Ecuadorian Constitution Passes, Includes Gay Rights Guarantees

Astraea grantee partner, FEDAEPS (Fundacion Ecuatoriana de Acción y Educacion para la Promocion de la Salud) was an instrumental actor in achieving the recognition of sexual and reproductive rights and a commitment to non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the Ecuadorian Constitution of 1998.

This made Ecuador the second country in the world to have this Constitutional clause and the first in Latin America to recognize sexual rights. In 2007, the anti-discrimination provisions were challenged as the process for constitutional review began. FEDAEPS received an emergency grant to support their work to defend the protections of sexual orientation and diversity in Ecuador’s constitution. And in September 2008, they won. The Constitution passed with 64% of the vote, and included other progressive victories such as guaranteed free education through college and pensions for stay-at-home mothers and informal-sector workers.

New Ecuador Constitution Includes Gay Rights Guarantees

By the Associated Press, as seen on 365Gay.com

(Quito) Rafael Correa’s avowed quest for an “equitable, just” Ecuador won a major boost as voters approved a new constitution that will help the leftist president consolidate power and enable him to run for two more consecutive terms.

The new constitution guarantees civil rights for gays and lesbians, including civil unions affording all the rights of marriage. It also guarantees free education through college and pensions for stay-at-home mothers and informal-sector workers. Such measures build on already popular Correa programs that provide low-interest micro-loans, building material for first-time homeowners and free seeds for growing crops.

Preliminary results showed 65 percent support with 5 percent of the vote counted, mirroring earlier exit polls and quick counts that indicated overwhelming voter approval.

“”We’’re making history! Onward!”” a jubilant Correa proclaimed in his coastal hometown of Guayaquil after his crushing victory became clear. “This is confirmation of the citizen’s revolution we’re offering.”

He and the close associates who helped him craft the new document hugged each other and sang “Patria,” their party anthem.

Correa called on Ecuadoreans to help him “achieve a brave, sovereign and dignified homeland – equitable, just and without misery.”

A quick count by Citizen Participation representing 4 percent of the vote showed 63 percent of voters approved of the measure. The count had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus half a percentage point. Exit polls by two different firms put voter approval at 66 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

Correa, 45, called it a “clear, historic victory,” an endorsement of his goal to secure a social safety net for the 38 percent of Ecuadoreans who live below the poverty line. He also has said the document will help to eradicate a political class that made Ecuador one of Latin America’s most corrupt countries.

The president promises Ecuador’s 20th constitution will spur “rapid, profound change.”

Although the new magna carta is nowhere near as radical as similar projects in Venezuela and Bolivia, critics complain the document will give Correa too much control over the economy and the judicial and legislative branches.

It will almost certainly lead to presidential, congressional and local elections as early as February – making a Correa presidency through 2017 possible – and an overhaul of the judiciary in which the president is expected to play a decisive role. The Central Bank and other key institutions also would cede or lose autonomy to Ecuador’s sixth president in a decade.

That should give the U.S.- and European-trained economist greater liberty to fashion what he calls a “new political model.” Sunday’’s victory was Correa’’s third nationwide electoral victory since he won office in November 2006 with 57 percent of the vote.

The new constitution guarantees civil rights for gays and lesbians, including civil unions affording all the rights of marriage. It also guarantees free education through college and pensions for stay-at-home mothers and informal-sector workers. Such measures build on already popular Correa programs that provide low-interest micro-loans, building material for first-time homeowners and free seeds for growing crops.

“He’s going to activate the productive sector,” said Patricio Quienacho, 48, the owner of a computer business who voted “yes” on Sunday in large part because he believes Correa will spur job growth through a program that offers five-year $5,000 business loans at 5 percent interest.

But many wonder how Correa will pay for all his ambitious social programs.

“I don’t know that we have all the resources to really guarantee all that he’s offering,” said Carlos Roman, a 57-year-old engineer who voted against the new charter. “It’s dangerous for the country.”

A third of the national budget comes from oil revenues and Correa has had the good fortune of oil prices soaring well above $100 per barrel, providing Ecuador with revenues of $4.8 billion this year alone.

Some in Correa’s badly splintered and debilitated opposition contend he’s creating a Venezuela-style autocracy. But while Correa followed Hugo Chavez’s lead by pushing for a new constitution to help him consolidate power, he has kept the Venezuelan president at arm’s length.

Unlike Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales, Correa has not moved to nationalize telecommunications and electrical utility companies or pledged to establish closer relations with Russia.

And although Correa has opted not to renew the lease that allows U.S. anti-narcotics missions to fly out of a coastal airport in Manta, U.S. diplomats praise Ecuador’s drug-fighting cooperation. The lease expires late next year.

New York Times Features Grantee Partner Sunil Pant, Elected to Nepal’’s Parliament

As the only openly gay member, Sunil Babu Pant likes to take advantage of the frequent delays at Nepal’s newly elected Constituent Assembly.

Sunil Babu Pant likes to take advantage of the frequent delays at Nepal’s newly elected Constituent Assembly. As the only openly gay member, he takes every opportunity to work on his homophobic colleagues, trying to convince them that contrary to what they were taught growing up in this very conservative country, homosexuals are just like any other people.

Read more on nytimes.com.

Astraea Mourns Leader and Friend Del Martin

The LGBTI and progressive movements lost a powerful and tireless leader, visionary, and mentor when Del Martin, 87, passed away on August 27th in a San Francisco hospice. Del was surrounded by family, friends, and her life partner, Phyllis Lyon, whom she legally wed in June under California Law.

We join in mourning with so many others whose lives were touched by Del. Longtime friends and supporters of Astraea, Del and Phyllis were remarkable not just in their love partnership of over 50 years, but in their political partnership.

Del will be sorely missed—as a feminist leader who stood up tirelessly across many issues and for many communities. From lesbian rights to ending domestic violence, Del had a tremendous impact. With Phyllis, she was instrumental in building the movement that we continue today, in the U.S. and around the world.

Astraea extends our deepest condolences to Phyllis and the rest of Del’s family. We hold them in our hearts as we continue our work with the unflagging spirit and conviction that guided Del’s life and that inspires ours.

In peace,

Katherine Acey
Executive Director

eThreads—exciting videos, updates and galleries online now

Welcome to eThreads, Astraea’s online newsletter spotlighting LGBTI activism around the world.

Welcome to eThreads, Astraea’s online newsletter spotlighting LGBTI activism around the world. Each quarter, we’ll bring you exciting videos, updates and galleries highlighting Astraea’s inspiring community of grantees and donors. Connecting communities is at the core of our work and we hope that eThreads will strengthen—even further—our connection with you!

Click here to go to ethreads.

eThreads—exciting videos, updates and galleries online now

Welcome to eThreads, Astraea’s online newsletter spotlighting LGBTI activism around the world. Each quarter, we’ll bring you exciting videos, updates and galleries highlighting Astraea’’s inspiring community of grantees and donors. Connecting communities is at the core of our work and we hope that eThreads will strengthen–—even further—–our connection with you!

Click here to go to ethreads.

Grantee Partner QWOCMAP (Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project) Hosts 3rd Annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival

QWOCMAP’s (Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project) 3rd annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival was a rousing success. Over 1600 people attended the weekend festival, held at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.  Despite doubling the seating capacity of last year’s festival, the event sold out every night. Over 200 people had to be turned away.

“We’re really trying to convey the whole spectrum of experiences of queer women of color,” says Madeline Lim, Executive Director. “Some of these films are funny; some of them are really tender. The whole mission of the festival is to showcase a diverse range of experiences, break down stereotypes and to make our stories visible.”

Festival attendees came from the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Oregon, Atlanta, Florida, Philadelphia and New York.  Visitors also came from as far away as Canada, Mexico and Europe.  California Legislature Assemblyman Mark Leno personally presented QWOCMAP with a Certificate of Recognition, and the San Francisco Mayor’s office proclaimed the weekend Queer Women of Color Film Festival Weekend.

QWOCMAP promotes the creation, exhibition and distribution of new films and videos that increase the visibility of queer women of color, authentically reflect their life stories, and address the vital social justice issues that concern their communities.  32 of the 40 films of the weekend were produced though their training program. QWOCMAP offers free workshops to queer women of color in filmmaking that reflect our lives and our experiences.

June 13, 2007—: Women’s Radio.com A Rallying Call for Social Change Through Film

June 7, 2007—The Examiner Women of Color Come to the Big Screen

Gay City News Highlights FIERCE!, Astraea’s 30th Celebration

“We’re more likely to be remembered by the presence of monuments than by the presence of our people.” Rickke Mananzala, the executive director of FIERCE, shared those words from his colleague Glo Ross, the group’s lead organizer, as the two sat with a reporter late one evening this week in their West 24th Street offices.

Click here to read this article on fiercenyc.org.

In Feting FIERCE, Astraea Bolsters a New Generation
By: PAUL SCHINDLER

“We’re more likely to be remembered by the presence of monuments than by the presence of our people.”

Rickke Mananzala, the executive director of FIERCE, shared those words from his colleague Glo Ross, the group’s lead organizer, as the two sat with a reporter late one evening this week in their West 24th Street offices.

FIERCE, the Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals For Community Empowerment, since 2000 has advocated for LGBT, two-spirit, and questioning youth of color, 13-24, for whom the West Village remains a valued public space, one that is safe and offers them the freedom and social interactions often missing from the neighborhoods where they live. This past Saturday, May 17, FIERCE was among three honorees at the 30th anniversary dinner of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, held at Midtown’s Prince George Ballroom.

Astraea fills a unique niche in the world of queer philanthropy and social action. It is the only foundation solely dedicated to support the social justice activities of LGBT organizations, as well as those serving intersex people, both domestically and abroad. Its mission statement charts the group’s aims as including “social, racial, and economic justice” – a scope often given lip service by the organized LGBT community, but less frequently backed up by dollars.

In fact, Astraea points to findings from the group Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues to quantify the big picture. In a study released this past January, that group reported that the total share of US foundation support going to LGBT issues in 2006 remained constant at its recent levels – only 0.1 percent of the total. Of that dollar amount, which is roughly $65 million, less than nine percent expressly targeted communities of color.

In the developing world, also known as the Global South and East, Astraea funds more LGBT groups than any other foundation and is the second largest dollar contributor to such organizations.

Given Astraea’s mission and record, FIERCE’s co-honorees Saturday evening were appropriate – the Johannesburg-based Coalition of African Lesbians, the first group to bring together organizations working on behalf of queer women in 11 nations on that continent, and Marta Drury, a lesbian philanthropist in California who works on issues facing women and children and has served as an advisor to Astraea.

According to Mananzala, Astraea has been a funder of FIERCE for five of its eight years of existence; in each of three of the last five it has given the group $50,000, making it one of the group’s largest supporters of a budget that now stands at $535,000. Mananzala explained that much of its foundation support comes from youth-focused funders; LGBT and people of color-oriented foundations each often conclude that FIERCE’s work falls more into the other’s bailiwick.

“It sounds like a cliché,” he said, “but Astraea gets it.”

FIERCE gained notice early in its life as an adamant and spirited defender of LGBTQ youth of color, consistently backed in public by dozens, sometimes hundreds drawn from that constituency. During the past eight years, long-simmering tensions between the increasingly gentrified West Village population and queer youth who for decades saw the neighborhood and the riverfront as home came to a boil. Neighborhood groups, often made up of cranky, even hostile residents added to the pressure on youths who already felt put upon by law enforcement’s heavy hand.

FIERCE turned out large crowds demanding their right to public space, and the group was unafraid to be vocal in criticizing abuse at the hands of police.

But it soon proved itself shrewd and adept at working the maze of governmental bodies that have a hand in governing the policing of public space, and the Hudson River Park in particular. By 2006, as Community Board 2 and the Hudson River Park Trust finalized plans regarding closing times for the pier at Christopher Street, FIERCE was very much a player.

Though the group did not achieve its goal of keeping the pier open until 4 a.m., rather than 1 a.m., it forestalled a proposal that youth exiting the park after a certain hour be required to travel up to 14th Street. Some residents had pressed for that change to keep young LGBT people out of the neighborhood’s residential heart late at night. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also brokered a deal to have the Door, a youth services agency, provide an outreach worker on the pier seven days a week to offer youths referrals for housing or jobs counseling.

More recently, FIERCE was a key component of the Pier 40 Working Group that successfully beat back a proposal for a massive commercial development on the much larger pier several blocks south of Christopher Street, between Leroy and Charlton. Dubbed “Vegas on the Hudson” by critics, the plan was to be anchored by a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil. Soccer moms and other residents quickly voiced outrage at the loss of valuable recreational and other community space.

For FIERCE, several issues drew them to the fight. Ross said that early in the public debate on the proposal, one official warned her, “You know the first thing they’re going to do if they build Vegas on the Hudson.” The answer, the group concluded, was that the developer would put pressure once again on the youth congregating up at Christopher Street, with the aim of making sure that they steered clear of Pier 40.

More fundamental, however, was FIERCE’s philosophy about public space in the city.

“Social infrastructure is under attack,” Mananzala explained, noting that FIERCE is perhaps the only LGBT youth organization in the country fighting against “gentrification and displacement” and on behalf of “the cultural preservation of our people.” That last term Mananzala uses in a geographical sense – the right of people to remain in the public spaces that have cultural meaning in their lives.

For FIERCE, Vegas on the Hudson was one more encroachment of gentrification and private ownership over open spaces in the city. And the pier also presented an opportunity – for carving out a corner for an LGBT center serving the health, artistic, economic, and political needs of the youth who migrate to the Hudson River, one that could potentially stay open 24 hours a day. Plans for such a facility were endorsed by the Pier 40 Working Group.

“It was amazing to be standing at this huge rally and have a Little Leaguer’s father saying that we need to create space for an LGBT center and have the crowd cheer,” Mananzala recalled, and then, referring to the defeated proposal, added, “The project was a scary prospect, but it allowed us to form unlikely alliances. Now we are feeling more a part of the fabric of the community.”

But FIERCE’s story cannot be framed solely as a journey from the streets to the table. The group remains committed to fundamental social change, one based in challenging the powers that be. It has been present at anti-war rallies during the past five years, including the massive outpouring at the Republican National Convention in 2004, and it was part of recent protests over the acquittal of police officers charged in the shooting death of Sean Bell in Queens.

FIERCE was also outspoken in defense of seven young lesbians from Newark convicted last year for assault in a 2006 brawl in front of IFC Film Center with a man they said came on to them in a hostile, abusive, and aggressive way. The four women who did not plead guilty could face more than ten years in prison.

Even before the jury came back, the women had been convicted in the press – the Post termed them “killer lesbians” and even the Times used the menacing phrase “avowed lesbians” in describing them. Amidst a public climate that quickly turned against the women, FIERCE has stood with them, helping their families plan appeals.

Does the group fear that mainstream LGBT groups might be put off by perceptions that FIERCE is too radical?

“I would just flip it and say we’re trying to be seen as responsive,” Mananzala said. “We’re less concerned with being seen as radical than how we’re seen by our community.” He noted that the impetus for founding FIERCE came out of the protests against the 1999 police killing of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, in a hail of bullets in the Bronx.

FIERCE’s responsiveness to its community is seen nowhere more than in its commitment to leadership development. The group runs an internship program that provides five-week trainings to youths interested in learning the ropes of community organizing. With a stipend for the interns, in-house meals while they’re in the office, and subway fare, the group commits $30,000 annually to the effort, which currently boasts its largest class – 16 young people

John Blasco, a gay 19-year-old who lives on the Lower East Side with his mother and is finishing up high school this August, has been involved in FIERCE for the past year, and is one of the current interns. He works as an HIV peer educator at the Ryan-NENA Community Health Center in his neighborhood and was eager to enter the internship program. He sees the internship as a way to build his “skills,” but also to engage his new-found passion for “organizing” – both in his health work and on the core issues FIERCE tackles.

Blasco’s ties to FIERCE are multi-dimensional. At the Thursday “Let’s Politic” meetings, he first encountered the concept of transphobia and is also able to talk to others about the West Village woman who repeatedly harangues him for encouraging more gay kids to go to the piers with his HIV outreach work. FIERCE Fridays have been occasions for a Halloween party and for a karaoke night. On one Friday evening, Blasco brought 15 of his friends.

The internship program Blasco is now completing is no simple classroom exercise.

“We integrate our internship program into our work, into our outreach,” Ross explained. “They are leading our Pier 40 effort. Internships make us effective and sustainable.”

It was only by doing, in fact, that Ross and Mananzala grew into the skills they employ to run FIERCE.

“I learned how to raise funds and about financial management,” Mananzala explained. “And about organizing. We have built a culture around leadership development.”

When Joo-Hyun Kang – an activist who has worked with Astraea and was the first executive director of the Audre Lorde Project, Brooklyn’s community center for queer people of color – presented FIERCE with its award Saturday evening, the group’s commitment to developing leaders for the movement was the first strength she mentioned.

FIERCE’s effectiveness was not far behind in Kang’s praise.

Katherine Acey, who last fall celebrated 20 years at Astraea’s helm, reflected at the evening’s conclusion about the excellence, the effectiveness her group looks for in it grantees.

“You are the people who will not accommodate an unjust reality,” she said.

Advocate Article Spotlights FIERCE!/Astraea

In 2006 less than 9% of total funding for LGBT issues went to groups that work with blacks, Latinos, and other people of color. Conn Corrigan finds out why — and what’s being done to resolve the imbalance.

Click here to read this article on advocate.com.

Digging for Dollars

The Christopher Street pier is a favorite hangout for many gay youths of color in New York City — a place they can “truly be themselves,” as the narrator of the documentary Fenced Out puts it. The film, produced in 2001 by a small LGBT nonprofit called FIERCE, is a major part of the group’s campaign to save the pier from Manhattan’s relentless redevelopment. Another FIERCE initiative? Training LGBT kids of color to be strong advocates for their rights through workshops on political education and activism.

But FIERCE’’s work requires money, and securing funding is “challenging,” says its executive director, Rickke Mananzala. “Some philanthropic foundations choose not to support us because we don’t neatly fit into an LGBT issue or people-of-color issue,” he says. Many of the larger grant makers are “invite-only,” and FIERCE is “very much outside of their scope.”

According to a new report, that’’s often the case for groups that help gay people of color. In its “report card” on race released this month, the philanthropic research organization Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues reveals that only 8.8% of all funding for LGBT causes in 2006 went to groups targeting people of color like FIERCE — even though blacks, Latinos, biracial people, and other minorities make up at least one quarter of the U.S. population, according to the 2006 Census. Out of 19 prominent foundations reviewed — whether LGBT-specific ones like the David Geffen Foundation or ones with broader missions such as the David Bohnett Foundation, which finances social activism in general — only nine awarded grants for race-related issues in 2006. Of the 10 who didn’’t award a single grant to people-of-color groups that year, four hadn’’t awarded any grants at all to these groups in the preceding five years.

Svati Shah, a specialist in race, sexuality, and gender at New York University, says the report should be a “wake-up call” for foundations. ““Many of them need to realize that the groups they are funding may be predominantly white,”” says Shah, who has been an adviser to Funders.

The stark funding imbalance is partially due to many foundations’ preference for giving grants to organizations with a national presence — and groups focused on people of color tend to be small community-based outfits. “”Before an application process can even begin, many organizations are immediately ineligible for support,”” says Mananzala of FIERCE.

But the disproportionate grant allocation can also be chalked up to the overwhelmingly white leadership at most foundations. Of the 19 grant makers represented in the Funders’ survey, 80% have white men as board chairs or cochairs. “That makes for a certain “one-dimensional” funding approach,” says Robert Espinoza, the report’s author, who is director of research and communications at Funders. “”Everybody agreed that issues such as diversity and inclusivity are really important, yet it’s not happening,” Espinoza says of the decision makers he spoke with.

Though neither he nor his report would name names, Espinoza has some advice for the foundations showing little or no financial interest in minority gays and lesbians: They need “to figure out how to bring people of color into their leadership positions.” It’s the only way to achieve racial parity, he says.

Of course, some of the funders in the report already do that, such as the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. A FIERCE funder, Astraea gave 42 grants in 2006 supporting LGBT people-of-color organizations and projects in the U.S. — more than any of the foundations assessed—for a total of $716,250. By its own mandate, at least 50% of its board must be people of color, according to executive director Katherine Acey.

Though Funders has been around since 1982, the group is raising its profile this year with this report and others, part of its new “Racial Equity Campaign.” The aim? To increase giving to such groups to at least 15% of total LGBT funding by 2011.

Meanwhile, the work of FIERCE and other groups like it goes on, despite the difficulty obtaining resources. As Mananzala says: “Our communities don’t have the option to separate LGBT issues and people-of-color issues in their day-to-day life.”

Astraea featured in San Francisco Gate

On a recent Thursday morning, Joseph Rosenthal, 77, drove from his barn-red, four-story house on Buena Vista Terrace to a lawyer’s office in the Castro, where he quietly transferred a substantial part of his estate to the endowment fund of the Horizons Foundation, a grant-giving organization for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Click here to read this article on sfgate.com.

Philanthropists ensure gay community’s future

“I have almost no family living at this time,” said Rosenthal, a retired librarian. “Certainly, not having children prompts one to consider other options, such as supporting charitable organizations in the area of my particular interest.”

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement has traditionally depended on smaller, grassroots donations for specific causes. But more aging philanthropists like Rosenthal, whose generation was the first to be “out,” are making end-of-life gifts to help secure the future of the community.

“If I had died in 1980, I would have had no idea that the HIV epidemic was around the corner,” said retired venture capitalist David Gleba, 45, who has contributed more than $250,000 to the Horizons Foundation. “After I am gone, I would like to see the part of my estate continue to work in succeeding the younger generation.”

In the past three decades, gay philanthropies such as Horizons Foundation, Pride Foundation and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice have helped shape today’s lesbian and gay community, funneling millions of dollars into numerous HIV/AIDS treatment services, and civil rights, social advocacy and political campaigns. According to a group that advises grantmakers, New York-based Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues, grants made to gay organizations nationwide have more than doubled from under $30 million in 2002 to $65.5 million in 2006.

“People feel more security that we are here to stay and we are fulfilling a purpose, so more are thinking of LGBT foundations as places to leave their bequests,” said Katherine Acey, executive director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, a New York-based organization that supports groups in more than 40 countries. “I see the beginning of a trend.”

A new record for bequests was set earlier this month, when former Microsoft employee Ric Weiland, who died in 2006, left $65 million to the Pride Foundation and several other organizations, said to be the largest gift ever made to the gay community in the United States.

While few would be able to match Weiland’s generosity, many gay and lesbian donors, who usually don’t have children, are likely to consider end-of-life gifts, philanthropy experts say.

“In the past two years, we have seen a huge upswing” in estate donations, said Zan McColloch-Lussier, spokesman for the Pride Foundation, which estimates that each year about 30 donors include the organization in their wills. “And we know that we only hear about the small percent of those who are actually planning to do it.”

According to a survey of 1,300 donors conducted by the Horizons Foundation, for example, about 52 percent said they are “very likely” to make estate gifts to the gay and lesbian movement, while 87 percent think it is “important” and “very important” to them to “help future generations.” The foundation estimates it will receive at least $35 million in future estate gifts to its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender endowment fund.

“The success of this vision does not depend on any assumption that LGBT people are richer than the non-LGBT population,” said Roger Doughty, the executive director of the foundation. “All our projections are based on assumptions that we are ‘average,’ except that fewer of us have children and the lives of many reaching their ‘planned giving years’ have been deeply touched by the growth, struggles, and triumphs of the LGBT movement.”

Jeff Lewy, 65, who said he is a substantial donor to the gay community, became active in political fundraising and philanthropy during the failed Briggs Initiative of 1978, which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in California’s public schools.

Thirty years later, despite major changes in the society, Lewy said the gay movement still faces opposition from conservative groups and needs financial support to help fight for its civil rights.

“Given the political situation we have been in the last 10 years, we have more to gain through the courts than through the other outlets,” said Lewy, who came out to his friends more than 40 years ago. Donating to endowments “is an important way to change the situation in the longer term.”

Many gay and lesbian philanthropies nationwide are vying to tap the lucrative market of an aging gay population. Horizons Foundation, which wants to raise its endowment to $100 million over 25 years, collaborates with professional financial advisers and estate-planning attorneys, sponsoring seminars around planned giving. Astraea foundation has created the Women’s Will Circle, a program that helps publicize donors who have included the foundation in their estates. The OutGiving campaign of the Gill Foundation, created by Tim Gill, the inventor of Quark software, recruits philanthropists to secure large-scale and long-term financial support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

“As a society, we are more open talking about bequests than we were before,” said Liz Livingston Howard, an associate director of the Center for Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University. “It speaks of the sophistication of nonprofit organizations being more focused on long-term sustainability and insuring their future.”