Funders for LGBTQ Issues Uplifts and Increases the Scale of Philanthropic Resources for its Member Foundations


Membership Manager Taina Sanon spoke with Marvin Webb, Vice President of Finance and Administration of Funders for LGBTQ Issues, a member organization of Nonprofit New York. Nonprofit New York will continue to highlight the work of our members, like Funders for LGBTQ Issues, because we believe when your nonprofit is stronger, all of us are stronger.

Tell me about the organization and a little bit about what you do.
I am the Vice President of Finance and Administration, where I manage and cultivate the finance, accounting, human resources, culture, and information technology of a $3.5M association of foundations investing in the LGBTQ community. I use the finance and human resource data of our organization and other non-profit stakeholders to manage and analyze our data. I use it in a way that strengthens our organization, increases revenue existing streams by depth and width, inspires new revenue streams, decreases and shores up expenses, inspires staff creativity, and makes us a thought leader in our field. I'm also a member of Nonprofit New York's Committee on Members!

How many are on your team?
Funders for LGBTQ Issues has 11 full-time employees.

Servicing how many of the population?
We service our member foundations. Our mission is to increase the scale and impact of philanthropic resources aimed at enhancing the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities, promoting equity, and advancing racial, economic and gender justice. We perform our mission through our research, training and support services, and our convening and collective action.

We report on LGBTQ grantmaking by both U.S. foundations and international institutions. We produce an annual tracking report and other special reports to monitor the character of LGBTQ funding and identify trends, gaps, and opportunities. Our reports on domestic and global LGBTQ funding are considered the field’s most reliable and useful source of data on resource flows to LGBTQ communities. Our reports have been cited by academic journals, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, newspapers, blogs, and other media.

We train and advise funders new to LGBTQ issues. We collaborate with funders to help them identify how LGBTQ issues intersect with a range of grantmaking priorities. We connect with allies in foundations not yet funding LGBTQ issues and support them in building institutions that are more inclusive and responsive to LGBTQ communities.

We convene grantmakers committed to LGBTQ issues so that they may connect with one another, learn from each other, coordinate their efforts, and maximize their impact. We host working groups and initiatives on specific topics to help funders shape funding strategies and leverage opportunities for new philanthropic partnerships. Through participation in other philanthropic conferences and partnerships with other funder networks, we also broaden our reach and ensure LGBTQ voices are present in vital funding conversations.

Where do you see your organization in the next five years or ten years?
I see our membership growing by 15% and our budget growing by 20%, while the grantmaking to our field increases by 25%, all within the next five to ten years. If you’re interested in our new 3-year strategic plan, you can find it here.

In order to grow and see your mission fulfilled, what do you need?
In our human resources work, we focus on four pillars. For us, these are employee engagement, salary & benefits studies, performance management, and learning & development. Our focus on these pillars grow our employees, and as a result, the organization. The field receives the benefit of their brilliance while with us and years afterward. This view is the human resources slice of the pie and not the full pie of the organization.

How has Nonprofit New York helped you succeed?
Nonprofit New York has assisted us in our growth by strengthening our membership, finance, human resource, and programmatic silos, which have allowed those silos to expand their work, which includes being in more communication with each other. So, in essence, everyone has a little bit of each other's silos in the back of their minds.

What are you currently working on that you want us to mention to our membership?
Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ 2019-2021 strategic plan outlines three primary strategies – and one internal one – that seek to transform the culture of philanthropy by advancing change at the three levels: the sector-wide level, the institutional level, and the individual level. Transform the philanthropic sector to better understand, support, and improve the lives of diverse LGBTQ communities and movements; Catalyze institutional change within individual foundations to advance internal policies and practices, as well as grantmaking strategies, to more effectively support LGBTQ communities and advance social justice; Empower LGBTQ leadership in philanthropy by cultivating a village of LGBTQ-identifying people and allies as champions of LGBTQ inclusion, and racial, gender, and economic justice; and Aspire to the highest standards of a philanthropic network by effectively communicating our work, building a sustainable and healthy organization, and living our values of LGBTQ, racial, economic, and gender justice. We recognize that lasting change in philanthropy requires deep engagement and interventions at all three levels, with a consistent racial gender and economic justice lens.