In my work at the Fund for Trans Generations (FTG), I partner with funders who are committed to supporting trans-led organizing for a future where transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people live with freedom, safety, and self-determination. Since FTG was created in 2016, we’ve raised and deployed more than $10 million to directly support trans organizing, and donors have come to deeply understand and work in alignment with trans movements.

Yet funders who are not in this space often ask: Why do this work, with its specific focus on supporting small, emerging organizations led by trans people of color? To me, the answer is clear: Because freedom and liberation for all people starts when we center trans people of color.

As a program officer, translatina philanthropy leader, and former movement grantee partner, I understand what’s at stake in an embodied way—from knowing my community’s beauty and hardships to my personal experiences navigating life in a world built on racist, misogynist, transphobic, and other oppressive systems, to everything I’ve learned and done as a professional grantmaker and nonprofit leader. I also have seen up close that how funders see their role and how they show up to do their work has a critical impact on the success of movements working to secure equity in our lifetime.

From this perch and perspective, I want to offer some reflections to my colleagues in philanthropy who are genuinely interested in partnering with and supporting trans-led social change.

  1. All funders working toward equity should be in solidarity with trans organizers.
  2. Invest in trans-led organizing, including emergent organizations and ideas.
  3. Your commitment to trans liberation (or lack of it) is showing up in your grantmaking processes.
  4.  Fund flexibly with multi-year, general support that makes space for trans joy.

The work of defending, affirming, and meaningfully funding trans communities has never been more critical. As funders, we have a unique opportunity to help bring about transformational change, starting with investing in trans- and BIPOC-led organizing.

Read the full article about supporting trans movements and organizing by Aldita Gallardo at Stanford Social Innovation Review.