Responding to Orlando

We are all heartsick over the horrific shooting in Orlando: the worst mass shooting in the United States since the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, and squarely targeted at the LGBTQ community. While first reactions to such a tragedy often range from grief to fury, many then feel moved to action. This is a time to consider what may be a gift out of the norm – whether you may find yourself giving out of cycle, or outside of your focus areas, or  giving to the LGBTQ community for the first time. Let the grief that has broken open your heart also break open your grantmaking, and consider what philanthropic response feels right to you:


Equality Florida‘s Pulse Victim Fund has raised over $4.2M from over 92,000 people as of this writing, including a $100,000 gift from GoFundMe itself. That’s quite a statement. Equality Florida will work with the National Center for Victims of Crime and local partners to distribute the funds.


Find and support your local LGBTQ center wherever you live by checking CenterLink, the national association of LGBTQ community centers.

The Center, which is the LGBTQ Center of Orlando, is one of the organizations supporting on-the-ground support for victims and families, including transportation, funerals, obituaries, counseling, and pet assistance. You can support their efforts here.

For my fellow Vermonters, our center is the Pride Center of Vermont (formerly the RU12? Community Center) which works to advance the health and safety of LGBTQ Vermonters. Their demonstration in support of the victims brought together over 2,000 people in Burlington this week.


Funders for LGBTQ Issues has been guiding funders on making investments in the LGBTQ community since 2000. Check out their excellent resources for funders, and consider joining.

In Vermont, we can access philanthropic guidance on supporting the LGBTQ community through the Samara Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation. Your gift supports their work in promoting philanthropy by and for the LGBTQ community throughout the state.

No matter how one chooses to respond, when philanthropy is an integral part of our lives, it feels right to respond philanthropically. Perhaps the silver lining of this horrific event, if there can be one, is the individual opportunity we have to consider our relationship to the LGBTQ community specifically, and to the desire for a peaceful and accepting civil society generally, and how we can each express that relationship through our giving.

#westandwithorlando #orlando #philanthropy #loveislove