CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new study from a New York-based group tracking LGBT philanthropy issues finds North Carolina has a “robust” LGBT community, with some of the highest numbers of LGBT organizations and community assets across the South. Still, the state’s community lacks a strong fundraising arm and suffers from small budgets that spread organizations thin.
On Tuesday, Funders for LGBTQ Issues released “Out in the South, Part Two: LGBTQ Community Assets in the South,” a study and survey of community organizations. It follows the group’s first southern report, “Out in the South: Foundation Funding for LGBTQ Issues in the U.S. South,” which found the South receives just 3-4 percent of all domestic foundation spending on LGBT issues, despite the region being home to more than a third of all U.S. LGBT adults, more than any other single region in the nation.
The second report finds that North Carolina is home to 131 community assets, including family-focused groups like PFLAG, faith-based groups, school clubs, Pride organizations, arts groups, advocacy organizations, HIV/AIDS service organizations and LGBT community centers. North Carolina ranks second behind Florida, which has 138 groups. Texas comes in third with 104 groups.
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Funders says North Carolina, Florida and Texas are “robust states.”
“These states have strong infrastructure compared to the rest of the region, but also have large populations and geographies and are still relatively under-resourced, especially outside their urban centers,” the report says.
But, the group notes challenges for North Carolina.
“While North Carolina has a large number of assets, virtually all of them have small budgets of less than $1 million; the state lacks the large-budget anchor organizations found in both Florida and Texas,” Funders says.
The study notes that groups in “robust states” are “often stretched beyond capacity.”
In total, the study found 783 LGBT community assets in the region. Nearly 70 percent of the groups are grassroots community organizations like arts groups, PFLAGs, student clubs, Pride organizations and support groups, but others include 127 service providers like community centers, health clinics, HIV/AIDS groups and those serving LGBT youth or seniors. Also included are more than 100 advocacy groups with local, regional or national focuses. The South is also home to 22 LGBTQ community funds.
Nearly 50 percent of all the groups, the report notes, operate with only one or no full-time staffers. Over 55 percent of the groups have a budget of $250,000 or less. Twenty percent have budges of $10,000 or less.
The study also specifically cites several North Carolina groups.
It notes the LGBT Center of Raleigh’s and El Centro’s intersectional human rights work on immigrant issues and the presence of the Charlotte-based Campus Pride, which works with LGBT college students and organizations and, the report says, “has a strong and deep base in the region.”
The report also highlights Greensboro’s Guilford Green Foundation, one of few stand-alone LGBT community funds. Similar funds, such as the Foundation For The Carolinas’ Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund, are often housed at larger local community foundations.
Quoted in the report is Durham-based activist Mandy Carter, whose work is highlighted as an example of a long history of intersectional work the report says is “indigenous” to the South.
The report includes multiple recommendations, including the need to “build capacity of proven groups” in the region, with an “emphasis on building diverse revenue and financial sustainability.”
Read the entire “Out in the South, Part Two” here and be sure to read part one of the report here.
Stay tuned for the Oct. 10 print edition of qnotes, which will include our annual survey of local and regional LGBT non-profit organizations and delve into the challenges and opportunities facing our organizations.
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