LGBT Community Fund

LGBT Community Fund logo

Supporting Chicago’s LGBT Community through Philanthropy

In 2010, civic leaders joined in a commitment to addressing a broad range of needs within the LGBT community, through strategic support to nonprofit organizations that serve it. Through an operating grant from The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust and funding support from The Chicago Community Trust, The LGBT Community Fund serves as a tool to educate the region about LGBT issues and promote effective philanthropy to achieve strategic change. The fund works toward the vision of a region where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender residents live responsibly in harmony with all communities, enjoying the same freedoms and quality of life, and with the same opportunity to make the region a better and safer place for all to live.

2019 Community Needs Assessment

In 2018, the LGBT Community Fund partnered with Morten Group for a grassroots participatory action research process to learn about the most urgent needs and opportunities for Chicago’s LGBTQ community. More than 2,000 individuals took the time to complete an online survey, fill out a data card or participate in a focus group to contribute their knowledge and lived experience to the study. Read the 2019 Chicago LGBTQ Community Needs Assessment Summary.

Donate

We invite your investment in the LGBT Community Fund. Our fundraising goal for the LGBT Community Fund II is $1.5 million—to date, thanks to the generosity of our community, we have raised $1 million.

To make your investment even more impactful, we are proud to offer two Challenge Grants: one for new friends who have not contributed, and one for our friends who are renewing their past support. Each will match individual contributions up to a total of $50,000, yielding a total of $200,000 toward our fundraising goal. What a way to play your own vital role in supporting our shared community.

Gifts can be made online, by check or by a gift of securities, or you can consider including the Fund in your estate planning.

The LGBT Community Fund is an endowed fund, which will dedicate its endowment income to providing strategic grant support for nonprofit agencies. With this permanent resource, the most pressing needs of Chicago’s LGBT community can be met in perpetuity—no matter what challenges emerge in years ahead.

 

Grants

In their first round of funding, the LGBT Community Fund awarded $282,500 to 14 organizations in August 2015. These IMPACT Grants provided funding for capacity building and for seed money for new products/organizations, or those in their infancy.

The second round of funding supported innovative, replicable projects that reach traditionally underserved populations. Three projects, each representing a collaboration between two organizations, received $350,000 in Transformational Grants in spring 2016.

A third round of funding, for projects addressing urgent and underserved needs—healthcare, safety, and services to youth and seniors—awarded $315,000 in Community Grants in spring 2017.

The LGBT Community Fund launched Fund II in fall of 2018, providing the first round of $200,000 in Impact Grants to eight organizations with programmatic focus areas in healthcare, community safety, services for youth and senior citizens. The Fund is currently accepting proposals for its second round of grants.

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Apply

The LGBT Community Fund is now accepting applications for Community Grants from nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in Cook County serving or intending to serve the LGBT community. Community Grants are designed for a wide variety of projects that respond to identified community needs. Support may be provided for specific projects, general operating support and project seed money. Grants will range from $10,000 to $50,000, and the Fund will award up to $400,000 in grants. Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate collaboration as feasible: collaboration is encouraged but not required.

Proposals must demonstrate the following:

  • How the project addresses an identified community need
  • That there is a credible plan for goal measurement
  • How the project will impact the issue it addresses
  • How the project will reach traditionally underserved communities (more information in the Community Needs Assessment, pages 52-58)
  • How a communications strategy around the funded project will be implemented

To apply, please begin by reviewing the Request for Proposals, which provides complete detail to help you determine if your project is a match. Completed proposals must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CST on January 10 through GrantCentral, the online grant management system.

  • 2011 Needs Assessment

    In October 2011, the Fund launched the LGBT Community Needs Assessment. Over 2,000 Chicagoans representing a wide variety of sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, races, socioeconomic backgrounds and residential areas shared their insight into the assets, needs and challenges of the region’s LGBT community. Data from the survey were used to shape the Fund’s first round of grant making, and will continue to inform the Fund’s philanthropic strategy in future. View the report

    In 2019, the Fund released its second Needs Assessment to follow up on learnings from and progress since the first. View the summary report, or read more about the 2018 launch that kicked it off.

  • Steering Committee

    Bernard Bartilad
    Prudence R. Beidler
    Bonita Burrell
    Raymond Crossman, Ph.D.
    Denise C. Foy
    Elizabeth Garibay
    Alan G. Harder
    Alexa Katz
    Ken O’Keefe
    Dan Sprehe