LGBTQ+ nonprofits receive less than 1% of all charitable donations, with economic advancement causes funded the least

Increasing funding for LGBTQ+ nonprofits focused on professional development may level the professional playing field for queer and trans people.

LGBTQ+ nonprofits receive less than 1% of all charitable donations, with economic advancement causes funded the least
LGBTQ+ people in a professional setting. (Source: The Gender Spectrum Collection by Vice)

There's a shortage of funding for LGBTQ nonprofit organizations.

A report by the IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy shows that LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations received less than 1% of all charitable donations nationwide, roughly $560 million, in 2019.

Within this already small percentage, less than 1% of total LGBTQ+ funding was allocated to business and professional networks. The lack of support for queer business and professional development is concerning, considering the additional economic challenges individuals in these communities experience.

On average, LGBTQ+ individuals face limited access to resources, lower pay, and reduced family support. These compounded disadvantages often lead to higher rates of debt, high school and college dropout rates, and unemployment.

To counter these issues and give opportunities to those stuck in this oppressive system, it is crucial to provide greater access to business and professional development.

With more funding, LGBTQ+ nonprofits can address the essential needs of the communities they serve and provide the resources to get ahead.

Funds for LGBTQ+ nonprofits are heavily skewed toward essential services

According to the same IUPUI report, 32% of LGBTQ+ charitable donations were directed toward organizations providing advocacy services on various levels. The second largest portion, accounting for 29% of the funding, went to service providers offering community centers, HIV/AIDS assistance, and other healthcare services. 

Undoubtedly, the demand for queer advocacy and civil rights work deserves continued funding priority and the majority of donations. However, a lack of funding for business and professional development can hinder communities in the long run and can keep populations systemically oppressed.

While it is essential to prioritize funding for critical services that address urgent needs, investing in business and professional development is how to move forward. Receiving support from professional development nonprofits in addition to essential services would give LGBTQ+ individuals the diverse and all-encompassing support to succeed.

Investing in LGBTQ+ professional development can end cycles of poverty

LGBTQ Funder’s 2018 grant tracking report used the metric “grant dollar per queer” in 2018 to analyze the total local and statewide LGBTQ grant dollars awarded per state or region divided by the estimated number of adults in said state or region who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Nationwide, the grant dollar per queer adult (GDQ) equaled $8.70 and broken down per state, the median GDQ was $3.72. 

Not all queer adults need assistance, but even so, this metric demonstrates how little resources are given specifically toward LGBTQ+ adults each year. With less than $9 of nonprofit funding available per queer person in the nation, it is easy to see why professional development is often overlooked. 

Professional and business development needs can vary per person and community. Intersectional disadvantages affect and compound differently per individual, and the diversity within queer people and their needs can render one-size-fits-all solutions ineffective. Additional funding would give nonprofits the resources to pinpoint specific community needs and provide development solutions per individual. 

Increased funding can enable: 

  • education opportunities
  • personal development reimbursements
  • career-building programs
  • resume and interview workshops
  • financial and investment advice
  • certifications
  • industry conferences
  • workplace advocacy training

Providing opportunities and skill sets to LGBTQ+ groups allows them to better compete in heteronormative and cisnormative spaces without creating additional financial burdens. LGBTQ+ youth professionals must see queer people have a place in the careers and positions they want. We can't expect minorities to catch up without being given the tools it takes to make it in the business world.

Level the professional playing field for queer and trans people by supporting these nonprofits

Here are a few LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations focused on delivering professional, empowering, entrepreneurial, and educational business support:

  • StartOut works to accelerate the growth of the LGBTQ+ community. Focusing on driving economic empowerment, building a world where every LGBTQ+ entrepreneur has equal access to lead, succeed, and shape the workforce of the future.
  • Lesbians Who Tech is a community of LGBTQ women, non-binary and trans individuals in and around tech (and the people who support them). 
  • Reaching Out MBA’s mission is to increase the influence of the LGBTQ+ community in business by educating, inspiring, and connecting MBA students and alumni.
  • Pride At Work is a nonprofit organization that represents LGBTQ union members and their allies to organize mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBTQ Community to further social and economic justice. 
  • TransCanWork is a nonprofit organization that advances workplace inclusion by providing DEI training to companies that hire transgender people, and by workforce development for transgender job candidates. Their job board, sent to newsletter subscribers each month, includes trans-inclusivity ratings for each employer.