Today I want to talk about something that is fundamentally part of American society. By that, of course, I mean charity. In my family giving to organizations and people who were in need was drilled into us from an incredibly young age. Even when we would make a few dollars raking leaves, my dad would remind us to put 20% aside to help those in need.
When it comes to LGBT charities, I find as a community we could hyper-focus on the major charities like Human Rights Campaign and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Because of this, I wanted to write about LGBT charities from a different angle. Don’t get me wrong, mega charities make a huge impact but smaller charities have a much greater need for support. The charities I discuss below desperately need donations and make an impact on a micro level. Small organizations like these make a world of difference in a very measurable impactful way to the everyday person in your community.
Forge: Forge as an organization wears many hats. Locally, Forge supports the LGBT community by holding a monthly support group for Milwaukee area transgender folks. Forge also provides support and collaborates with other LGBT charities in the Milwaukee area. On the national front, Forge focuses on advocating on a legislative level making a boots on the ground impact to our laws. In addition to all this great work, Forge provides training on topics related to sexual violence, stalking, hate crimes, intimate partner violence and more. Their mission statement, “Improving the lives of transgender and SOFFA individuals since 1994, building strong connections, providing resources, and empowering personal growth.“
Roots & River Productions: Roots & River was founded in 2012 to challenge the lack of support for queer and trans artists of color in the theater space. As art is really a bedrock of society, this organization takes the time and provides the funding to produce the artistic work or queer and trans artist of color. Roots & River receives many grants for incredible productions including a grant from the Edie Windsor Fund for Old Lesbians. This LGBT organization says it best, “Roots & River serves as an incubator for new work, a site of artistic exploration, and an agency for community outreach.”
Ruth Ellis Center: An LGBT charity operating in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan, the Ruth Ellis center is there for the most vulnerable population of LGBT people. Our youth. Not only do they provided support services, but they also offer long term and short term housing for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth. Services that are covered by this impactful organization include, “…..providing outreach and safety-net services, integrated primary & behavioral health care services and case management, skill-building workshops, HIV prevention programs, family preservation programming, and the only residential foster care program specifically for LGBTQ youth in the Midwest.”
Third Wave Fund: This is an incredibly impactful fund that is lead by women of color, queer folks and trans/intersex and gender non conforming people under the age of 35 years old. The Third Wave Fund believes that the very people impacted a problem should be the ones to lead the charge to create the change. The Third Wave Fund is an LGBT charity that uniquely believes in their own words, “We believe youth are leaders and experts, not in the future, but now, and that youth need to be supported and reflected in philanthropy.” This fund gives young people the power to make an impact and create change by giving them the monetary support and leadership that is essential to change making.
While these organizations are just a drop in the bucket, there are hundreds of smaller charities like this that make a mega amount of impact. The next time you are considering where your money will make the most impact, please think about supporting smaller LGBT charities like the ones above.