Pride Foundation was founded in 1985 in response to the HIV and AIDS crisis which greatly affected the LGBTQ+ community. Due to systemic prejudice, the response to this crisis and sympathy for those most affected was limited. As those of marginalized identities do when further ostracized, the LGBTQ+ community came together to take care of their own. This was the beginning of Pride Foundation.
“Dying members of our community would leave their resources to other community members. At the same time, there was this burgeoning of activism, and organizations supporting LGBTQ+ people, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS,” says Katie Carter, Pride Foundation’s chief executive officer. “Back then, and ever since, our communities have been significantly under-funded, and we are one of the few resources that has been a stable, intentional force to support LGBTQ+ people, organizations and movements. We do that through our grantmaking, scholarships to student leaders, community advocacy, research and by promoting LGBTQ+ philanthropy among our community and our allies.”
Pride Foundation’s mission is to fuel transformational movements that advance equity and justice for LGBTQ+ people in all communities across the Northwest. Towards this mission, they have invested more than $70 million into their community. Because LGBTQ+ organizations often receive the smallest percentage of foundation dollars in the U.S., Pride Foundation wants to educate funders and make them more aware of LGBTQ+ needs.
According to the 2018 tracking report by Funders for LGBTQ+ Issues, for every one hundred dollars given from philanthropy, only twenty-eight cents goes toward supporting LGBTQ+ issues. Katie shared that this number will drop in the upcoming 2020 report — a decrease that would be a significant indicator of the specific challenge LGBTQ+ organizations are facing.
“When you look at LGBTQ+ communities, and Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color LGBTQ+ communities in particular, we are disproportionately impacted across every social area” Katie says. “The lack of funding combined with the severe social disparities we live under is extremely detrimental. Our organizations have really had to make magic out of pennies. Our communities and movements are really self-funded for the most part.”
Because of Pride Foundation’s connection to community, specifically community needs, and their relationships with funders, it is in a unique position to move philanthropic dollars to LGBTQ+ efforts. Part of this work has included partnering with other foundations to host workshops that educate funders on the reality of what the LGBTQ+ community is facing. As funders become more aware, Pride Foundation connects them to nonprofits who are on the ground, in the communities and getting the work done.
“I spend a lot of time talking to philanthropic organizations about what it means to invest in LGBTQ+ communities, and why they should be investing in these communities as part of their equity and inclusion work” Katie explains. “Despite their area of focus, whether it’s around housing insecurity, homelessness, food insecurity, if funders are not including LGBTQ+ people in those strategies, then their strategy will not have the desired outcomes because we’re affected across the spectrum.”
In addition to collaborating with funders, Pride Foundation offers grants, scholarships and supports LGBTQ+ advocacy initiatives. In 2022 they awarded scholarships totaling over $705,000 to 108 students. Over the last decade, through their advocacy and public education work, they’ve also stood with their community against prejudiced legislation in every state in their region: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
When asked what people should know about the Pride Foundation, they had this to say: “We’re queer all year. Not just June.”