to improve the difficult and even life-threatening conditions facing so many who are just like me and my partner.
Recently, I had the chance to work alongside the Arcus Foundation, one of largest private funders of LGBT equality globally, and Philanthropy Impact, a European-based charity advancing philanthropic growth and engagement, to produce a roundtable titled, “Issues Facing the LGBT Community and Their Impact: Opportunities for Philanthropists and Advisers.”
The event held in London provided individual donors as well as philanthropic and wealth advisers primarily based in the U.K. with an introduction to the global LGBT rights movement, including different approaches to providing support and current funding opportunities.
The roundtable attracted nearly 80 attendees, which provided overviews of key issues facing LGBT people in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, and Africa. Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt expressed the growing need for more engaged individual donors to LGBT causes in the United Kingdom and Europe. Publisher and activist Bibi Bakare Yusuf offered a detailed account of the unique needs and challenges facing LGBT populations on the African continent.
Participants also had the opportunity to hear directly from two experienced philanthropists who are at the forefront of strategic grant making throughout the international LGBT movement. Ise Bosch and Sean Eldridge shared with attendees how they each approach providing funding to the field, highlighting an opportunity for increased LGBT donor coordination. Bosch explained her perspective of providing movement building support to LGBT organisations while Eldridge elaborated on his interest in advancing policy change through strategic litigation and legislative efforts.
While I walked away from the event feeling even more engaged and inspired to act, the sentiment was equally shared among the other donors and philanthropic and wealth advisors in attendance. The post-event survey found the following:
• One hundred percent of donors felt their expectations were met, more than 90 percent of all participants indicated they would attend a similar event in the future, and 97 percent would even motivate their peers to attend.
• Seventy-one percent of participants expressed the desire to be involved in shaping giving strategies for peer LGBT donors and 52 percent would like to join a donor circle focused on international LGBT funding.
• Seventy-one percent of donors said they were likely to increase their funding in support of international LGBT issues as a result of this event, with 86 percent likely to seek more information on LGBT funding opportunities.
A majority of attendees remain interested in continuing the discussion on LGBT issues and funding opportunities and a series of follow-up actions are being planned to support this emerging group.
For those curious to learn about the current state of global LGBT funding, I encourage you to read the report: “2013-2014 Global Resources Report: Philanthropic and Government Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Communities.” This latest body of research produced by the Global Philanthropy Project and Funders for LGBTQ Issues presents the most comprehensive outlook on the state of foundation and government funding for LGBT and intersex issues.
To receive more information about the specific themes and issues discussed at the London roundtable or to become involved in this growing philanthropic effort, please contact the Arcus Foundation.
As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in his historic 2012 speech about LGBT people, “I stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their struggle for human rights.”
I look forward to working with more of my peers in philanthropy as we are guided by that very same call. Together, we can achieve lasting change for the global LGBT movement.