AAPIP Voices

Funding at the Intersections


By: Kayva Yang, Program Officer at PFund Foundation

“Building Democratic Philanthropy” is not only a part of AAPIP’s logo, it’s also a key approach to how we do our work. The Queer Justice Fund enacts that phrase by working with other funders and philanthropic partners to share information, best practices, and strategies for collaborative endeavors. One such example is a funder briefing that we held on February 6th in Minnesota. Special thanks to AAPIP Minnesota chapter, Headwaters Foundation for Justice, LGBT Funders Network of Minnesota, Minnesota Council on Foundations and PFund Foundation who generously co-hosted the briefing and reception.

On a snowy day in February, 30 grantmakers joined a funders briefing Equity for All: Stories and Strategies on Funding Intersections of Issues and Identities at the Northwest Area Foundation in Saint Paul.

The progress toward marriage equality at the state level has in some ways put a spotlight on LGBTQ issues.  At the same time, the broad range of concerns and priorities of LGBTQ people of color have not been elevated.  The panelists—Alice Y. Hom, Director of the AAPIP Queer Justice Fund, Ben Maulbeck, Executive Director of Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Alfonso Wenker, Staff Fellow at Bush Foundation—shared stories of initiatives that address issues of racial justice, LGBT equality, and social change. 

That day I was most struck by the energy in the room among Minnesota grantmakers. Grantmakers were prompted to ask how they can effectively fund beyond silos? As one funder put it, “I’d like to explore more overtly the intersections of multiple identities in philanthropy and exemplary strategies for working in that space as foundation staff and with communities. How are other foundations going beyond funding strategies that are solely race-based or LGBTQ-based towards integrating an intersectional approach to grantmaking?” At PFund, we are asking the same questions and we are proud to work with other philanthropic partners like AAPIP and Funders for LGBTQ Issues to find the answers to these pressing questions.

Spring is here in Minnesota. The LGBT Funders Network of Minnesota will soon be meeting to explore how to keep this conversation alive.