Equity Foundation is Oregon’s only grant-making institution established to fund programs and projects that advance equality for those in the LGBTQ community. Equity has been funding equality since 1989.

We believe our communities should be safe for LGBTQ individuals and that sexual orientation and gender identity should not be the basis for social alienation or legal discrimination. Equity lives this vision by granting to non-profits that work to advance LGBTQ equality and improve the quality of life for LGBTQ individuals and families.

2015 Grantmaking

This year, Equity Foundation will award grants out of our General Cycle Fund and the Paul D. Higgins Housing Fund.

General Cycle Fund: Equity’s general cycle fund will award grants to organizations working in all areas of the LGBTQ movement, prioritizing four key areas: arts as a tool for social change, community engagement, LGBTQ youth, and transgender justice. This year, Equity will only consider proposals from organizations with annual operating budgets under $500,000. This allows us to focus our funding on small, emerging, and underfunded organizations working for LGBTQ equality.

Higgins Fund: Organizations that provide housing and supportive services for people living with HIV and AIDS are eligible to apply for grants from the Higgins Fund, which has no budget requirement.

For more information or for technical assistance, contact Dani Bernstein, Programs and Office Administrator at 503-231-5759 x522 or danib@equityfoundation.org.

General Eligibility Requirements

  • Eligible organizations must either have a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax status or be an accredited non-profit educational institution. Start-up organizations may also be eligible if they are affiliated with an organization that has a 501(c)(3) tax status that will assume responsibility for administering all funds received and expended.
  • Equity Foundation will not approve grants to individuals or for the following purposes: endowment funds; capital campaigns; physical plants; annual fund drives; private business ventures; political organizations or campaigns.
  • To be eligible for funding, projects or programs must be directly relevant to Equity Foundation’s mission to leverage resources to create social, economic, and political equality for the LGBTQ community.
  • Organizations or projects must operate within Oregon and/or benefit Oregonians. Because Vancouver and surrounding area is considered part of the Portland metropolitan area, organizations can be located in Southwest Washington and benefiting Southwest Washington—organizations need not serve the city of Portland.
  • One-time events are funded through sponsorship requests rather than through this granting cycle. To apply for event sponsorship, please click here.
  • Equity funds projects for one fiscal year, from approximately July 2015 – June 2016. Projects must be completed within the year. If the project is ongoing, the organization must use Equity’s funds in the year designated.
  • In our 2015 general granting cycle, Equity Foundation will only fund organizations with annual operating budgets under $500,000. If organizations are utilizing a fiscal sponsor, the fiscal sponsor may have a budget that exceeds $500,000. This requirement does not apply to organizations applying for a Higgins Fund grant.

Application Deadlines

We are no longer accepting applications for our 2015 grants cycle. Applications for next year’s granting cycle will be due in the spring. Check back for more information.

Organizations interested in applying for either a General Cycle grant or a Higgins Fund grant in the future should download and review the Guidelines and Procedures for additional information on eligibility requirements and process.

2015 General Cycle and Higgins Fund Application Guidelines and Procedures

Approval Process

Equity Foundation’s Grants Committee consists of volunteers from across Oregon. The committee reviews proposals, requests additional information when necessary, and if time permits, conducts pre-award site visits as deemed necessary.  Equity’s members have the opportunity to vote on strong proposals, and the results of the vote are taken into consideration by the committee.

The Grants Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Directors, which reviews and makes all final decisions on funding. Grant decisions will be announced in June 2015 and grants will be awarded once contracts are signed.

Grantee Reporting

Grant recipients are required to submit a written report at the completion of their project or program. If you are applying for a grant this year, you are required to submit your report with your new application if you have not already submitted your report.

 2015 General Cycle Grant Report

Download the report form and submit the completed form to danib@equityfoundation.org. Please attach an income and expenditure report for the funded project or program and any photographs, other media, letters of appreciation, or project feedback with your email.

For more information or for technical assistance, contact Dani Bernstein, Programs and Office Administrator at 503-231-5759 x522 or danib@equityfoundation.org.

2014 Grant Recipients

During our 2014 General Grants Cycle, Equity Foundation granted a total of $34,000 to 20 organizations working to advance equality for the LGBTQ community. Our volunteer grants committee awarded grants in the following categories: The Arts: Tools for Social Change, Community Engagement, Housing for People with HIV or AIDS, Transgender Justice, and Youth. Equity also awarded a special project grant of $25,000 to support marriage equality.

Congratulations to our grant recipients!


The Arts: Tools for Social Change

Hollywood Theatre $1,000 to sponsor the screening of the award-winning documentary “Call Me Kuchu” that grants intimate access into the lives of Uganda’s LGBTQ activists as they struggle against increasing homophobia and anti-gay legislation that largely has its roots in America’s culture wars.

Jewish Theatre Collaborative $500 to support a free public performance during Pride month of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Well-Being,” developed with Northwest Health Foundation as a tool for catalyzing conversation and promoting understanding about public health. The performance will include a discussion tailored around Lillian Wald and her intersecting identities as a gay, Jewish woman.

Oregon Children’s Theatre $2,150 to support a project to engage local middle school students in an extracurricular playwriting project that will allow them to creatively participate in explorations of the question, “What makes a family?” The project will broadly engage 5th-8th grade students representing a diversity of communities in our region.

Portland Gay Men’s Chorus $2,000 to support six performances organized in collaboration with local nonprofits across the state  that will expand awareness among the general public in those cities during the chorus’ 35th Anniversary Season (2014-2015).

Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival $1,000 to fund free passes for college students to attend the festival, which will allow students access to every film at the festival and access to writers, actors and directors of specific films.


Community Engagement

Causa Oregon $2,000 to fund the creation of a portable video presentation that will highlight the personal narratives of members from the Latino LGBTQ immigrant community and how the driver card law, which will be decided on by voters this November, affects their lives.

Educate Ya $1,500 to support training bilingual volunteers for the HIV/AIDS Health Educator Program, which delivers culturally sensitive HIV/AIDS and STI prevention information to high-risk Latino adults, families, youth, and teenagers living in migrant camps, rural and farmworker communities, and Latino neighborhoods throughout the Portland metropolitan area.

LGBTQ Advocacy Network $1,850 to fund a pledge that social and community services in the Marion County area can sign to show that they are a safe resource for the LBGTQ+ community.

Meals on Wheels People $1,000 to provide meals to LGBTQ seniors at the Metropolitan Community Church and the Q Center, open to all LGBTQ seniors in the greater metropolitan area.


Housing for People with HIV or AIDS

Cascade AIDS Project $4,100 to support the Client Service Center, which offers housing support and connections to basic needs such as shelter, food banks, and other community resources for people living with HIV/AIDS.

HIV Alliance $3,000, to support HIV Alliance in helping HIV-positive clients find and maintain permanent, stable housing, and specifically undocumented clients who are no longer eligible for state or federal housing support.

Our House of Portland $1,900 to support the Food and Basic Needs Program, the only food and supply bank in the community that is specifically for low-income people with HIV/AIDS and provides clients with food, personal care items, clothing, household goods and more.


Transgender Justice

TransActive Gender Gender $3,000 to assist TransActive in expanding its outreach to racially and ethnically diverse communities within the Portland metro area and beyond, and in reaching out to family court judges statewide to provide them with educational materials and briefings on issues involving transgender and gender nonconforming/gender fluid children and adolescents.



KPOV $1,000 to fund an LGBTIQQ teen radio segment that will air regularly on KPOV, High Desert Community Radio. Teens will be mentored and supported in creating a 3-5 minute weekly segment for air on KPOV’s daily morning civic affairs show, The Point.

Lotus Rising Project $2,000 to support the All for One and One for All Project, which will organize and empower LGBTQ youth and their allies to take on leadership positions within the organization’s programs, Board of Directors, and community at large.

Oregon Safe Schools & Community Coalition $1,500 to fund mini-grants, generally up to $250, provided to Gay Straight Alliances in schools, particularly in rural communities. These grants provide an opportunity for youth to identify their unique need for their school or area and implement their plans.

PFLAG Oregon Central Coast $1,000 to support activities for LGBTQ students on the Oregon Coast, including a lunchtime support group, trips to conferences, and grants for Gay Straight Alliance clubs.

Portland GSA Youth Chorus $1,000 to help the chorus establish itself as a stable, enduring non-profit organization with capable staff, a strong board, independent 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, and a broad base of donors and volunteers.

Triangle Productions $1,500 to fund a triangle staff member to participate in a Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC) theatre education and performance class in conjunction with the second play of triangle’s 2014/2015 season – “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche.” A group of participants will have the opportunity to work on their own production of the show, while being given opportunities to learn from the cast of the triangle production.

Youth Empowerment Symposium “YES!” $1,000 to support a two day conference that will bring together experts in the area of youth sexual violence, homeless youth, gender roles, respectful communication with teens regarding medical needs, consent and gender neutral restrooms.


Special Project Grant for Marriage Equality

Basic Rights Education Fund $25,000 to support outreach in rural communities and communities of color to build support for marriage equality.