Almost every LGBT person, no matter how out and well-adjusted we may be, has turned to an LGBT nonprofit at some point in our lives. For some, maybe it was just a onetime thing. For millions of us, though, community nonprofits have been a critical lifeline for services, support, and much more -- again and again.
My story is pretty typical. A support group helped me come out 30 years ago. A few years later, the only place I felt safe getting an HIV test was an LGBT health center. For years, I've counted on our nonprofits to be my voice for full, lived equality, and enjoyed film festivals and cultural events, attended marches and Prides and protests -- all put together by LGBT organizations. Then there are the scores of friends who've tapped every imaginable kind of group; a couple have even had their lives saved.
None of these organizations -- service groups, advocacy groups, arts groups -- can survive on good will and worthy missions alone. They need support to open their doors; to litigate and advocate and organize; to keep dedicated staff -- even to keep the lights on. And for that, they need us -- all of us.
1 in 20: We Can Do Better
The Horizons Foundation's research shows that not even 5 percent of LGBT people give direct financial support to LGBT organizations. That's just one in 20.
We've got a chance to do much better than that -- starting today, August 2, on Give Out Day 2016, a nationwide, 24-hour online event that's all about giving to support LGBT nonprofits, Give Out Day has raised more than $2 million in past years. (Give Out Day starts at 12 midnight Eastern time, ending 24 hours later at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.)
We can all give any time, of course, but Give Out Day is a unique, once-a-year chance to give together, all across the country. There's nothing else like it, which is why Horizons Foundation, as an LGBT community foundation, has been honored to become the event's new home this year, as well as for 2017 and 2018.
Give Out Day: About All of Us
Give Out Day is about celebrating all those who give. Whatever the size of the gift, it can make a huge difference in the lives of your friends, your neighbors, the people around you every day, and thousands you (and I) don't know but who are as much part of this community as we are.
Give Out Day is about our nonprofits, too. The great majority don't have fancy fundraising operations or million-dollar donors. They couldn't bombard you with appeals even if they wanted to. But they're the ones out there on the front lines every day, in every way, in all 50 states.
Give Out Day provides these groups a ready-made on-line platform to share their stories with the world -- and with prospective donors. You can see hundreds of those stories at www.giveoutday.org. Then share it with your friends on social media to turn one 24-hour period into something much greater than any of us can do alone.
If every one of the 8 million+ LGBT people in the United States woke up on Give Out Day and gave $10 -- just $10 -- that would mean $80 million to take care of our elders, to fuel the fight for full equality, to make sure that queer youth can navigate this still-tough world, to support all those with medical and mental health issues, substance use, violence, poverty, discrimination, and dozens of other challenges.
Give Out Day is a chance for all of us to be part of something much bigger than any of us. Please join thousands of us -- in every state across the country - on August 2. Your support makes a difference.
Horizons Foundation is grateful to two generous anonymous donors, the Arcus Foundation, Clever Girls Collective, the Harnisch Foundation, the Strategy Lab, Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Click & Pledge, and Horizons' own supporters for helping make Give Out Day possible.
ROGER DOUGHTY is the president of the Horizons Foundation.