Grant Services - Advice and Tips

Grants to Fund LGBTQ Organizations

Wed, Jul 29, 2015 @ 16:07 PM / by Paulette Pierre

A 2014 CDC Health Survey tell us that roughly 2% of the U.S. populatLGBTQion self-identifies as gay or lesbian. In an update to our series of blog posts on grant funding for special populations, such as veterans and senior citizens, we feature three funders in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer) program area. If you are an organization that speaks to the needs of the LGBTQ population, whether for health, education, or the arts, here are some of the largest foundations that support grant funding for this population:

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Started 35 years ago, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is a public foundation. It accepts both public and private donations in the effort to promote equal rights for the LGBTQ/I communities in the U.S and around the globe. The foundation focuses on not only human rights but also Arts & Culture advocacy, as well as innovative health and education initiatives.

The Foundation offers general operating support anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 and, in 2014, has granted over $3 million to community organizations both domestically and internationally. There are different funds with different grant cycles and deadlines. Detailed information is available on the foundation website.

Keep in mind:  For most of this foundation’s programs, an applicant organization must have a budget of less than $500,000.

Open Society Foundation

Founded in 1979 by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, the Open Society Foundation is probably one of the best known and largest private foundations working to advance civil and equal rights across the globe. As of 2013, the foundation awarded over $240 million just in the category of “Rights and Justice” alone. While this foundation is a behemoth of a funder, don’t let its size deter you. They may have grants to fit your organization’s needs. According to the Foundation’s website, “The National Security and Human Rights Campaign provides grants to U.S.-based organizations working to promote progressive national security policies that respect human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law.” Currently, the Foundation’s National Security and Human Rights Campaign grant cycle is open. They are accepting Letters of Inquiry on a rolling basis. There are no deadlines for LOIs and the grant amounts vary widely.

Keep in mind: The Open Society Foundation has set thematic areas of interest and specific geographic locations in which they fund. Read the Foundation’s website to ensure that your program is in alignment with their funding strategies.

Ford Foundation:

Established in 1936, this $12 billion foundation grants funds globally in support of myriad issues—including advancing the rights of the LGBTQ population. According to their website, “The goal of this work is to secure equal rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”  Between 2013 and 2014, the Foundation granted more than $7 million to support these causes, either through general operating or programmatic grants. For this particular program area, the foundation supports only those organizations working within the United States. In fact, approximately 60% of the foundation’s grant funding is focused in the United States.

Grant seekers must first submit an online grant inquiry. Visit their website for more information. Deadlines and award amounts vary widely and are based on the grantee organization’s needs.

Keep in mind: The Ford Foundation has eight major issue areas. Within each issue area exist several initiative-focused areas. Read through past grants the Foundation has awarded to see if there are any similarities between those programs and what your organization is looking to fund.



Where will your organization get its funding for its LGBTQ programs? If you’d like to know about more grant opportunities and get help finding grants specifically tailored to your group, contact We have the resources you need, and the first consultation is always free.


Photo Credit: Sharon Mattheson-McCutcheon

Paulette Pierre

Written by Paulette Pierre

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