Girl's Best Friend, Crossroads Fund and Chicago Foundation for Women were particularly moved to look at LGBTQ issues and how they intersect with our missions, in part, because of statistics related to LGBTQ youth and violence. We were also interested in LGBTQ issues because, as organizations supporting youth programs, we have learned that adolescence is a critical time for all young people with regard to these issues. We know that attaining a sexual orientation identity and a gender identity are key developmental tasks of adolescence.
In addition, we observed that LGBTQ issues historically have been some of the most difficult for organizations to address -- both internally and externally -- with board members, grantees, donors, the public at large, and colleagues in philanthropy. Another goal of this collaboration is to push our own organizations -- and by extension the field of philanthropy -- to consider these issues more deliberately.
Our research has given us a better understanding of many, although not all, of the needs, questions, best practices, and barriers that community groups experience as they work to reduce exclusion and discrimination. Our hope is that this exploration and what we learned from it will permit us to better support grantees in their work building inclusive programs for all youth.