As we continue to grapple with the effects of the 2020 crises, the cascading challenges communities are facing show no signs of slowing down. The LGBTQ+ community, which is more likely than the general population to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, faces heightened challenges as a result of the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism. In California, the Latinx community has faced significant challenges this year as well: they comprise a disproportionately high percentage of COVID-19 cases in the state, are especially vulnerable to wildfires, and face more devastating job losses in the recession than any other ethnic group.
Founded in 2016 to meet the specific needs of the nexus of these two communities, the LGBTQ+ Latinx Giving Circle provides fast and flexible funding for local nonprofits working with the LGBTQ+ Latinx community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The giving circle’s 24 members, all of whom are LGBTQ identified individuals, pool their funding to provide critical and responsive support to small, yet impactful, lesser-known nonprofits who are not receiving resources from traditional funding sources.
To date, they have raised $75,000 that goes to providing critically-needed services including legal immigration services, asylum support, housing services, and HIV prevention programs. They also provide thought partnership to each organization and link them to other foundations for additional funding. Some of the group’s recent grantees include El/La Para TransLatinas, a group that fights for the rights of translatinas; Somos Familia, which supports Latinx families whose children identify as LGBTQ+; and Oasis Legal Services, which provides legal immigration services for LGBTQ+ immigrants.
The LGBTQ Latinx Giving Circle’s contributions to Bay Area nonprofits are especially important as many organizations have had their funding dry up in response to COVID-19 and the economic recession that’s followed. In April 2020, the group convened outside its regular meeting schedule to discuss what they were seeing, hearing and learning from their grantee service partners and determine best to support their work reaching LGBTQ+ communities. Recognizing the need for immediate support, the group expedited its typical grant cycle to quickly deploy funds to its grantees, ensuring they could continue operations through the pandemic when the community needed them most.
Beyond learning from and supporting nonprofits doing impactful work in the LGBTQ community, the LGBTQ Latinx Giving Circle has a broader mission to influence the philanthropic field to become more democratized to represent more diverse faces and voices. As part of the Latino Giving Circle Network, the largest network of Latinx donors in the nation, this group works closely with the Latino Community Foundation to build upon their understanding of the LGTBQ Latinx community’s needs, and identify organizations led by LGBTQ Latinos that are working to meet those needs.
“It's important for us as a giving circle to form partnerships with large, influential organizations like the Latino Community Foundation,” said Pedro Arista, founder of the LGBTQ Latinx Giving Circle. “They are a critical statewide player and have an opportunity to shift the tide in giving trends and lead by example, and to amplify positive stories resulting from our giving circle’s work. In turn, we hope more individual givers and institutions are inspired to fund this work.”
Interested in learning more about the LGTBQ Latinx Giving Circle? Check out this video from Pedro Arista.
Philanthropy Together aims to strengthen and scale the giving circle movement by working with giving circles like the LGBTQ Latinx Giving Circle. Learn more at philanthropytogether.org.