Report: LGBTQ Issues Significantly Underfunded in the South Despite Larger Population
Foundation Funding for LGBTQ Issues in the U.S. South, the first of a series of reports sponsored by the Funders for LGBTQ Issues, revealed some disappointing research on LGBTQ funding in the South. The study not only found that LGBTQ adults are the least funded in the South compared to any other region in the country, but also it is underfunded by a significant margin.
Almost 2.7 million “out” LGBTQ adults (the fourteen states from the West Virginia and Virginia border in the north all the way down to Florida and to Texas in the west) out of the estimated 8 million LGBTQ adults in the United States live in the South. This is 30 percent of the sexual minority population, meaning the South houses the most sexual minorities out of any other region in the United States.
Keeping this in mind, the South collects the least amount of funding (in relation to the number of sexual minorities) compared to any other region in the United States, only receiving three to four percent of the national LGBTQ funding. From 2011 to 2012, the South received $1.71 per adult for funding, almost three times less than the Mountain region which “received the second lowest ‘per capita’ at $4.72.” During that same time, the Northeast received $10.10 “per capita.” In 2012, New York City “received over $10 million for local services and advocacy – more than the entire South received in both 2011 and 2012.” San Francisco collected a little over $4 million in 2012, almost the same amount as the funding from the South in 2011 and 2012 combined.
Research also showed funding in the South is mostly run by a few organizations. The top ten funders in the South provide almost 60 percent of the whole, with the top five providing 42 percent. Perhaps not surprisingly, the top two funders of the South (the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Arcus Foundation), who provide over $2 million worth of the funds, are based in New York City. Other top ten funders include the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Black Tie Dinner, Houston Endowment, Tides Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.
Virginia received $429,124 in grants for LGBTQ issues, with $1.19 per LGBTQ adult, 52 cents less than the $1.71 the South as a whole received per adult. The top LGBT Grant recipient in the South in 2011-2012 was the Legacy Community Health Services in Houston, Texas, receiving $658,500. Norfolk Virginia, appears at number ten in the rankings, receiving $150,000 for the AIDS Care Center for Education and Support Services.
Funding is geared mostly towards health issues in the South; 47 percent of the funding went to health issues in the region, compared to 17 percent in overall funding. Only 20 percent was granted towards civil rights in the South, compared to 41 percent being granted in the United States as a whole. Also, compared to the 47 percent of funds that go to advocacy work in the United States, the South only distributed 22 percent of its funds to the category in 2011 and 2012.
Interestingly enough, none of the Southern states have enforced non-discrimination legislation nor have recognized same-sex marriage.
Areas that obtain a significant amount of funding, such as New York, DC, California, or Washington State, were shown to have three noteworthy factors in common: They were 1. “home to a large gay or lesbian private foundation investing significant dollars in its local area,” 2. “receiving significant dollars from national LGBTQ funders for state-level policy campaigns,” and 3. “processing a significant local philanthropic infrastructure, with at least some ‘mainstream’ foundations investing in LGBTQ issues.” These factors highlight how critical it is to have “strong locally based funders, willing to support LGBTQ issues,” which the South lacks.
The Funders for LGBTQ issues works to “mobilize philanthropic resources that enhance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities, promote equity, and advance racial, economic and gender justice.” This report is a part of a series of reports called Out in the South: Building Resources for LGBTQ Advancement in the U.S. South.
I’m Jessica, an intern at RVAMag and GayRVA. I am studying elementary education at Virginia Commonwealth University and I love to write about almost anything, especially if it involves kids, the environment, or music. I moved to Richmond from South Korea six years ago and have been living here since. When I’m not interning, I like to read, rock climb, hike, and come up with healthier ways to eat ramen.
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