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AN OVERLY HARSH ASSESMENT

December 8, 2011

To the Editor:

I was extremely pleased to see Gay City News foregrounding the critical issue of funding for LGBTQ organizations (“How Do We Move the 97 Percent?,” by Paul Schindler, Dec. 7-20).

Funders for LGBTQ Issues was among the 40 organizations participating in the Movement Advancement Project report.

As part of our work, we track LGBTQ grant-making. Our findings on US foundations mirror MAP’s on individual donors: giving from both these sources declined from 2008 to 2009. However, our 2010 data — to be released this month in our “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Grantmaking by US Foundations” — shows a modest gain in foundation support to LGBTQ organizations and communities in 2010.

Other key findings include a four-percent increase in foundation dollars going to LGBTQ people of color communities (though these communities still received only 14 percent of total LGBTQ grant dollars), and a 17 percent increase in those going to local LGBTQ organizations in 2010. A more disappointing finding is the five percent decrease in foundation dollars going to support transgender issues.

As an organization whose mission includes the promotion of equity and the advancement of racial, economic, and gender justice, we must take issue with Gay City News’ characterization of “97 percent of the LGBT community as disengaged from any financial support for the advocacy efforts that serve them.” Without question, among this 97 percent are LGBTQ individuals who are indeed giving to advocacy efforts that serve them — organizations working on issues of immigrant justice, anti-racism, economic equity, etc. (many of which are LGBTQ-inclusive in their agendas).

As we seek to mobilize desperately needed resources for our communities, let us be sure to recognize all the ways our community gives.

Karen Zelermyer

President & CEO

Funders for LGBTQ Issues

New York City


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