Breaking the Cycle: Funding LGBTQ Health Equity Work

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Breaking the Cycle: Funding LGBTQ Health Equity Work

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Many nonprofits offer crucial services and conduct useful research. Although some are funded through individual donors, most nonprofits rely on grants and contracts from government agencies and private foundations to fund their work. Community based nonprofits are an effective tool to address health disparities in certain populations. Lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) populations experience many unique and chalenging health disparities. Considering the potential of nonprofits in addressing LGBTQ health disparities, this research project sought to understand: How does discrimination affect LGBTQ health equity programs? Which health equity funders identify LGBTQ people as targets for funding? How do funders include LGBTQ people, and to what extent? This research was conducted through qualitative analysis of the text of requests for proposals (RFPs) issued by funders and of interviews with funders and nonprofit representatives. RFPs and organizations were selected if they included or focused on health disparities facing the LGBTQ populations. From the analysis three themes emerged: labeling, intersectionality, and data. Only 9 of 22 RFPs explicitly labeled any LGBTQ group when listing priority populations. Even fewer prioritized individual groups within the LGBTQ label, such as transgender people or lesbians. Not only was there very little labeling of LGBTQ populations as a priority, the potential to target the most marginalized groups was lost in language that defined populations by one attribute such as age or race. It was clear that funders need to leverage intersectional identities to more effectively target programming. Finally, data collection across the public and private sectors on sexual orientation and gender identity is virtually nonexistent and needs to be expanded.

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Conducted on behalf of Rainbow Health Initiative. Supported by the Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program, a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.

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Anderson, Liv Augusta. (2013). Breaking the Cycle: Funding LGBTQ Health Equity Work. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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