Tomorrow is Give OUT Day, a national initiative to encourage donations to LGBTQ organizations. Coordinated giving efforts like this one bring visibility to individual organizations and the larger movement, and everyone from local grassroots groups to the Human Rights Campaign are participating. Last year, the first Give OUT Day raised more than $600,000 for more than 400 organizations. This year, organizers hope the day will bring in more than $1 million for organizations around the country, said Jason Franklin, the executive director of Bolder Giving, which is putting on the event.
“Give OUT Day offers a chance for our country to come together and support the hundreds of LGBTQ groups – community centers, arts groups, organizers, clinics, student clubs, sports leagues and more – that support our diverse and amazing community,” said Franklin in a press release. “I’m excited to see the momentum building after our amazing success last year.”
According to a report from the Horizons Foundation, less than five percent of LGBT people donate to LGBT organizations, even though data doesn’t indicate we give less money to charity overall. Now is a good time to change that, and the need to support non-mainstream organizations has never been more clear. Earlier this year, Queers for Economic Justice closed its doors for good. In a goodbye letter, leaders said:
What the Board and I had to confront was that this financial crisis would remain an ongoing emergency because we had no certain guarantees of future long-term funding. We were looking down the barrel of the funding-world shotgun, and understood that we could not stay alive. We know that QEJ is not unique in this crisis. We see clearly how our radical vision of social change — including issues of poverty, incarceration, sexuality and racism too often did not align with more mainstream foundation priorities. And we know that this gap between our vision and the funding that enables it is a critical issue for our communities in the future.
As queer people, we must give back to the organizations that are working hardest to make our lives better, safer and freer. Even small donations help organizations demonstrate and celebrate a broader base of support for their work. But it can be intimidating to find organizations you can trust to do good work for the communities you are a part of. Kate made a great list of queer orgs in December. And the Give OUT Day page on Razoo (which is hosting the donation pages) has a pretty comprehensive keyword search function. Here’s a few ideas from me to you!
Give to a community-driven grassroots organization
Local and grassroots organizations, especially ones that have radical and otherwise non-mainstream values, are doing tons of great work with very few resources. The Audre Lorde Project and FIERCE are rewriting the book on grassroots community organizing. They center trans people, poor people, people of color, youth, and other groups often marginalized in mainstream efforts. By focusing on anti-racist practices and economic justice, these organizations are changing the narratives around queer work and organizing. And they share the Miss Major Jay-Toole building with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which works to protect and advance legal rights for trans and gender nonconforming people, and Streetwise and Safe, which educates queer and trans youth of color on their rights and how to navigate interactions with police.
Support an organization making waves in your community, state or region
Tomorrow I’ll be making my first donation to allgo, a statewide organization in Texas that works to protect and celebrate communities of color through organizing on topics like healthcare and immigration as well as lifting up art by queer creators and making that work accessible. I’m also excited to support Southerners On New Ground, an intersectional movement organization by and for Southerners with projects that include work for immigration justice, trans justice and coalition building throughout the south. On the Give OUT Day page on Razoo, you can do keyword searches to find organizations doing work in your area or an area that is important to you.
Support organizations doing work in an area you care about through a queer lens
Charitable organizations often erase the needs of queer people in their work, which means queer specific organizations are needed to make sure we are receiving the services, community resources and political efforts we need to live happily, healthily and freely. For example, on the national level, Community United Against Violence works to provide healing for victims of violence, eliminate violence against LGBTQQ people and “replace cycles of trauma with cycles of safety and liberation”; the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project seeks alternatives to detention for immigrants and provides resources for queer, trans and/or HIV+ detainees, former detainees and their families; and The Network/La Red works to end partner violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, BDSM, polyamorous and queer communities.