In the ever-changing climate for LGBTQ people in our country, what’s it like to an LGBTQ person in philanthropy? More specifically, what’s it like to be an LGBTQ person working in a non-LGBTQ (or “mainstream”) foundation? Given our own work in both philanthropy and in the LGBTQ community, we’ve become increasingly interested in this question. We’ve done some initial research and are currently seeking more perspectives. It is important that we capture the experiences of individuals working in all types of foundations large and small, public and private, and all geographic areas of the country. Findings and analysis will be released in an upcoming EPIP Issue Brief.
Who Should Take The Survey
Members of the LGBTQIA community working for philanthropic organizations/foundations which are not LGBTQIA-specific organizations/foundations. All responses and contributions will remain anonymous. Most people will take about ten minutes to complete the survey, though it can take more or less time depending on the extent of your comments.
About This Research
EPIP hosted a session at the 2017 annual conference of Funders for LGBTQ Issues called, “How Foundations Can Better Support LGBTQ Staff and Movements: Stories from the Field”. By centering the real-life stories of LGBTQ practitioners working in “mainstream” foundations, our goal was to learn more about our colleagues who we may rarely meet at an LGBTQ funding conference, yet are often on the invisible front lines of the effort to move their foundations towards intersectional funding and investment in LGBTQ communities.
To gather stories, we distributed an online survey through our professional networks and with the promotional help of national philanthropic infrastructure organizations. In just two weeks, nearly 60 people who work in philanthropy and identify as LGBTQIA responded to the survey. The number and depth of responses was moving--folks were eager to tell their stories.
Through this survey, we began to capture a glimpse of the modern experiences of LGBTQ people working in philanthropy. Presenting the initial findings at the conference elicited a range of reactions from attendees as some personally identified with the emergent themes of workplace vigilance and marginalization, while others struggled to comprehend the difficult experiences of these anonymous colleagues. Yet one thing became clear for all of us: the experiences of LGBTQ people working in philanthropy has implications for philanthropy overall.
To further this work, we are re-opening the survey and asking for your help to distribute it throughout your networks. Share your stories today!
Brian Schultz is Community Outreach Manager at Foundation Center Midwest, where he conducts trainings and special programming to connect people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. In addition to his work at Foundation Center, Brian serves as an Ohio LGBTQ Funding Ambassador on behalf of Funders for LGBTQ Issues and on the United Way of Greater Cleveland funding committee for Basic Needs.
Kristi Andrasik is a Program Officer at The Cleveland Foundation. Since joining the Foundation in 2012, Kristi has worked closely with the LGBTQ community to mobilize resources and strengthen community infrastructures to improve the well-being of Greater Cleveland’s LGBTQ residents. She serves on several statewide policy and equity philanthropy committees, and is an Ohio LGBTQ Funding Ambassador. Kristi’s work on equity issues has been recognized with awards from Philanthropy Ohio and the Human Rights Campaign.
The opinions expressed above are solely those of the authors and do not reflect any official positions on the part of their institutions.